John A. Brashear: The Autobiography of a Man Who Loved the Stars

John A. Brashear: The Autobiography of a Man Who Loved the Stars

John A. Brashear: The Autobiography of a Man Who Loved the Stars

John A. Brashear: The Autobiography of a Man Who Loved the Stars

Excerpt

Many dear friends have urged me during the past five years to put in printed form some reminiscences of my long life; and I promised one dear fellow, with uplifted hand, that I would do so. Now The American Society of Mechanical Engineers comes along and tells me I must do it. I see no way to refuse when this splendid body of men, who have made me one of their honorary members -- placing me among a coterie of master-workers whose shoe-latchets I am unworthy to unloose -- insist on my writing something of my life history.

Who will read my reminiscences if they are written? Perhaps a few who have known me for, say, half a lifetime; perhaps another few who are interested in my hobbies and who may get some word of encouragement, some helpful suggestion in the domain of the science I have loved so well; perhaps some fellow workman from the old rolling mill, machine shop, or glass works, who knew me as a greasy millwright, or passable mechanic -- some dear fellows still living, who, as younger men, used to go down with me at lunch-time on a cold winter day, in the ash-pit of a rolling-mill furnace, to listen to my stories of the stars, as I pictured them on a piece of sheet iron with a lump of chalk; perhaps some few of the more than one hundred thousand who have listened to my lectures during the past forty years; or a few of my old Sunday-School scholars, still living, whom I used -- wickedly -- to take after Sunday- School to the little cottage on the South Side hills to show . . .

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