Horizontal entrance into mine, sometimes called a day level, its main purpose
being to drain water from the workings.
A deposit of sand, mud, tin stone etc., formed by flowing water.
This term normally refers to oxide of arsenic and may be crude arsenic or
arsenic soot (impure) or refined or white arsenic (99% pure As2O3).
AUGER or Archimedean Screw
Device For propelling thick slurry along or up a conduit.
Counterpoise to take part of the weight ofthe pump rod in a shaft.
Device for reducing ore to small particles.
Barium sulphate, BaSO4, principal barium ore.
Set of stamps which could comprise as few as two individual stamps to as
many as 64 or more.
See Rocker Bob.
See Cornish Pump.
See Ore Bin.
Oxide of tin, SnO2, the end product of the orc-dressing
processes in a tin mine.
See Rocker Bob.
Usually either Cornish (horizontal with single fire tube extending along its
length) or Lancashire (two parallel fire tubes side by side).
A small shaft furnace similar to a limekiln, used for arsenic burning
in the early days of the industry. Such a furnace existed at Devon
Great Consols but is something of an enigma as it was built as
recently as 1924 and its flue leads directly into the main flue to
the stack without going through the arsenic-condensing chambers.
Low partition between fire and hearth in reverberatory furnace.
Tramroad rails whose section resembled an inverted letter U with exaggerated
Simple circular and square buddles used for separating tin ore from waste.
In a circular concave buddle the pulped ore was fed in at the
circumference and flowed inwards towards the centre.
Old term for building where ore was calcined or “burnt”. See
also under Calciner.
CAGE or SKIP
Box-like container which could be raised or lowered in shaft to convey men,
ore, etc. Usually ran in guides termed cage (or skip) roads.
A furnace in which ore was roasted either to drive off unwanted
constituents or to sublimate them for separate recovery or to render
the ore more amenable to subsequent processes. Could be an ordinary
reverberatory furnace or a Brunton calciner. The latter type had a
slowly revolving circular bed played on by flames from peripheral
furnaces. Ore was fed onto the centre and automatically raked
towards the circumference as calcining proceeded until it fell into a
cooling chamber below. Other varieties existed. See also Bottle
Mine superintendent or manager.
Tin dioxide, SnO2, the principal tin ore.
See Condensing Chambers.
Final stage in the concentrating of tin ore.
Device for sizing very small ore-particles in which pulped ore was fed into
the top of a downward-pointing cone against an upward-flowing current
of water, fine particles being carried up and overflowing from the
top of the cone, coarser particles overcoming the current and falling
to the bottom where they could be drawn off through a spigot.
See Shaft Collar.
Ore which has been freed of waste.
CONCENTRATING TABLE or SHAKING TABLE
Usually a rectangular table about 16 feet long and 6 feet Wide given a
special vibrating motion which caused particles on it to progress
along its length while a stream of water tended to wash them across
the table. But along its length were many low parallel strips or
riffles of diminishing heights over which the lighter material was
washed while the heavier particles stayed between the riffles to
reach the end of the table. Many varieties existed under various
trade names - Wilfley, James, Record etc.
A labyrinth of connecting compartments in a flue in which arsenical
vapour was condensed into either crude or refined arsenic.
Abbreviation of “Consolidated” and a common suffix to mine names,
intended to inspire confidence in prospective investors.
Many varieties exist but the most common locally was Copper Pyrites, a
sulphide of copper and iron, CuFeS2.
Achieved by leading copper-impregnated mine water over scrap iron on which
metallic copper was deposited for subsequent recovery.
Typically a single-cylinder steam engine with its piston rod pointing upwards
and connected to one end of a pivotted beam, the other end of which
could be connected to pump rods in a shaft if a rise and fall motion
was required or to a crank if rotary motion was called for. Cylinders
could be of enormous size - up to 90 inches or more in diameter while
steam pressure was low by modern standards - usually round about 40
p.s.i. See also Parallel Motion.
CORNISH PUMP or Beam Pump
A simple force-pump sited at shaft bottom and connected to a power
source at surface by a vertical rod, water being forced up to the
surface or to adit level through a rising main or “pump
column”. See also Cornish Engine and Balance Box.
A packed meal eaten at the mine.
A vein, usually non-metalliferous, making an obtuse angle with adjacent
A level driven at an obtuse angle to the lode(s) in a mine.
Or Jaw-crusher or Rock Breaker. Device as commonly used in quarries for
reducing relatively large pieces of ore to roadstone size.
A mixture of anthracite and coke used for firing calciners.
A covered leat.
Modern equivalent of a cone-type classifier, involving a swirling motion of
See Raft Wheel.
Areas where ore was treated.
A horizontal tunnel, the excavating of such a tunnel being referred to
Miners' changing house with facilities for drying wet clothing.
For drying ore, as opposed to calcining it.
See Raft Wheel.
Those that are derived by in situ weathering or weathering plus gravitational movement or accumulation.
The end of a drive or crosscut.
Unit used in mines. 1 fathom equals 6 feet.
