All of us were playing a big game of tug-of-war but no one would admit it. It may have been a question of strategy for some of us, at least in the beginning, but I think it’s likelier because people were feeling a little ashamed of themselves. We happened to be at Sloss Furnaces, the only pig-iron blast furnace site ever converted into a National Historic Landmark, at least as far as I’m aware. I think some of us were ashamed. Nobody was looking at anybody else. I didn’t see anyone look at anybody else, although I didn’t look at anybody else too long because nobody else was looking at people, so it’s possible I was mistaken on that front, too. It seemed like people were looking mostly up at the two Whitwell-type furnaces, which are nearly twenty meters tall and include ten boilers each, plus two additional blowing engines. We were there during operating hours, sometime between Tuesday and Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm. Some of us were looking at our shoes, and I thought I saw Rahul take his phone out of his pocket at one point, but mostly everyone was just looking around at the furnaces, the water tower, the Cowper stove regenerative heat-exchanger system, the administrative offices, the 16,000-square-foot Visitors’ and Education Center at the southwest corner of the site, and the static dewatering silos in the slag granulation complex.
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