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When the new plant was ready to go, they needed three firemen to feed the massive ocean liner steam boiler. I was asked to be one. I could not refuse. It was a step up the ladder and a big increase in wages to $15.00 a week.
We worked from 7 to 3, 3 to 11, and 11 to 7. We finished Saturday night at 12 o'clock, had 24 hours off, changed shift, and were back Sunday night.
It was quite a trick to keep the fire going for that period of time. This one boiler had two fires, each about 1.5 meter wide by 3.5 meters long. We used very fine anthracite. To fire these correctly, you had to do it in such a way that smoke never came out of the stack.
Black smoke meant inefficient burning and loss of steam and coal. We finally achieved perfection by taking one shovel full and spreading it over the whole fire in one sweep. It took a lot of practice, that's for sure.
Anthracite from Wikipedia.