834 SOME REMINISCENCES OF WEYMOUTH IRON WORKS

About the middle of the big building was a large upright engine of one hundred and fifty or more horsepower. This engine was a thing of.beauty as well as of power, handsomely painted, its brass work polished to the !I-init, enuclosed in a big room as fine as was ~he engine. The contrast between the inside and outside of the engine room was extreme, to put it mildly. In the early years a little Englishman by the name of Curt was engineer. He had three boys, Sain, Tom and Eddie. They were English all right, regular Cock. neys, and the way they left out and added "h's" was amusing to the rest of its boys. Sam, the oldest, was a quiet, serious fellow of twelve, and seemed to us boys to be able to run the engine about as well as his father. Eddie, the youngest - "Eddie Two Thumbs," we called him - was the proud and envied possessor of two thumbs on one hand, side by side, and not much larger together than the other. Later, Charley Bowen, eldest son of B. W. Bowen, the superintendent, had charge of the engine until the finish,

Along the front of the mill, facing the yard, were the furnaces, and between them and the nail machines was the trip harnmer, squeezers and shears. On the other side of the yard were big piles of iron ore, pig iron, coal, mostly soft, and flint or quartz. And ''that reminds me" of a way the boys of sixty years ago had of earning a dollar, unknown to the boys of to-day and to most men also. We used to go to the different gravel banks and gather flint, varying in size from that of a baseball to a football, cart it home in a wheelbarrow, for which the Company would pay a dollar a ton delivered to their yard. Unless one had a relative or friend owning a horse and cart one-half would go to the carter. Those dollars were certainly earned. If a boy wheeled home fifty pounds at each trip itwould have taken fortytrips to haveaccumulated. aton,which, if carted free, would give him 2V2 cents a trip. How the present generation of boys would fall over each other hunting for flint! Whether the supply did not equal the demand or not is uncertain but a few years later they stopped buying our flint, and bought' quartz by the carload. It is always so - if one has a "snap" it is short-lived. Probably the flint or quartz aided in freeing the iron of its impurities.

Our earliest recollections of the officials were Increase ("Old Man") Robinson, president; Warren W. Barker, treasurer; John Washburn, superintendent; Robert McIntosh, clerk. Some years later John Washburn was succeeded by Benjamin W. Bowen, and still later David Tucker followed Warren Barker. Robert McIntosh was with them to the end, and at the time of his death two years ago was the last of the old office force.

It was interesting to see the various processes involved in the manufacture of the nails; the furnaces, whose fires were seldom raised to a white heat, and charged with iron ore, pig iron, and "scrap." Ask "Mick" Fogarty and "Nachie" Lonergan about the scrap iron. They were " pilers " in their young clays, piling tit e pieces of scrap on boards ready for the furnaces. Then the " pud-






dlers" and their helpers, - big brawny men stripped to the waist, -stood in front of the roaring furnaces, and, through holes in the thick iron door, with long bars, " puddled " or mixed the melted iron unfil ;t fnr e n "heat," -a white-hot mass free from its

I . it .-.m-d - dross. Then the furnace door was opened and a man with a big pair of tongs running on a pulley overhead thrust it into the furnace and pulled out the heat and rushed it, dripping a rain of sparks, to the squeezers, and from that to the big trip hammer; then to the different rolls, where it was flattened into lengths of eight or ten feet, some fifteen or eighteen inches wide, of various thicknesses, according to the size of the nails into which it was to be cut.

Then it went to the shears, where it was cut crosswise into strips as wide as the nails were th be long. At times a small low-wrought iron cart eight or ten inches deep was backed up to the furnace to be filled with the dross, or "slag," which poured from an opening "it the bottom of the furnace. This ''slag," when cold, would be broken and dumped as filling in vacant lots. Ther~ must be thousands of ~ons beneath the surface of the lot near Jackson Square, near the billboards, Water Street, and Commercial, from the herring house to Wharf Street, known as "The Black Road," kept in repair by the Company with slag and ashes, Excepting the nail Jepartments, the mill started work at 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning. uMen the whole village was lighted with the columns of flame streaming from the high smokestacks. Their day ended soon after noon.

The puddlers were the best paid hands employed, except, perhaps, some of the boss nailers, some of whom controlled a number of machines, hiring "second hands" to "turn plate" for the extra machines, the "boss" grinding the knives and otherwise caring for them. Both boss and second hands were paid so much per hundred. To turn plate the operator sat on a high stoat in front of the machine, handling a rod about five feet long, its near end supported by a hook in which it turned, and the plate held in nippers on the front end. After learning to time each motion with the movements of the machine he pushed the plate squarely against the bed knife .and turned it in time for the next movement so that the head of the second nail was cut from the other side of the plate, cutting perhaps a hundred a minute. Some boys turned plate through the vacation. Not many, however. Sitting all day in summer on a high stool did not appeal to many boys then, and would to even fewer now. And who can blame them? Boys and girls need play as well as food. A combination of work and play is ideal and practical, too. A boy of to-day can get fun and profit from pig and poultry clubs, and farm and garden.

