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Chapter VII - First Job: McCord Manufacturing Co., Detroit

lthough he had determined to become an independant inventor, Hammond realized that his first responsibility on leaving college would be to support himself; like all his classmates, he would have to start out by taking a job. During Senior Year, men came around from various companies to recruit the graduating engineers. One was from McCord Manufacturing Company in Detroit, which made radiators for cars. The Cornell Glee Club had been royally entertained at Detroit, and Hammond's classmate had about concluded that Detroit was the ideal town. He knew a lot about Mr. McCord, whom his mother had befriended in Evanston many years before, and this was the kind of business he wanted to get experience in - so he went to Detroit to work for McCord people.

When he got there and reported for work, they said, "You come at six, have an hour off for lunch, and work till 6:00 P.M." They made him an inspector where they were dipping radiators in molten solder. It was a very hot place. Great acid fumes were coming up. If you should touch your face with your hand, it would all break out later: an absolutely ghastly job, but he stuck at it.

After he had worked there a while, he figured that what he should do is invent something, and he put his mind to that. Then he got himself in to see the chief engineer.

"I have an idea which might be worth doing," he said. "Oh My God, Hammond. I'd forgotten all about you", said the Chief Engineer. "You say you're coming in at six in the morning? Well, you don't have to anymore. You come at eight in the morning, like the engineering department, and you leave at five in the afternoon." (Boy, was that a change!) "Now go on about this idea of yours."

"Well", said Hammond, " I can't demonstrate it. I'd have to have a chance to work on it, but I know that you have a place down there where you put radiators on a test scheme and you blow air through them - And he said, "Yes, and that's exactly what I wanted to talk to you about. The man that's doing that is going to leave, so you're going to inherit the job."

o Hammond inherited that job, began to turn his idea into reality, and things really begun to look up. His "idea" was based on the fact that the total surface is what radiates heat - and marble is an excellent conductor of heat. he'd noticed this, putting his hand on some marble in the shower. It felt cold, which meant that it was conducting heat from him. He got marble ground up to a size he decided was best, the radiator was dipped in black paint, then the ground marble was poured on it, and stuck fast in the paint. The result was, believe it or not, that the radiator was twice as effective as it had been before. Well, it was sort of a screwy invention, Hammond says, but the McCord people were very impressed. He started to become quite somebody in the Company.

Then came Wilson's Declaration of War. Hammond went to his boss, and said, "If there is going to be a war, I'm going to be in it. Tomorrow you won't see me, because I'm going downtown to try and enlist." Well, there wasn't much they could do about it, but when he did leave, they actually gave him some money as a parting gift, saying he had been really useful to them. He'd been there less than a year, but he'd already won his spurs.


 
   
Chapter VIII - With the A.E.F. in World War I   Index

ęCopyright 1974, Stuyvesant Barry All Rights Reserved May not be copied, published, used on anyone else's web pages or in any way without express written permission.


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