Feb 242015

A friend of mine is looking for a story she remembers reading in something like second grade… would have been in the late 1970’s. As she remembers it, there was a steel mill or ironworks or foundry or some such. In it worked a man made out of iron or iron ore. He *may* have been named “Bill,” but that’s uncertain. One day the place encountered some sort of trouble… ran out of iron at just the worst possible moment. If they didn’t get their work done, Very Bad Things would result. So, “Bill” apparently sacrificed himself to save the factory by tossing himself into the furnace, or something. Yay, hasta la vista baby.

The lesson seems obscure at best, dubious at worst, but if anyone knows the story, please advise.

 Posted by at 9:25 pm
  • Paul451

    So, “Bill” apparently sacrificed himself to save the factory by tossing himself into the furnace

    At least that’s the story the rest of them told the authorities…

  • Matt

    I’d actually heard this one before. A quick search turned this up, which is at least one version of the tale…


    • Scottlowther

      That would seem to be the guy, thanks!

      • publiusr

        Here in Birmingham’s -something akin to that actually happened:

        “a piece of sheet iron was attached to a length of gas pipe, and with that instrument his head, bowels, two hip bones and a few ashes were fished out.”

        Thus the legend of Sloss Furnace being “haunted”

  • Bruce

    In response to Matt they talk about “Rivers of Steel” in Pennsylvania. Remember the old
    “Allentown” song from 1983?

  • Herp McDerp

    There was even a story in Analog or Astounding based on this tale, back in the 1950s or ’60s. (I bought a bunch of back issues from a used book store.) I think it was by Randall Garrett. Steelworkers (mostly of Hungarian ancestry) were very hostile to the introduction of robots … until one made a dramatic rescue of another worker (or something like that) and called himself Joe Magarac.