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An interesting look at the inner workings of a foundry in the early 1900’s.
Taken from Canadian Foundryman 1918.
RAPID development of plants has been a notable feature of manufacturing activities throughout the Dominion during the past three years, but with few exceptions such expansion was resulted from the urgency of war requirements—directly or indirectly — rather than a marked extension in staple manufacturing. Domestic enterprise, even on a normal basis, has suffered extensively through the high cost of raw materials and the difficulty of obtaining such, except under restricted conditions.
One of the few exceptions to these conditions is the plant of the Canada Stove and Foundry Company, Ltd., Ville St. Laurent, near Montreal. This company was incorporated in May, 1916, as successors to the Canada Stove and Furniture Company, the latter having been organized in 1905. Steady progress was made by that company until 1913, by which time the output had attained comparatively large dimensions, and the factory occupied a floor space of 50,000 sq. ft. The rapid growth of the business, however, during the next three years necessitated the building of extensive additions, and in the summer of 1916 the two storey mounting room, the warehouse and foundry were extended; later in the same year a four-storey building was erected for the manufacture of shells, and a store departure was decided on at this time, that of enamelling sheet steel goods and cast iron hollow ware, and a suitable building was erected for this purpose on the property facing the main offices; these latter also being remodeled during the same period. The present floor space available for manufacturing purposes is about 200,000 sq. ft., and together with the adjoining property covers an area of 10 acres. The plant is ideally situated, being located about 7 miles from the city of Montreal, and adjacent to the main line of the G.T.R., with spur connections to both the C.P.R. and the C.N.R. Foundry.
The foundry has a length of 300 ft. and a width of 150 ft. and with the exage warehouse. An entirely new view in one of the four bays of the foundry ception of a small section used for heavy pit work, the floor is constructed of concrete, this being considered an efficiency feature where light work predominates. The greater volume of work is connected with the manufacture of stoves and ranges, but considerable jobbing is also done; facilities having been installed to handle individual castings of about 3 tons in weight. A 66 in. Whiting cupola, with a capacity of over 30 tons per day, is located in a wing about midway of the shop length; a Piqua pressure blower being installed to supply the necessary blast. For small plate-moulding work, 50 lb. ladles are provided, and for the larger work several ladles ranging from 200 lbs. to about 4,000 lbs. are employed, these latter being transported about the shop by a monorail system. Pouring is continuous for about three hours each day. The bulk of the light work is performed in moulding machines; the equipment consisting of 2 Pridmore rockover machines, 3 Arcades, 2 Webb and 3 Davenport power air squeezers, and 2 Adam’s hand squeezers. For the baking of cores there has been installed one large Whiting and four small Millett core ovens. The foundry is well lighted, and heated by a forced hot air system with overhead piping, installed by the Canadian Sirocco Co. The remainder of the factory is heated by means of steam coils. Mill Department For the cleaning of the castings 10 Sly steel mills are installed, these ranging from the large size of 4 ft. square and 50 in. long, to the small size of 18 in. dia. and 3 ft. long. Each mill equipped with Sly dust arrestors, insuring the maximum degree of cleanliness possible in this dusty department. For the larger castings, and those that are too delicate to place in the tumbling mills, a sand blasting equipment has been provided. Adjoining the mill room is the stove parts stock department into which the castings are taken from the cleaning room and stored in suitably arranged bins so that the parts are at all times easily accessible.
Efficient Stock Record System On the first floor of the stove mounting department is the steel stock and cutting room, the former so arranged and managed that it is possible to determine at any time, by reference to the stock sheets, the amount of material that is on hand and the exact number of stoves that could be made from the available supply. This system extends throughout the entire plant, so that when an order is placed for a large number of stoves, a few minutes checking of the different stock sheets advises the superintendent or his chief clerk just what is required to fill the order. Steps are immediately taken on the receipt of an order to arrange the production of the foundry and the purchase of the necessary stock and other accessory supplies, so that no department is handicapped through delay in receiving materials.
The more important machines in the cutting department are a Brown Boggs 8 ft. power squaring shear; a 42-in. double crank consolidated power press for body making and heavy formed work; one Michigan and one Excelsior power press; an automatic top grinding mach’ne made by the Excelsior Tool Co.; A special vertical inside grinding machine for work on stove parts; and a number of smaller tools such as foot shears, harnd folders, and presses, together with all the other necessary shop equipment for the rapid and economic production of sheet metal operations. One section of the second floor is set apart for the nickeling of the numerous ornamental parts now found on nearly every make of cast iron or steel range or heater.
Nickeling and Polishing
The nickeling equipment is of the most modern type, a prominent feature being a Hanson and Van Winkle dynamo of 1,000 ampere capacity; all wiring is contained in conduits throughout. The polishing room, adjoining the nickeling department, contains 10 Hanson and Van Winkle polishing machines, driven from a shaft located below the floor; each machine is fitted with an exhaust head, and a Sheldon fan is employed to remove the dust from these machines. The blacking of the different cast iron stove parts is also performed on this floor, as is the wrapping and crating before going to the shipping department.
