Amos Potter

by kfrego

Amos Potter was one of our neighbors in Hinsdale, NH. Amos worked for a company named Chicago Bridge and Iron. (CB&I)  During the 1960’s and 1970’s CB&I was the one of the best structural and steel fabrication construction companies in the United States. They were known for quality work, innovative methods, and successful completion of their projects. Amos was a quality assurance engineer with CB&I.

CB&I had the contract at Bear Swamp for the major steel fabrication and installation for the powerhouse tunnel steel liners and the steel draft tubes. Each welder working on site had to take a welding test for efficiency and quality. The tests were normally done in the work areas. My crew worked tunnel forms, drilled form anchors, and placed concrete in the power tunnel, bifurcations, and upper portion of the penstock tunnels. CB&I crews were installing steel liners in the penstock tunnels just before the powerhouse. The confined work areas caused a lot of coordination between my crews and the CB&I crews. Amos brought a welder into the penstock for his welding test. The welder was given two 6 inch by 12 inch pieces of one inch thick plate to weld together. The two plates when welded were called the welders coupon. After x-ray and manual examination the coupon would be stored for proof of certification by Amos. The welder finished the coupon and sat it on a ledge of rock out of the work area to cool.

My crew was busy setting anchors to hoist large wood forms into place for the carpenters. The anchors required large steel plates. The crew ran out of plates and sent a new laborer down the tunnel to find more. If no plates were available the crew would find scrap pieces of plate metal and torch cut more plates out of the scrap. A few hours later I noticed Amos looking around as if he had lost something. He couldn’t find the welders coupon. The welder was gone, but the coupon should have been on the ledge. We walked up the tunnel together checking nooks and crannies for the coupon. Suddenly Amos stopped, his eyes got big, and he pointed at one of the new form anchors. The welders coupon had a two inch hole torched in the middle and was mounted on the anchor. Amos was so mad he was shaking as I climbed the staging and removed the coupon. He never said a word, just took the coupon and left.

Two weeks later I looked out our kitchen window at home and nearly died. Our Old English Sheep Dog was in Amos’ side yard pulling the freshly laundered clothes off the clothes line. He would yank a piece of clothing off the line, shake it around playfully on the wet slushy grass, and go get another one. Once the dog was locked in the yard at home I had to go gather up the clothes and knock on their door. His wife shook it off with a laugh.

Poor Amos had to tolerate my crew at work……and my dog at home.