AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JOHN FRITZ 33
engine and boiler; both had, practicaUy speaking, been built in the blacksmith shop by my new master. It was a rude machine, but worked quite weU, and I don't beUeve there is to-day one mechanic out of one thousand that could, under the same conditions, build such an engine. He would have to make his own drawings and patterns, make his own forgings, and fit the work aU up, without tools, except makeshifts. To-day as many men work on an engine as there are parts to it, and each man has a special machine, specially designed to do his work on. There are few aU- round mechanics to-day such as there were sixty years ago; even good aU-round machinists, valuable as they are to-day, are getting scarcer daily, and the present shop practice is better calculated to make machines out of men than to make good all-roimd mechanics.
After pumping the bellows and handUng the sledge for some days, I was set to holding the dolly against the rivet heads on the inside of a thirty-inch boiler shell, with two awkward fellows on the outside doing the riveting, fre¬ quently missing the rivet, striking the sheet, and making such a noise as made my ears buzz Uke a nest of bumblebees. The diameter of the sheU was so small that the sheU had to be placed in a vertical position to rivet the sections to¬ gether; after some four or five feet in length were done the rivets had to be taken in from the top. Picking them off from there in so small a space and placing them in the holes was no very easy job, and the heat in the rivets and the mild October weather, combined with the noise made by the riveting and the cramped position I had to do the work in, made the job a very undesirable one.
To make things a Uttle more Uvely for me, and to have a Uttle fun for themselves, the workmen commenced to play tricks with the cubs, as the apprentices were called at that time. Being quite famiUar with the men and boys of the