MEN IN INDUSTRY
PETE, 67, STILL GOING STRONG
by Bill de Lancey
How many years can a man work hard and effectively?
Peter "Pete" Thompson doesn't know. This genial workman has been following the rugged trade of a moulder at the U.S. Radiator Co. for only 51 years, and is going strong. His uncle Pete Anderson gave up the same job when he was 82. Pete Thompson is only 67.
"I can truthfully say my health is excellent, " reports Pete, squaring the shoulders of his 146-pound frame. "Sometimes, though, I'm bothered by a strain I gave my back a couple of years ago." This reporter detected so much hair around the fringes of the cap Pete was wearing that he begged for a better look. Pete whipped off the headgear, exposing an amazing mop of nearly red hair. Blue eyes and a wide smile are characteristics. The smile --- size triple E --- gives proof of the really friendly nature of this artist with the moulding tools. His buddies say he doesn't change that way, that he is always ready with a cheerful word if there is half a chance to drop one.
Pete Thompson made frequent mention of his uncle, Pete Anderson, who got him the job in 1902. That was when the present plant was known as the Herendeen Manufacturing Co. The boy, just turned 17, started as a ladle liner in cupola. Then he learned the moulding trade, in an apprenticeship lasting 18 months. Next came finishing moulds on the moulding machine, until, after two years, Pete Thompson was given a moulding floor, and was on his own.
"I started with piece work," he relates. "For my first week's working 10 hours, six days, I drew $19.50. And that was $10.00 more than pay my father earned." Not only his father, but three brothers, Frank, Carl and Charles, were employed in the same plant. "I've been here ever since, working at everything in the foundry except plate work."
Born in Yates County
Born in Milo, in Yates county, in 1886, Pete moved from Penn Yan to Syracuse when he was 14. For a year he worked in a hitching shed, then came to Geneva. There were brief jobs at Vance Boiler Works and Dove's Brick Yard before he decided to settle down and learn a trade. That's when Uncle Pete Anderson came into the picture. Uncle Pete then did all the special and fancy moulding work at the foundry.
Young Pete Thompson, next in line, took over where his uncle left off. He, himself, has trained 10 or 15 younger men in the past three years. For five or six years he was a foreman, but he doesn't care for that angle of the work.
Pete owns his own home at 31 Oak St. He and his wife have lived there for many years. He has two children of his own, Mrs. Clayton Bisch, Waterloo, and a son, Charles, Geneva; and three stepdaughters, all married.
Likes to Paint
Care of his house and grounds is Pete's primary hobby. Next to that he'll take fishing. "I have no car," he says. "So I've converted the garage into a workshop. There I'm more likely to turn out picket fences than anything. I love to paint, and I spend lots of time around the house and yard, cleaning up.
"My boat and motor need fixing up for the season. If my work around the yard is pretty well caught up, I go fishing, and forget everything else."
Two tricks in Company B, both of them prior to the Border incidents and the wars, were served by this moulder, one of the few remaining of the old school. Pete is a member of the Methodist Church.
His uncle Pete Anderson still comes around for a visit at the U.S. Radiator plant, and looks in on the moulding floor. He had been in just the day before our interview. "My uncle Pete is proud of his record," says "young" Pete. "When he quit here, we had between us worked 99 years for the company."
[This article was accompanied by a large photo Peter with the
underneath.....Peter Thompson, An Artist With Moulding Tools ]
This article was donated by Linda Thompson.
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