By Robert Jackson
I was hired in the power and fuel department of the Edgar Thomson Works and the boss told me that I would be working at the Stirling boiler house. Well, I thought, you know, like sterling silver it must be a clean work environment. Boy was I wrong. The building had been there since the turn of the century and it was like the darkest and crummiest place I had ever imagined, even in my worst nightmare. Four boilers fired by blast furnace gas and one coal fired boiler #8, coal dust everywhere and the smells overpowering. I did several jobs, mostly laboring but sometimes working the coal hoist or cleaning burners - where we had to wear face shields so when the fire escaped from the burner box we wouldn't be burnt - from firing salamanders to cleaning sewers. It was quite an experience. From there I went on to become a wireman helper and finally a motor inspector in the rolling mill.
I'll never forget those days and the men I worked with. I wouldn't change it for anything.