The Iron Puddler: My Life in the Rolling Mills and What Came of It

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Cosimo, Inc., 2005 M12 1 - 284 páginas
"Life in these mills is a terrible life," the reformers say. "Men are ground down to scrap and are thrown out as wreckage." This may be so, but my life was spent in the mills and I failed to discover it. I went in a stripling and grew into manhood with muscled arms big as a bookkeeper's legs. The gases, they say, will destroy a man's lungs, but I worked all day in the mills and had wind enough left to toot a clarinet in the band. I lusted for labor, I worked and I liked it. -from "Scene in a Rolling Mill" In 1921, JAMES JOHN DAVIS was appointed Secretary of Labor by President Warren Harding, and would go on to also serve Presidents Coolidge and Hoover. The next year, he published this gung-ho autobiography, a paean to the hard work and perseverance that fueled his rise to personal and professional success. Born in Wales, Davis (1873-1947) emigrated with his family to Pennsylvania, where he worked in the steel mills from the age of 11, acquiring the strength of character and learning the lessons in honor, duty, and honesty that would serve him well later in life, when from his position of prominence he was instrumental in eliminating the 12-hour workday, improving relations between labor and management, and establishing a prevocational school Mooseheart, Illinois, which young boys and girls were taught the fundamentals of industrial arts. A stalwart, hearty depiction of the American dream in action, The Iron Puddler is not merely one man's story, and a fascinating and inspiring one at that... it is a universal story of the integrity and industry that built America.

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CHAPTEJ PAGE I The HomeMabe Surr of
17
A Trait of the Welsh
27
No Gift from the Fairies
30
She Sexgs to Her Nest
35
The Lost Feather Bed
40
Hunting for Lost Children I
45
Hari Sledding in America
51
My Fib st Regular Job
56
CHAPTER PAGE XXVI A Grub Reformer Puts Us Out of Grub
150
The Pie Eaters Paradise
153
Caught in a Southern Peon age Camp
158
A Sick Emaciated Social System
169
Breaking into the Tin Industry
172
Unaccustomed as I am to Public Speaking
178
Logic Wins in the Stretch
187
Meet the Industrial
191

The Scattered Family
62
Melodrama Becomes Comeot r
68
Keeping Open House
73
My Hand Touches Iron
79
Scene m a Rolling Mill
85
Boiling Down the Pigs
90
The Iron Biscuits
96
Wresting a Prke from Natures Hand
101
Man is Iron Too
106
On Being a Good Guesser
110
Start on My Travels
114
The Red Flag and the Watermelons
119
Envy is the Sulphur in Human PigIron
125
Loaded Down with Lttera
129
The Puddler Has a Vision f
134
xxrv Joe the Poor Brakeman
140
A Drop in the Bucket of
145
Shirts for Tin Rollers
195
An Uplifter Ruled by Envy
199
Growling for the Bosses Blood
204
Free and Unlimited Coinage
209
The Editor Gets My Goat
215
Putting Jazz into the Campaign
219
Father Took Me Seriously
224
A Paving Contractor Puts Me on the Paving
228
The Everlasting Moralizer
236
From Tin Worker to Small Capitalist
240
A Chance to Realize a Dream
244
The Dream Comes True
248
The Mooseheart Idea
253
Lifes Problems
257
Building a Better World by Education
263
Conclusion
268
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Página 276 - Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend, For the lesson thou hast taught ! Thus at the flaming forge of life Our fortunes must be wrought ; Thus on its sounding anvil shaped Each, burning deed and thought.
Página 91 - None of us ever went to school and learned the chemistry of it from books. We learned the trick by doing it, standing with our faces in the scorching heat while our hands puddled the metal in its glaring bath.
Página 98 - Six hundred pounds was the weight of pig iron we used to put into a single hearth. Much wider than the hearth was the fire grate, for we needed a heat that was intense. The flame was made by burning bituminous coal. Vigorously I stoked that fire for thirty minutes with dampers open and the draft roaring while the pig iron melted down like ice cream under an electric fan.
Página 92 - But the man who learns it from a book can not do it. The mental knowledge is not enough; it requires great muscular skill like that of the heavyweight wrestler, besides great physical endurance to withstand the terrific heat.
Página 30 - My father was an iron worker, and his father before him. My people had been workers in metal from the time when the age of farming in Wales gave way to the birth of modern industries. They were proud of their skill, and the secrets of the trade were passed from father to son as a legacy of great value, and were never told to persons outside the family.
Página 98 - There were five bakings every day, and this meant the shoveling in of nearly two tons of coal. In summer I was stripped to the waist and panting while the sweat poured down across my heaving muscles. My palms and fingers, scorched by the heat, became hardened like goat hoofs, \vhile my skin took on a coat of tan that it will wear forever.
Página 274 - ... Nature is never whipped. Nature will take a crack at you, if you leave an opening. The generation that went before you worked ten to fourteen hours a day; they battled face to face with a raw continent in their fight with Nature. And by their muscle they drove Nature back and she surrendered. " Who are the propagandists that Nature is using to undermine the race that conquered her? Communists, slackers, sick men and fools. The man who says let us ' quit work and divide our cake and eat it' is...
Página 113 - ... pill between the palms and squeezing the water out of it. I must get the three balls, or blooms, out of the furnace and into the squeezer while the slag is still liquid so that it can be squeezed out of the iron. From cold pig-iron to finished blooms is a process that takes from an hour and ten minutes, to an hour and forty minutes, depending on the speed and skill of the puddler, and the kind of iron. I was a fast one, myself. But you expected that, from the fact that I am telling the story....
Página 109 - ... shock troops grappling with tyrannous nature on. her own ground and conquering new territory in which man can live in safety and peace. Steel houses with glass windows are born of his efforts. There is a glory in this fight; man feels a sense of grandeur. We are robbing no one. From the harsh bosom of the hills we wring the iron milk that makes us strong. Nature is no kind mother; she resists with flood and earthquake, drought and cyclone. Nature is fierce and formidable, but fierce is man's...
Página 102 - It is about the size of a thick wash-rag, and the puddler carries it in the hand that clasps the rabble rod where it is too hot for bare flesh to endure. The melted iron contains carbon, sulphur and phosphorus, and to get rid of them, especially the sulphur and phosphorus, is the object of all this heat and toil. For it is the sulphur and phosphorus that make the iron brittle. And brittle iron might as well not be iron at all; it might better be clay. For a good brick wall is stronger than a wall...

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