The year was 1895 and immigration to the United States was becoming more and more popular by the second. Europeans had the idea that America was the land of opportunity and the streets were paved with gold. Filled with optimism, they had no clue what was coming to them. Thomas Bell's Out Of This Furnace portrays what it was like for Slovaks new to the country, as well as displays the experiences of people who had been born in America with Slovakian descent. After reading the novel, one can argue that as time went by, immigrants and unskilled workers of European descent were able to gradually gain more control in the government, leading to great reform in the workplace. Bell does this through the eyes of three males the oldest being Djuro Kratcha, followed by Mike Dobrejak, and Johnny Dobrejak (Dobie).
Kratcha came to America in 1895 and later worked in a local steel mill in Braddock, Pennsylvania when he got a first hand look at the dangers that occurred every single day inside the mills when his best friend Joe Dubik died on the job. "The explosion blew out the top of the furnace. Three men were killed instantly and eleven injured, three of them fatally." This was very common at the time, however the plant owners did not care much for the health of these workers in the least bit. Once a businessman saw the cash flow from an efficiently managed factory, the goal then was to make more and more, faster and faster. Then, after the profits rolled in and they saw how much money they could make. The goal then was to make more than what was previously made, even faster than before. The fact that workers were human with feelings and needs, was of little importance when time became a precious element in production. Time became money and the owners didn't care who was working as long as there were bodies who were doing their job. Most of the immigrants had to have an income to survive and take care of their families, so when business owners demanded more hours for less pay, they often had no choice sometimes but to accept what they were given without complaint.