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DISTRICT COURT, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2466, 16 July 1890
ASHBURTON—TUESDAY. [Before His Honor Judge Ward.] PATEESON V. M7BLOW. , For this case a jury of four was empanelled, via.—Edwin Horsey, Patrick Devane, James Osborne, and George Pocock. Mr Wilding, with him. Mr Caygill, appeared for plaintiff, and Mr Purnell for defendant. R. Brimmer was at the strippers on the day when Paterson had his ariri broken. He attributed the coming off of the belt to its narrowness. It whs not more than , two to two and a half inches wide. The shaft would revolve more rapidly after the belt came off. When it did come off Mr Lublow went to try to pub it on. He failed, and witness tried. Then Lublow beckoned to Paterson to come. Paterson went to'try to adjust the belt, and witness went to feed Paterson's stripper. This he found choked,; and on looking to'see what was the matter, he saw Paterison under the shaft, they shaft still revolving very rapidly, and the bight of the belt going round with it;, coming at every turn within two feet of Paterson's head. Paterson was in great danger, arid Lublbw, out of danger, was standing looking on laughing. Seized Lublow by the shoulder, and shouted to him to go and take the water off. He wenty and - witness ran under the shaft and held Paterson down lest he should rise up and get caught in the bight of the belt. Paterson' was> senseless, and had he risen on coming round he would have been, caught by the belt arid killed. Paterson was removed and attended to.' On the 26thi witness, Bax, and Pye went on with .the flax cutting contract, and cut up to the end of the month, when they stopped. Worked three days-^three men—at the rate of two tons per day per man. Left then, and did not cut any flax for Lublow, only for Paterson. Lublow did not cart away the flax as it was cut; he began carting a day or two after cutting began. He took away only one load then, and a load now and. again—from the Ist to the 26th, eleven loads in all. There would be from a ton and a-half to a ton and threequarters in a load, in from 42, to-48 bundles of flax. The first load taken away was over dry tussock ground, and there were two horses in the team. The shaft was broken in the attempt to move the load, and Lublow said he reckoned there were two tons on the cart. Assisted Patersori to weigh twenty bundles, averaging 851bs each. There were over 900 bundles cut in all, and some bundles put in the water; to save getting, spoiled by the sun, were carried away by a freshet, The flax was put in the river by Lublow's orders. Some of the flax, lay out cut from the Ist to the 26th, and in the sun would lose weight very materially. Reckoned that about three tons went down the river. ■; ; By Mr Purnell: In the examination before the RiM. did not remember anything being said about the flax going down the river. Was not asked indeed. Had had t^hree or four month's experience in flax cutting before going to Lublow's. Could riot speak for the experience of the others. Was not a partner .with Paterson. Knocked off cutting on the last of the month because Paterson and Lublow could not settle. It was Paterson who said there was a.difficulty in settling, i George Pye was working along with Paterson on the flax cutting contract. Began on the 2nd of April and ceased on the sth. Could not say what weight was cut per day, bufc roughly reckoned three tons each. Was working inside the mill on. the 18fch,, when Paterson met with Iris accident. Was abditt a couple of' feet off. Paterson had been at the stripper, but came away from there and got caught jby the loop or the belt. The noise of the | stripper prevented' any words from being heard. Lublow tried to get the belt j off the shaft and faildd*' iarid> Pst;ef#on came along. Could not hear any words spoljten and could not', say that Lublow asked Paterson, to touch the belt. Patereon seemed ib be looking on to see which Was the best way to act with the belt, when he was caught. Brimmer ran to Help , Pafcereon, and Lublow looked on with his hands in his pockets smiling. Worked at cutting and loading together for five, days under Paterson's instructions, with Brimmer in charge. After being done with Paterson went on with Bax, ( #ho was working for Lubldw on the. same flax that was in Paterson's contract." ' i : Cross-examined' % Mr Purnell— Stopped cutting at the end of April on : his own account. Worked a month.with Ted Bax, and" there were four in all working—two to begin with, and four at the finish., Did not know what work had [ been, done, nor what had been earned* as he had not reckoned up with his mates. The work was interrupted by wet weather. When the accident happened in the mill, there were two loops of belt flying round from 2ft to 3ft. ■ .: ; John Moore Tweed gave medical evidence as to the injtuy received by Paterson—both bones of the fore arm were fractured. Paterson was six or seven days incapacitated by the accident. Edward Bax worked all the time at the cutting. About two tons per day per man were cut, and about 20 loads were carted, averaging 30 cwt. per load. About three tons went down the river, the flax having been put there by Lublow's orders. Witness corroborated plaintiff's evidence as to Lublow beckoning to Paterson to come and help with the belt, and generally previous evidence as to the accident. . . •■ Cross-examined by Mr Purnell—Went to Lublow about going on with the cutting after the end of April, because Paterson had come and told them not to go on with the Cutting just at present. Went on; to cut for:, Lublow at 4s 3d per ton. Employetl Pye, who was with him all the time. Took on another hand about a fortnight after, who had had some experience, and a lad. The four, worked about a fortnight together. Had sdme bad weather. Chucked up'the job because it would riot pay. Work was interrupted by bad weather, and sometimes there was a man away at something else. Re-examined by Mr Wilding — The weights given in the account on which a settlement was arrived at were supplied by Mr Lublow. When working for Paterson the days were long and fine, when for Lublow they were short arid broken by bad weather. Was quite sure two tons per day were cut per man for Patersori. Alexander Rugg was in Lublow's shop on the Ist of May with Paterson. Lublow offered to pay for twelve tons, but Paterson would not have it, arid Lublow ordered him off the premises, and said he. wpuld, have nothing more to' do with him. Herbert Gifford More, flax-miller, said that in his mill it was instant dismissal to anyone going near the' shafts when in motion. The ordinary width of belts ,for the feed rolls was 3 inches and over ; the result of the use of narrower belts' would be an occasiorial slip off. In witness's mill there "were arms used,, so that the complication of the belt getting round the shaft was impossible. The arms were suggested by the Inspector of Machinery. G. T. Booth, engineer and implement maker,: Carlisle Works, Christchureh', s>id that water power ought to be just as much under control as steam power. If a Belt got tangled round a shaft as it did in this case, it was improper to try to right it while the, machinery was iv motion. With loose belt ends flying through the air at half-a-mile a minute, ariy attempt to catch the belt would be very risky. Many me.n about flax mills knew nothing of the danger. A belt narrower than three inches, for flax feed rolls, would be more likely to slip off than a three-inch belt. . This was the: jjag© for the plaintiff, and
Mr Purnell opened the case for the defence afc con* HeraMe length and called, G. J. F. Lublinv, proprietor of the flax mills in question, Baid he pointed out the flax land Paterson was to cut. Paterson did not cut the flax properly, severing the blade too high above the butt, and leaving much fibre still standing. The lower part of the blade is the best. The contract was to cut all the flax measuring four feet high, but Paterson left a large portion, some of it seven feet high still standing. The bundles were also badly tied. Told Paterson about these defects, and he said he would go over the uncut ground again. He did not do so,! By this, and the cutting too high, witness had suffered loss. The men employed were new to the work. The machinery was all new, with the exception of tlie strippers. Shortly after the cutting began, the machinery required adjusting, and witness told Paterson there was no use going on cutting until the mill was ready. Paterson said he would go on with a piece at the top of the run, but made no objection to the stoppage. If he had done so witness would have allowed them to go on; Graye 1 hB men some work at the mill during the stoppage ,of the cutting. Qa. the 18tK April witness was merely trying the machinery. On the Ist May Pateraon came to witness at Westerfield and asked for a settlement. Replied that he had riot weighed all the green flax, but seven tons of flax went to one ton of fibre, and he would weigh the fibre. This was giving Paterson a slight advantage. Paterson said he would come to the shop. He did do so, and said he had : cut twenty tons. Witness said he