Horizontal wood or metal rods for transmitting power a distance by means of a
See Dressing Floors.
FLOTATION or Froth Flotation
A modern method of ore-separation which relies on the fact that if air
bubbles are introduced into a mixture of water and pulped ore some
minerals will adhere to the bubbles and be carried up to the surface
while others will not and will therefore sink to the bottom.
Access openings in flues, especially arsenic flues.
Ladders leading down a shaft, or may imply the shaft itself.
A reference to pumping, i.e. “Forked to bottom” meaning all
water pumped out of the mine.
Machine for pulling tramwagons up an incline.
A fairly modern ore-separating device consisting of a wide rubber belt
stretched between two slowly-revolving rollers, the upper surface
moving in a slightly uphill direction with a stream of water flowing
down it. Pulped material was fed onto the belt, heavier ore particles
surviving the flow of water to reach the top, lighter waste being
washed to the bottom. Fell into disuse mainly due to limited
Lead sulphide, PbS, and the principal lead ore. Usually contained a small
proportion of silver, when it was termed silver-lead.
Non-metallic waste rock accompanying the ore in a lode.
Simple headgear over a shaft.
Simple device for sizing rough ore, consisting of a sloping grill of iron
bars onto which the ore was tipped, pieces which failed to fall
through being passed to a rock-breaker for further reduction.
Rotted and decomposed granite
An oxide of iron, Fe2O3, a commonly worked iron ore.
A small reservoir at the point where water from a leat was passed into
a pipeline leading down to a turbine or pelton wheel, built to
prevent air getting into the pipeline and to intercept sand, gravel
and other debris.
Timber or steel frame over shaft carrying pulleys for winding ropes.
The richer product from an ore-dressing device, as opposed to the poorer
product, the “tails” or “tailings”.
A short flue between a calciner and arsenic condensing chambers, too
hot for deposition of arsenic but in which flue dust was intercepted.
A type of rotary pulveriser in which rollers were spun round against an
outer casing by centrifugal force, crushing any ore within the
Sloping tramway, usually cable-operated.
A shaft sunk at a relatively flat angle, with a tramroad leading down
JIGGER or Jig or Jig Washer
Device in which gravel-sized material was formerly shaken up and down in a
sieve under water, heavy ore forming a layer at the bottom with
lighter waste above it. In later versions the sieve stayed still
while the water pulsated up and down and the device was also made to
Barrel-shaped iron bucket for hoisting ore up shaft.
Wooden tub, sometimes called a chimming kievc, used in final stage of tin
Mechanical hammers for striking chimming kieves to aid settlement of
See Slime Pond.
Receiving kibbles of ore at the shaft head.
Open wooden conduit for taking water to a waterwheel or carrying
pulverised ore in suspension from one ore-dressing device to another.
Open watercourse for conducting water across country from river to
Horizontal tunnel in mine not extending to the open air.
Masonry or concrete support for a heavy machine, e. g. a set of stamps.
A vein containing a proportion of mineral ore which had to be freed
from the waste rock accompanying it.
Electrical device for separating magnetic from non-magnetic ore.
General term for building housing stamps, ore-dressing machinery, etc.
Arsenical iron pyrites, FeAsS, the principal arsenic ore in the district.
Powerful jet of water for washing out alluvial ore.
Iron Pyrites, or iron sulphide, FeS2. was vapourised in a “vapour chamber" before being ignited in
A quarry-like excavation along the line of a lode.
A large container for stockpiling ore prior to feeding it to the
Processing ore to separate it from the waste rock accompanying it.
The line where a lode reaches the surface of the ground.
An early chemical process for separating tin ore from tungsten ore,
which were both heavy minerals not readily dealt with by normal
An ingenious arrangement for connecting the top of the piston rod of a
Cornish pumping engine (which moved up and down in a straight line)
with the inner end of the pump beam (which moved in an arc of a
power source consisting of a wheel with cups round its circumference
acted on by a powerful jet of water issuing from a nozzle. Needed a
head of water of 100 feet or more and speed of wheel could exceed 500
PICKING HOUSE or - shed or - floor
Place where ore was sorted by hand.
Store for explosives usually sited some distance from mine buildings, etc.
Made by passing air and steam over a bed of glowing coal or other
combustible matter to produce carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The air
and steam were drawn through the producer by the induction strokes of
the gas engine, hence the alternative term “suction gas”.
A trial excavation dug with a view to starting up a mine.
PULP or pulped ore
Pulverised ore usually carried along by running water from one ore-dressing
device to another.
Rudimentary steam device for pumping from very shallow mines merely consisting of
two chambers, two non-return valves and a differential valve.
PULVERISER or Grinder
Machine, of which many varieties existed, for reducing ore to a finely
Large iron pipe, consisting of individual sections bolted one to another
for conveying water up a shaft to surface or to adit level.
Wooden or metal rod connected to a power source at surface down to a pump in
the shaft. See also Balance Box.
Manganese dioxide, MnO2, principal manganese ore in the district.
Stirring ore being roasted in a furnace.