Gas Stove Mounting
The entire third floor is reserved for the gas stove department; one section is provided with the necessary pipe threading machines, presses and drills required for the different parts and the main portion of the room is used for the mounting of the various makes of stoves. An interesting feature in connection with this department is the drilling of the small holes in the various gas burners by means of multiple drill heads, as many as 72 holes being drilled in one type of burner at a single setting. The presses and multiple drill heads were supplied by the Michigan Press Co. of Ypsilanti. All finished material for all makes of gas stoves is kept on this floor, the operation of this department being governed by the checking system already referred to. Four concentration points on this floor govern the supply and distribution of all material—the sheet metal stock room, the rough castings department, the general stores department, and the finished material stores. Daily records are kept of stock and orders so as to avoid the possibility of misunderstanding between the heads of the different departments. The average output of stoves, ranges and heaters is about 100 per day. while the number of gas stoves turned out each day ranges from 50 to 75. The japanning room is equipped with an oil burning oven, maintained at a heat of about 350 degrees F. The interior of many of the gas stove ovens are given a coat of aluminum, sprayed on.
Like most of the larger metal working establishments in Canada, this plant has been engaged in the manufacture of shells, having been working on the 4.5 in. size for upwards of two years. The out put to date has been upwards of 250.000 shells.
The art of enamelling, or the fusion of quartz and chemical compounds to form a hard vitreous surface on metallic objects, either for the purpose of decoration or utility, is gradually assuming increased importance in the industrial developments of the country. Additional enterprise in this direction is the most recent departure of this firm. The enamelling plant, located directly opposite the main offices, is of brick construction, 120 ft. by 60 ft., and is of single floor construction, with the exception of the front section of two floors, the upper one being used for chemical storage and decalcomania work. The ground floor is divided into three sections—one containing the smelting furnace and the grinding mills, a pickling department, containing’ acid baths for cleaning the sheet steel articles, and also a steam heated drying kiln, while the greater portion of the ground floor is reserved for the actual operations of enamelling the work.
Three oil-fired furnaces are installed, two being adapted for sheet work, while the third and largest is constructed to handle cast iron hollow ware. Of the two former, one is open hearth and the other muffled type. The fuel is kept in a 800-gaI. tank adjacent to the building, and is supplied from the main 10,000 gal. reservoir provided for the operations of the furnaces in the shell machining department. Oil is delivered to the burners by means of a small centrifugal pump, and air for blast and combustion is supplied at a pressure of about 70 lbs. per sq. in. The other equipment of the shop consists of the various receptacles for holding the solutions and the necessary facilities for handling and transporting the work to and from the kilns and furnaces. Preparing the Frit The art of enamelling, like other processes of a similar nature, involves considerable knowledge of what are known as trade secrets, many of which are only attainable by actual experience and continual practice.
The general features of the work, however, will be gathered from the following description: The necessary compounds, such as the sedimentary rock and chemicals, are receivedin the form of shale or powder, and are first mixed and smelted in an oilfired furnace, the proper proportions of the compound being determined by the particular formula in use. The furnace is divided into two sections—one reservedfor colored and the other for white mixtures. The furnace is heated to about 1,600 deg. F., care being taken to avoid over-heating. When the heated mass of materials begins to bubble, the furnace is immediately tapped and the charge run out into a bath of cold water; instantaneous cooling is a very important factor, and to achieve this the frit, as the product is termed at this point, is allowed to flow out in a very fine stream and a current of cold water is played upon the molten substance as it falls into the bath, which is also kept cold by a continual overflow from the wooden tank beneath the pouring spouts. The sudden vitrifaction of the frit facilitates the operation of grinding to the desired degree of fineness, the calcined substance having a glassy appearance and being easily broken into smaller particles.
Grinding the Mixture After the material is removed from the cooling bath, it is allowed to dry before being placed in the mills for grinding. In addition to the chemicals that are united in the fusing process, others are added preparatory to grinding. Two tumbling mills, 3 ft. dia. by 4 ft. long, and one about 2 ft. by 40 in. long, are provided for this purpose, the two larger being for wet mixtures and the smaller for dry mixtures. The mills are made with sheet steel bodies and cast iron ends, and are lined with a substantial layer of porcelain. The door is similarly lined, and when placed in position the inner wall coincides with the remainder of the cylinder, thus forming an undisturbed surface for the movement of the revolving mixture.One of the very important requirements in connection with the preparation of the chemicals and various ingredients used in the art of enamelling is that every facility be adopted and the greatest care exercised to exclude the presence of foreign matter which would have a detrimental effect upon the ultimate results. The friction and impact required to grind any substance to powder entail the use of grinding mediums which must be much harder than the material being ground. Flint stones are generally used for the grinding of enamelling powders, as the wear upon them from the continual tumbling is imperceptible, and thus assures the powdered material being practically free from any substance other than thoseplaced in the mill. Extreme care and cleanliness must be exercised in the preparation of the materials and their subsequent use in the enamelling process; and to eliminate trouble at a future stage of the work special attention is given to all these elementary factors. After the charge in a mill has been ground to the desired grade of fineness, generally requiring from 5 to 6 hours, every particle of the powder, together with the flint stones, is removed from the interior, and the cylinder is thoroughly cleansed, while every stone is brushed with a wire brush and washed before being again placed in the mill. This practice is not only adopted when the proportions of the different formula vary, but also when one having the exact proportions of the mixture, just previously ground, is to be placed in the mill. Strict adherence to this principle is necessary to guarantee a mixture corresponding to the specified formula; it also acts as a positive check on subsequent operations.