knew well enough this was not soj and that-, ev|n if he had cut that quantity there would not be much cdmirigrtb him. iSaid to him that about twelve or thirteen tons would represent the cutting, and that he would pay for the work done and no more. Paterson went to Henry Zander and brought back a slip of paper with £3 5s 9d marked on it,. Declined to accept this as a proper account. Paterson said he wanted a squaring up, and witness asked what he wanted. Paterson said he would summons witness, who replied ''summons away." Witness's scales were in Christchurch getting repairs, so that the flax could not be weighed. Paterson "knocked off the contract; of his own accord, and could have gone on working if he had liked, as witness had nothing to gain by the stoppage. The contract was • profitable one to witness. Bax came to witness about re-letting the cutting, and witness gave him the work on the same terms as Paterson. The weights on which he settled with Bax were supplied by witness's man. Bax and his men cut; about half a toil a day each . To 1 ascertain the work in Paterson's contract the stripped fibre was weighed. No other flax had been cut, and no fibre sent away from the mill. The fibre weighed" 27«wt, and with some green flax that was added on to the total, witness' reckoned the quantity at thirteen tons. The biggest part of the flax had'been cut since, and it had reached only about seventy tons, and about twenty tons still remained to cut. On the 15th April did not askPaterson and his men to come and work at the mill. Had ho need for their services at the mill. Paterson was a " cantankerous customer," and witness would not have him,there at any rate. But the mill had been stopped for adjustment, and; on reluming Paterson was to go on with his cutting. Did not pretend to manage; the mill, having no time. The belt by which Paterson got his arm* injured was a new and strong belt. The machinery was put, up by Kil worth, an experienced machinist, and witness had engaged Bloomfield, an experienced flax miller, to work the mill, but on the 18th he had not arrived. The Court adjourned at this point till 10.30 a.m. to-day. The Court resumed at 10.30 this morning, when G. J. F. Lublow was called, but did not appear immediately. T. E. Kilworth said he was an experienced engineer. He knew the machinery in Lublow's flax mill, having been empioyecTiii March last tioierect it. The strippers were not new, but the shafting was. The strippers were in good order, and the belts new. The water was controlled by menus of a floodgate, regulated by a wheel" at the gates. • The wheel was very easily moved, and was three feet away from No. 1 stripper, six feet' from J^o. 2, and nine feet from No. 3.. The machinery was not more dangerous than machinery usually is. Was at the mill the day before the accident adjusting the machinery.: Saw Paterson attempting to disentangle a belt; trying to^overtake the speed of the shaft by unwinding the. belt faster than the shaft was running. Told Paterson of the danger of such conduct. The machinery should be stopped when a thing like that had to be done. Had not sufficient experience in working strippers ■to say whether the belts were wide enough. Cross-examined by Mr Wilding—All high speed machinery .is , dangerous. Could not say whether the strippers were one-blade or two-blade. . Paterson succeeded in unwinding the belt on the occasion witness saw him. . ,• *~ Re-examined by Mr Purnell|-The machinery is; simple, and, any man of ordinary intelligence could run it safely if he took care.'; .' , t ' ;'.' ,V j,\, tiJ ■ Examination of G. «T. F.ljublow;'continued— Got to the mill on, the f morning of the 18th at about eight b'cldM. His object in going so early was to replace the wheel for shutting off the water, which Paterson had broken the prlvjoife/day. When witness arrived he found Paterson there, meddling with the belts. BMhad no business there, but not caring to quarrel with him did not order him out. After fixing the wheel, turned, on the water to see how it would act. As , soon as the water was on Paterson and Brimmer started "like a lot of kids feeding in flax to the machine." Paterson went to the middle stripper and Brimmer to. No. 1. Brimmer had no business there' <(iilher. The strippers are " one-blade at a time " machines, and Brimmer blocked the feed rollers, and threw off the belt so that he could clear the rollers. The belt got entangled as has already been described. The shaft was going at 190 revolutions per minute. Brimmer went to the belt, put his hand on it, and tried to push it off. Failing in this he