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Mine Exploration Forum

Author Nineteenth-century Transport
davel

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Joined: 24/07/2007
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Nineteenth-century Transport
Posted: 02/12/2010 10:49:18
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The pieces of wire rope below Gundry’s shaft (SN 918 869) at Bryntail mine in mid-Wales look to be about 2 inches in diameter. I believe them to be the remains of the "6 inch" [circumference] wire rope that was installed in 1870 to drive the pump at the shaft from the 60 foot water wheel near the river.

The rather alarming size of the rope led me to look up its weight. According to Machinery’s Handbook, a 2 inch diameter iron rope would weigh 6.3lb per foot. The length of the rope must have been of the order of 1500 feet, so its total weight would have been about 4.2 tons (although because wire ropes can be spliced, the complete length would not have to be supplied in one piece). Considering the minimum bending radius for such a rope, it would probably need to be supplied on drums or in coils of at least 8 feet in diameter.

So, my question is, how were large and heavy pieces of machinery and materials such as this wire rope transported to remote mine sites in the mid-19th century?

Dave
IP: 195.137.87.110 Edited: 02/12/2010 10:49:50 by davel
royfellows

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Nineteenth-century Transport
Posted: 02/12/2010 11:24:20
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Hi Dave
The same question would apply to a lot of other machinery, expecially items such as boilers and cast iron angle bobs.

There are old photographs showing these things being hauled by teams of horses, and later by steam traction engines.
One would assume the necessity for a road to be laid for the purpose. I am sure that there are others on here who can add to this.

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''the stopes soared beyond the range of our caplamps' - David Bick...... How times change
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staffordshirechina

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Nineteenth-century Transport
Posted: 02/12/2010 12:01:43
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I am not sure how long it has been the case but winding ropes are not usually spliced. Haulage ropes, yes and obviously endless ropes must be spliced. Colliery ropes are transported on massive powered drum trailers nowadays but previously were on wooden drums that required setting up on a frame and very carefully payed out. With weights of several tons, it would be very easy to slip up and end up with a rats nest in the shaft bottom!
A lot of mining transport was very crude and roughly handled.
You can do an awful lot with planks, rollers and some block and tackle.
We very often do not realise how much temporary staging, brickwork, earthworks etc. went into some of these enginehouses and shaft works.
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AR

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Nineteenth-century Transport
Posted: 02/12/2010 13:53:51
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The answer is basically a _lot_ of draught horses. I seem to recall reference to thirty-odd horses being used to get the main beam for the 70" engine used at Magpie mine from Calver Sough mine, which involves quite a steep hill!

What quite often happened in such cases was that there would be a "core" haulage team, but where extra power was needed local farms would be subcontracted on an ad-hoc basis for use of their draught horses. I've seen film footage of this happening as late as the 1940s in North Yorkshire, where a threshing machine was being moved in the snow and more horses were being brought in from surrounding farms as the going got tougher....

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SimonRL

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Nineteenth-century Transport
Posted: 02/12/2010 14:18:32
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This thread reminded me of this photo from Cathole.



(click image to open full size image in new window)



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indicative of the type of individual found at the periphery of a fringe activity
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Darran Cowd

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Nineteenth-century Transport
Posted: 02/12/2010 15:14:37
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I know this image is a little off topic being modern but I just happend to have a photograph of Bridon's rope carrier taken at Caphouse when we did a guide rope change in 2007...



(click image to open full size image in new window)

Off Topic
IP: 95.177.10.234 Edited: 02/12/2010 15:15:57 by Darran Cowd
staffordshirechina

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Nineteenth-century Transport
Posted: 02/12/2010 15:51:50
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Well done Darren. That illustrates the point nicely.
Note that instead of timber scaffold etc. The rope is being deflected to the right place by a pulley on the fork lift!
Same thinking-modern solution.
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Graigfawr

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Nineteenth-century Transport
Posted: 02/12/2010 23:50:06
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royfellows wrote:

Hi Dave
One would assume the necessity for a road to be laid for the purpose. I am sure that there are others on here who can add to this.


You assume correctly Roy. Roads that might require only modest upgrading for large horse teams might require extensive works when heavy traction engines (often coupled in pairs or even threes) were used in the later C19 and early C20.

I have read of power station equipment being hauled to really remote Scottish sites in the early C20 that took weeks, even months, to haul a few tens of miles from the nearest railway because the poor quality roads needed to be boiler-plated their entire length. So the traction engines and the trailers they were hauling would inch along whilst men and horse transport moved boiler plates and timber from behind the load to in front of the load, travelling a few hundred feet a day at most. Similar shenanigins must have occurred when hauling large castings to remote Welsh mine sites in the Cambrian Mountains.

The beam shown in the photo as being moved from Cathole Mine weighed around 40 tons. Even today removing and re-installing such a casting would be a significant task if crane access was less than straightforward.
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historytrog

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Nineteenth-century Transport
Posted: 03/12/2010 13:44:40
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The book that I am preparing on the history of the mines at Matlock in Derbyshire mentions a couple of incidents illustrating the difficulty of transporting heavy mining loads. The 12 ton boiler being transported to Cawdor Mine in 1853 ran over and killed a child, and then after delivery, the massive drug (wagon) ran over and seriously injured a workman.
More recently, when a 3 ton boiler was being taken along the rough track to High Loft Mine then being worked for fluorspar on top of Masson Hill in October 1923, several of the six horses pulling the waggon fell down. The load had to be cut free to prevent them all being dragged headlong down the precipice. The massive boiler then began rolling towards the cliff, threatening disaster, but it soon came to rest, having caused only slight damage. If the boiler had rolled unchecked down the hillside, it could have gone all the way down to the valley floor in Matlock Dale 700 feet below where there were houses and a busy road.

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