(When compared to The Tree Machine
this story proves that truth is stranger then fiction)
It dawned on Knut, the whole damned machine was reversed !!!
In the 1950's the Union Geithus mill would shut down for maintenance during weekends. One Sunday evening in the early 50s, machine-tender Knut Solbakken was starting up number 3PM. He had the machine rolling at about 50 meters/min for warm-up and made his inspection rounds to make sure that everything was OK.
Knut remembers, "I had some sort of a feeling that there was something funny about number 3 that night, but I couldn't put my finger on what it was. I continued to sneak around, trying to figure it out. I checked with the backtender but he hadn't seen anything abnormal."
As time dragged on, the machine got warmed up. The man in the beater-room told the machine-tender that everything was OK. The machine-tender asked the beater man if he had seen anything "fishy" and he replied, "Everything is normal and you should be ready to roll."
PM3 was brought up to 200 m/min and one final inspection was made.
Just as he was preparing to let stock out on the wire, it dawned on Knut, the whole damned machine was reversed !!!
How could that happen? As it turned out, the maintenance people had been working on the steam-engine that powered the long overhead shaft for the main-drive of number 3. On re-assembly, the steam-engine's inlet and outlet pipes had been reversed so that the steam-engine rotated backwards. The fault was corrected within an hour or so and since then the no. 3 has never reversed.
When Knut told Øyvind Haugen this story, Øyvind knowing that Knut loves a good joke, wanted confirmation.
He made a quick phone call to Mr. Kolbjørn Gulliksen who was resident manager at the mill through the 1950's. Kolbjørn, a relaxed and friendly guy, now 86, told him that he had heard of the episode. Recalling, that it took place in the time of the steam engine, he placed the event sometime in late 1953 or early 1954 because during the second half of fifty-four the drive lines had all been rebuilt from steam to electric power.
Kolbjorn said, "Oh, yes, it's true and when you see Knut tell him hello. I haven't seen him since I visited you fellows at the mill a couple of years ago."
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