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Factories and Industry (page 2)


My father studies the ground and we circulate in the zone or around the works. He examines the carrots, speaks with the foremen. He says to me that these grounds on which we stand are nearly about the only ones, which are still in situ there since the inconceivably remote time of their formation. Only the passage of the glaciers came sometimes, at certain times to plane down their surface by leaving there only these soft undulations and these small lakes that we have noticed… To make a move along the railroad one has a rather original means: it is a small platform assembled on wheels and which two men push forward by balancing a lever fixed like that of the water pumps. Thus we were driven to a dozen kilometers from the mine to watch a red Skins's camping...

After aroud twelve days we leave this wild country for it is necessary to have now some special apparatuses made which my father suggested for processing, in Cleveland, of the concentrates sent from Sudbury. So we will have to go to see manufacturers in Chicago and in Pittsburg and this promises to us a new series of railroad trips which we almost will undergo all by night... One then could see in Pittsburgh the most important steel-works of the world
(Carnegie) which was soon to bring many similar industries and so set up the famous
'Steel Trust'.

His director, Mr. Frick, could miss being interested by the information my father gave him upon nickel and the improvement that it brings to the qualities of steel when it is incorporated in it even in small proportion. Their conversation went on some time then we made a complete visit of the steel-works. I saw for the first time a great metallurgical establishment. Its powerful apparatuses: blast furnaces, converters, furnaces, rolling mills etc passed too quickly in front of my wondered eyes. I would have liked to contemplate them lengthily and try to understand them but it was not possible and only remained to me the impression of an industrial power which I had never suspected.

The last stage was carried out briskly by an excellent train, which brought us in New York passing under Hudson River etc. Two years later (in July 1892) I underwent the series of the examinations of entry at the School... But the return of the College of France, after the ultimate examination, a surprise awaited me at home. I had, two days later, still to accompany my father to the United States. It was his fourth trip. The factory had been built and equipped with the desired apparatuses. they were going to start it and to proceed to the first casts of nickel. By day or by night we spent long hours next to the furnaces and all seemed to me having well gone. There were only rather long groping to obtain that the melting stream of nickel be solidified in the form of shot. It was, they said, very desirable.

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