Memories of our early days at work

Toffee Hammer  By: Steve Thompson

In the Blast Furnace Fitters Shop one of our colleagues was a Foreman called Bobby Gill. He was affectionately known as "Gobby Bill". This man had a knack for getting things wrong in giant doses. I had first hand experience of this: The maintenance in the Blast Furnace area was pretty rough. Because everything was silted up you could very rarely remove nuts and bolts with a spanner. You had to use a hammer and cold chisel and chisel the nuts off by brute force. Now, I was a musician and I'd seen many of the older men with the odd finger or two missing: I wasn't going to risk that. To safeguard myself, I used the lightest hammer available so that if I missed it was not going to cause too much damage. It took longer but at least it was painless. Well, one day I was removing a nut in this fashion when along comes a white hat and beneath it was  none other than "Gobby Bill". "Here", he says,"what are you trying to do with that toffee hammer? I'll have that bolt off with one whack" He then pulled out an enormous hammer. One whack was certainly all it took! With an almighty heave, he swung his deadly instrument. It came down upon the chisel, sheared off and made sickening contact with the hand holding the chisel. Immediately his hand began to discolour and swell and I'm sure I could see it visibly throbbing. He said nothing, just got up and shuffled off leaving me to start again with my "toffee hammer" slowly but surely removing the bolt.