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THE PISTON RINGS

There were times, during the war, when new material was just not available and the expediting of repairs brought out the best in some mighty fine mechanics. I particularly remember one instance at a large paper mill, in western North Carolina, that had a steam driven air compressor out of service because of worn out piston rings. It was not an accident so I was not officially involved, I was only trying to help. We had the steam end dismantled and there was no way, in the world, that the old rings could be salvaged, and also there was no way that new ones could be purchased.

Remember now, this was in the mountains where, according to some otherwise smart people, the local residents are not very bright. The machinist and I had exhausted about every possible means for getting piston rings, when we decided to go to lunch. We were walking along a railroad spur, within the plant, when he grabbed my arm and shouted, "there's our piston rings", and pointed to the brake wheel on a box car. Sure enough, when we came back from lunch, we took the brake wheel from two railroad cars and in a couple of hours, he had a set of piston rings, and before quitting time we had the compressor running again.

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