AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JOHN FRITZ 167
the ores that are suitable to make good Bessemer steel, by the acid process, are very Umited, so far as is known, the phosphorus of most American ores being too high for the Bessemer acid process. The rails that were being made in this country by the Bessemer process were generally in¬ ferior in quaUty, and the time was near when the railroads would demand a higher quaUty of rails, and they necessarily had to be made in the basic open-hearth furnace. The failure to make steel liigh in quality is not due to the Bessemer process, but to the difficulty of procuring suitable ores, phosphorus being the most baneful element. Tliis fact alone placed the basic process in the lead, where it will remain until some other startUng process is discovered. The Thomas and Gilchrist basic process, the greatest metal¬ lurgical discovery of the age, in connection with the Siemens open-hearth furnace, has taken the lead of aU other known processes in the manufacture of steel.
In or about 1871, Mr. Leach of Boston caUed on me at Bethlehem to have a talk over the Siemens regenerative gas furnace, for which he was the agent in this country. I wanted to use it in the Betlflehem plant. After he had agreed on the price I told lum the roof was too low to get perfect combustion and that I would make it much higher. He at once said, " Do you pretend to know more than Dr. Siemens? " I told liim, " No, I wish I Icnew half as much as he did." But I told him further that I had puddled and heated more iron than Dr. Siemens had, and had had more experience in rolling-mill practice where great heat was required; but Mr. Leach was not wilUng to let me make any change in the construction. He went over to New York, caUed on Mr. Abram S. Hewitt, and told him what had passed between us in regard to the furnace. Mr. Hewitt advised, " You go back to Bethlehem and tell Fritz to make any changes he wants." Mr. Leach returned to