First Day on the Job

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.  

Related

The 45-Inch Mill

The 45-Inch Mill
Constructed in 1942 as part of Homestead's World War II expansion, the 45-inch mill was in operation until the early 1980s.