left. it. Witness went up to the belt, but'feffc'ft to go to the water wheel to stop the machinery. Paterson meanwhile beckoned to Brimmer to come and take charge'of the stripper, and went himself to the belfe, !and trita to push it off. Failing in this he tried to disentangle it. The next, things witness saw was Paterson lying under J;hje jjhaf t. Did not laugh at the accident. Wlgen Paterson came to himself, he said he blamed nobody for the accident. Got some tilings for the injured arm, and sent him into town, getting a horse and buggy for the purpose. The water wheel was so thoroughly under control that it opuld be made to turn a sewing machine. /The Government Inspector had been notified some five or six weeks ago. The machinery was not in working order until after the accident. Had engaged'an expert' machinist—Bloomfield—to f ruff the mill; but he had not arrived at the time af the accident. Never told Paterson to put any flax in the river. : IT ■ Cross-examined by Mr Wilding: Was i flour-miller as well" s,nd a tailor. Was iwarothat. it was incumbent cm him to bell the Government Inspector of his intention to run machinery. It was after the accident that he sent the notification ho tho Inspector. Had not reported the accident to the Inspector, and wa» not * ware that it was imperative an accident should he reported within twenty-four hours after its occurre'xeo. Botight^the flax on the Westerfield estate' from Mr Hawdon, and gave him £80 forit,w<Jkgni
ing there was 100 tons of flax. Had cut very nearly the wltole of it. Believed he could cut as much flax per day as any of the men on the contract, but could not; cut two tons per day. / From the Sth to the 25th the men on the contract were pleasure seeking, with the exception of two whom he employed at the mill. Did not employ Paterson because hia disposition was disagreeable—his nature was quarrelsome. Had no recollection of saying to ] Paterson he would make the wages of the men all right for the stoppage. Part of the flax was weighed green, and part after it went through the mill. The fibre had not been weighed when Paterson came for his money on the Ist May. Did get a little angry after Paterson kept annoying him, but could not recollect haying used the bad language attributed to him. Had •not stopped Paterson from carrying out his contract, and had not refused to nXinw him to go on. In consequence had nut deemed it necessary to reply to the lawyer's letter sent to him in Paterson's interest. Denied haying employed the men to work in the mill before the accident, but gave them work afterwards, and on the occasion of the accident the men took their several places without any orders from him. The men were all in an "amalgamation" against him. There was no " dummy" pully on his machinery, nor upon any flax machinery in the province. William Bloomfield^ manager of the flax mill, had been working among flax . for twenty years. Took charge of the mill on the 29th of April. The stripper was not properly adjusted, but generally the machinery was all right. The belts were right enough for one blade feeding, but were too narrow for two or three blade feeding. The machinery was just the ordinary flax machinery, and there was no more danger there than in any other mills. The flax on the cutting contract had been cut a little bit too high and some of it had been left uncut. Four shillings and threepence per ton was the lowest price he had ever heard of. Seven tons of green flax would produce one ton of fibre. Cross-examined by Mr Wilding: When witness took charge, he had broad belts substituted for the narrow ones. Was not on the flax ground before the 29th. John Watts, employed at the mill, weighed the fibre, the green flax of which Paterson had cut. It weighed 27cwt. 2qr. 91bs. The green flax that had not been stripped weighed 4 tons 13| cwt. Was present when Lublow asked Paterson if he had any objection to knocking off cutting while the machine was adjusted. Paterson had no objection. There was no arrangement about paying wages. The belts worked well enough with witness. By Mr Wilding : The loads of flax that came in never weighed as much as two tons. Brimmer was working on the 18th under witness's instructions, but the others were not. After Mr Purnell had called plaintiff as to a second injury received to his arm, Mr Purnell addressed the Jury at great length, his speech lasting till one o'clock, at which hour the Court adjourned for fin hour.
DISTRICT COURT, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2466, 16 July 1890
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