RACK FRAME or Ragging Frame
A development of the square buddle which was continuous-acting so could
RAFT WHEEL or Dipper Wheel or Elevator
Sometimes spelt Raff. In effect a waterwheel in reverse, which if turned by
mechanical means would raise up waterborne pulped ore so that it
could be put through the ore-dressing processes a second time.
A simple furnace in which crude arsenic, or “arsenic soot”
was roasted again, fumes from which were condensed to produce pure
Burnt residue from roasting ore in calciner or other furnace.
ROCKER BOB or Rocker Beam or Bob or Beam
Massive pivotted beam connected at one end to a power source, e.g. piston rod
of a steam engine and at the other to a line of pump rods in a shaft,
or to a crank if rotary motion was required.
ROLLS or Cornish Rolls
Parallel revolving rollers between which ore was crushed when fine crushing
was not needed.
A development of the circular buddle in which the bed itself revolved,
pulp being fed onto it at one point, waste was washed off at a second
point and concentrated ore at a third point, so that it was
Perforated metal or woven wire sieve, either vibrating rectangular or revolving
cylindrical, for sizing ore fragments.
The area of ground owned or leased by a mine.
SETTLING PIT or Settling Tank
Tank, usually rectangular and of concrete, where waterborne ore could
settle and be dug out after the water accompanying it had been
More or less vertical entrance to a mine. Could be for pumping from
(usually termed Engine Shaft), for hoisting from (sometimes termed a
Whim Shaft), for access by ladders (termed Footway Shaft), or for
Timber or masonry structure round top of shaft to prevent loose ground
See Concentrating Table.
Timber structure at shaft head carrying a pulley, used for raising or
lowering heavy equipment in the shaft.
SLIME POND or Lagoon.
Pond where waste slime could be settled rather than be carried into
Round Frame or Concentrating Table designed to deal specifically with
Ore so finely divided as to be difficult to recover completely.
SLUICE BOX or Strip
Long wooden launder with low crosspieces placed at intervals along the
bottom ofit. Ore and waste was allowed to flow along it in
suspension, heavy particles tending to settle against the crosspieces
while water and lighter material flowed over them.
Wooden platform in or over a shaft. When mines were abandoned shafts were
sometimes “sollared over” and the sollar covered with
rubble, making such sites dangerous today with the rotting of the
sollars with consequent risk of collapse into the shaft.
Breaking up large pieces of ore with sledge hammers.
See Wash Tower.
Devices for crushing lode material to the consistency of sand as a first step
towards separating mineral ore from waste rock. Various types existed
(Cornish, Californian, Holman's Pneumatic, etc.) the simplest form
amounting to vertical stems or “lifters” with their lower
ends heavily shod with iron, each being alternately lifted by pegs on
a revolving drum and allowed to drop on material in a mortar box.
Excavation of ore underground was referred to as stoping and the place where it
was carried out as a stope. Removing ore from the roof of the stope
was referred to as overhand or back stoping while taking it from the
floor (the less usual method) as underhand stoping.
See Sluice Box.
Working platform or staging erected to facilitate access to the upper part of
See Concentrating Table.
Leat or conduit taking water away from a waterwheel, etc.
TAILINGS or Tails
The poorer product from an ore-dressing device, as opposed to the richer
product, the “Heads”.
See Dressing Floors.
TRAMROAD or Tramway
Narrow gauge mine railway, either above or below ground.
Revolving sieve for sizing ore fragments.
See Producer Gas.
TURBINE or Water Turbine
Power source in which a flow of water was used to turn an enclosed spindle
to which vanes were attached. Could be designed to work from a head
of water of only a foot or so up to several hundred feet at rotor
speeds of about 40 r.p.m. upwards.
TURNBOB or Angle Bob
Arrangement for changing the direction of flat rods or pump rods, resembling a
large bell crank.
Earthy brown ore containing iron and manganese and used for paint
See Frue Vanner.
A special shovel with a rather broad flat blade used by prospectors or
as a ready means of checking the products of ore-dressing appliances.
Water and crushed material are put on the blade which is then given a
combined jerking and swirling motion which causes the heavier
particles to separate out from the waste.
A chamber between the end of an arsenic flue and the stack containing
blocks of limestone kept wet by water from a sprinkler and intended
to reduce the emission of noxious gases from the stack.
Common source of power, in use in almost every traditional mine and usually
of the “overshot” variety, water being fed to the upper
part of the wheel, its weight in the “buckets” causing
the wheel to revolve. Speed of rotation slow - up to 15 r.p.m. for
small wheels down to only 4 r.p.m. or so in the biggest. Made in all
sizes, up to 50 or more feet in diameter.
Prefix meaning mine which in earlier days was spelt Huel.
Masonry pit in which a waterwheel was sited.
WHIM or Hoist or Winder
Machine for hoisting from a shaft, Whim being the older term, driven by any
convenient power source, and usually provided with an indicator so
that the engineman could be kept aware of the position of the cage in
Vertical shaft within a mine, but not extending to surface.
Tungsten ore, tungstate of iron and manganese, (Fe,Mn)WO4, the chief source of
tungsten in the district.