To some "grown-tips" (a fortunate few), work is a pleasure. This applies to authors, artists, inventors, also to evangelists and missionaries. Happy are they, and "may their tribe increase." But this is supposed to be ancient history and not a modern essay. So we will "take up the thread of our discourse," as the old-fash

834 SOME REMINISCENCES OF WEYMOUTH IRON WORKS

About the middle of the big building was a large upright engine of one hundred and fifty or more horsepower. This engine was a thing of.beauty as well as of power, handsomely painted, its brass work polished to the !I-init, enuclosed in a big room as fine as was ~he engine. The contrast between the inside and outside of the engine room was extreme, to put it mildly. In the early years a little Englishman by the name of Curt was engineer. He had three boys, Sain, Tom and Eddie. They were English all right, regular Cock. neys, and the way they left out and added "h's" was amusing to the rest of its boys. Sam, the oldest, was a quiet, serious fellow of twelve, and seemed to us boys to be able to run the engine about as well as his father. Eddie, the youngest - "Eddie Two Thumbs," we called him - was the proud and envied possessor of two thumbs on one hand, side by side, and not much larger together than the other. Later, Charley Bowen, eldest son of B. W. Bowen, the superintendent, had charge of the engine until the finish,

Along the front of the mill, facing the yard, were the furnaces, and between them and the nail machines was the trip harnmer, squeezers and shears. On the other side of the yard were big piles of iron ore, pig iron, coal, mostly soft, and flint or quartz. And ''that reminds me" of a way the boys of sixty years ago had of earning a dollar, unknown to the boys of to-day and to most men also. We used to go to the different gravel banks and gather flint, varying in size from that of a baseball to a football, cart it home in a wheelbarrow, for which the Company would pay a dollar a ton delivered to their yard. Unless one had a relative or friend owning a horse and cart one-half would go to the carter. Those dollars were certainly earned. If a boy wheeled home fifty pounds at each trip itwould have taken fortytrips to haveaccumulated. aton,which, if carted free, would give him 2V2 cents a trip. How the present generation of boys would fall over each other hunting for flint! Whether the supply did not equal the demand or not is uncertain but a few years later they stopped buying our flint, and bought' quartz by the carload. It is always so - if one has a "snap" it is short-lived. Probably the flint or quartz aided in freeing the iron of its impurities.

Our earliest recollections of the officials were Increase ("Old Man") Robinson, president; Warren W. Barker, treasurer; John Washburn, superintendent; Robert McIntosh, clerk. Some years later John Washburn was succeeded by Benjamin W. Bowen, and still later David Tucker followed Warren Barker. Robert McIntosh was with them to the end, and at the time of his death two years ago was the last of the old office force.

It was interesting to see the various processes involved in the manufacture of the nails; the furnaces, whose fires were seldom raised to a white heat, and charged with iron ore, pig iron, and "scrap." Ask "Mick" Fogarty and "Nachie" Lonergan about the scrap iron. They were " pilers " in their young clays, piling tit e pieces of scrap on boards ready for the furnaces. Then the " pud-




dlers" and their helpers, - big brawny men stripped to the waist, -stood in front of the roaring furnaces, and, through holes in the thick iron door, with long bars, " puddled " or mixed the melted iron unfil ;t fnr e n "heat," -a white-hot mass free from its

I . it .-.m-d - dross. Then the furnace door was opened and a man with a big pair of tongs running on a pulley overhead thrust it into the furnace and pulled out the heat and rushed it, dripping a rain of sparks, to the squeezers, and from that to the big trip hammer; then to the different rolls, where it was flattened into lengths of eight or ten feet, some fifteen or eighteen inches wide, of various thicknesses, according to the size of the nails into which it was to be cut.

Then it went to the shears, where it was cut crosswise into strips as wide as the nails were th be long. At times a small low-wrought iron cart eight or ten inches deep was backed up to the furnace to be filled with the dross, or "slag," which poured from an opening "it the bottom of the furnace. This ''slag," when cold, would be broken and dumped as filling in vacant lots. Ther~ must be thousands of ~ons beneath the surface of the lot near Jackson Square, near the billboards, Water Street, and Commercial, from the herring house to Wharf Street, known as "The Black Road," kept in repair by the Company with slag and ashes, Excepting the nail Jepartments, the mill started work at 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning. uMen the whole village was lighted with the columns of flame streaming from the high smokestacks. Their day ended soon after noon.

The puddlers were the best paid hands employed, except, perhaps, some of the boss nailers, some of whom controlled a number of machines, hiring "second hands" to "turn plate" for the extra machines, the "boss" grinding the knives and otherwise caring for them. Both boss and second hands were paid so much per hundred. To turn plate the operator sat on a high stoat in front of the machine, handling a rod about five feet long, its near end supported by a hook in which it turned, and the plate held in nippers on the front end. After learning to time each motion with the movements of the machine he pushed the plate squarely against the bed knife .and turned it in time for the next movement so that the head of the second nail was cut from the other side of the plate, cutting perhaps a hundred a minute. Some boys turned plate through the vacation. Not many, however. Sitting all day in summer on a high stool did not appeal to many boys then, and would to even fewer now. And who can blame them? Boys and girls need play as well as food. A combination of work and play is ideal and practical, too. A boy of to-day can get fun and profit from pig and poultry clubs, and farm and garden.

To some "grown-tips" (a fortunate few), work is a pleasure. This applies to authors, artists, inventors, also to evangelists and missionaries. Happy are they, and "may their tribe increase." But this is supposed to be ancient history and not a modern essay. So we will "take up the thread of our discourse," as the old-fash