Enamelling Sheet Stock A peculiar characteristic in the enamelling of metal is that the process is somewhat varied for sheet work and castings, due to the difference in the chemical reaction. For operations on sheet work the mixture is prepared in the form of a wet solution, into which the parts are dipped; while the process for castings requires the application of the enamel in a powdered state distributed evenly upon the surface of the work. The primary essential in the enamelling of sheet metal is the selection and preparation of the material. After the sheet iron has been cut and formed into the shape desired, the pieces are thoroughly cleansed in an acid bath and then well washed in hot and cold water, being afterwards immersed in a special solution and again washed in water to destroy further action of the acids. All trace of moisture is entirely removed by placing the treated work in a drying kiln, after which it is ready to receive the ground coat. In the general run of sheet steel work that is subjected to the enamelling process, particularly the class of work that is handled in this plant, the entire surface of the work is treated with a ground coat, this invariably being of a dark blue color. The enamel is ini the form of a creamy solution contained in galvanized sheet steel tanks, into which the work is dipped and swung with a peculiar movement so as to insure an evenly distributed coating over the complete surface of the work. That is a very important detail, and the girls employed become very expert in the manipulation of the different shapes and sizes they are called upon to handle.
Drying and Burning After being arranged in rack trucks – the pieces being kept separate – they are moved into the drying kiln to remove all traces of moisture; when thoroughly dry, the work is ready for baking. Special facilities are provided at the front of the furnace for handling the work. The pieces are placed on bars provided with sharp prongs, so that only the points are in contact with the material; this method avoids serious marking of the under surface and also prevents distortion of the work. Several pieces are placed on this rack and the whole run into the furnace, which is kept at a temperature of between 1,500 and 1,600 deg. F. Baking or burning, which constitutes the fusing of the enamel coating, occupies about one or two minutes, and when the work is taken out it is immediately removed and placed on a flat plate to retain the shape while cooling. When cold, the same sequence of operations is again followed for the succeeding coats. The general practice in this plant is to give the work one ground, one intermediate and one finishing coat; this gives a fairly flexible surface; a thicker enamel is liable to develop cracks. For embossed work, such as lettering or ornamental designs, the plant is equipped with a spraying outfit, this being the only method that will insure equal distribution of the enamel solution. When work of this character is dipped the solution gathers about the raised impressions and destroys their prominence owing to the inability of the solution to drain freely from the irregular portions.
Process for Cast Iron The method of enamelling cast iron differs to some extent from that used in coating sheet material. The application of the ground coat is accomplished in a similar manner, the piece being swabbed with a thin solution and then dried, after which the article is placed in the furnace and heated to a cherry red, when the work is removed from the fire chamber and sprinkled evenly over the entire surface with finely powdered enamel and again placed in the furnace, allowing the powder to fuse and spread evenly over the surface; this process is continued until the desired coating is obtained. The surface of the iron must be perfectly clean and free from corrosion, as the chemical action of the rust will not allow the enamel to set properly, a blemish appearing wherever rusting has occurred. In the preparation of the various formulas the company have given special attention to those for cast iron hollow ware subjected to chemical reaction during the boiling or cooking of fruits and vegetables that contain a large percentage of acid. Enamel work of this character must withstand the severest acid test before it is permitted to leave the factory.
Ornamental Work Floral and other ornamental designs for the decoration of signs, stove panels, etc., are included in the work of the enamelling department. Meyercord’s process of enamel decal is the method used in putting on the various designs; after being transferred to the previously enamelled surface, the articles are again baked in the furnace and the color design is burnt in and becomes part of the enamel coating. The range of product manufactured by this firm includes wood burning cook stoves, cast iron and steel stoves and ranges for wood, coal and gas, and in addition specializes in numerous items of cast iron house and factory equipment, much of which is now being treated in the new enamelling department. Owing to the semi-isolated position of the plant, special provision has been made for fire protection; in addition to a well trained fire-fighting force, the entire factory is equipped with a sprinkler system. Shop welfare and first aid departments are also features of the plant management. The executive consists of E. Panneton, managing director; J. A. St. Germain, secretary-treasurer; F. Lauer, general superintendent; andChas. Watt, superintendent of the shell department.