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Mine Exploration Forum

Author De Re Metallica
blondin

Joined: 26/12/2007
Location: north east wales

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De Re Metallica
Posted: 26/02/2011 15:33:32
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Hi all.Was flicking through De Re Metallica and was wondering if any of you know of any books available that also detail early methods of mining/quarrying machinery.Some fascinating stuff in the said book,and a lot of common sense.As well as some fine engineering.Im sure its well known to you all! IP: 91.110.87.187
rufenig

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Joined: 18/03/2008
Location: Shropshire Hills

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De Re Metallica
Posted: 26/02/2011 17:58:33
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There is nothing to touch Agricola for very early.
There are several books published late 19th cent
These cover the high Victorian period quite well.
Many now avaliable on library sites
See this post
http://www.aditnow.co.uk/community/viewtopic.aspx?p=75103#msg75103
IP: 86.143.124.154
blondin

Joined: 26/12/2007
Location: north east wales

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De Re Metallica
Posted: 26/02/2011 18:33:38
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cheers for that.Incidentally I seem to remember the late,great fred dibnah (presumably) illustrating Agricola-esque methods of surveying and mining in his back yard colliery,on one of his programs.I would never have thought of building a shaft from top to bottom. IP: 91.110.87.187
Tamarmole

Joined: 20/05/2009
Location: Tamar Valley

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De Re Metallica
Posted: 26/02/2011 21:15:23
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For the South West try Carew's Survey of Cornwall of 1602 and Pryce's Mineralogica Cornubiensis of 1778. Both are on Google Books IP: 86.155.92.10
AR

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Joined: 07/11/2007
Location: Knot far from Knotlow in the middle of the Peak District

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De Re Metallica
Posted: 26/02/2011 21:16:08
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I've been told about a book by an American engineer who carefully asssesed all of the machinery shown in Agricola for viability and came to the conclusion that most of it was workable. I still have my doubts about the horse on the outside of the treadwheel though!

--

I sold my soul to Satan, but he brought it back and demanded a refund....
IP: 81.129.39.74
blondin

Joined: 26/12/2007
Location: north east wales

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De Re Metallica
Posted: 26/02/2011 21:21:08
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I know the one.....how does that work?However,do the chain and ball pumps look like they would be productive?considering the `boring tool`used to hollow out the tree trunks?Something very `secrets of lost empires`about all this!(plus `mythbusters`!Looks great on paper though! IP: 91.110.87.187
AR

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Location: Knot far from Knotlow in the middle of the Peak District

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De Re Metallica
Posted: 27/02/2011 06:37:19
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To put it bluntly, I don't think it does, or at least not as shown - if the horse slips or stumbles it'll break its leg between the treadwheel and the platform, and given what a horse was worth back then no smelt mill owner would want to have the expense of regularly replacing horses. Also, it uses the relatively weaker forelimbs rather than the hindquarters so it's inefficient. I think if animal-powered bellows were being used at smelt mills at that time they'd have had a donkey or small pony inside a wheel rather than outside as shown.

As for rag and chain pumps, they can shift a fair bit of water once you've got them going, and the text of Agricola quotes some figures for one pumping from 240'. If you ever get chance to visit the Peak District Mining Museum, there's a replica hand-cranked one set up that you can try...

--

I sold my soul to Satan, but he brought it back and demanded a refund....
IP: 81.129.39.74
derrickman

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Joined: 18/02/2009

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De Re Metallica
Posted: 27/02/2011 13:23:49
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a lot of medieval and post-medieval technical literature is indicative rather than strictly descriptive. There was a general attitude of secrecy, or preservation of "mystery" ( the early guilds were often so called, meaning "knowledge specifically known within that organisation" ) for essentially commercial reasons.

There was also a general habit of not discriminating between things which were specifically known from experience, and things which were known from first-hand reportage, and things which were generally believed to be the case.

This isn't helped by the inability at the time to produce accurate measurements to generally understood standards, or technical drawings as we understand them. Basically, you can't replicate a medieval structure from the drawings, only by using the drawings as a guide for your existing knowledge of the subject. What you end up with is really an interpretation of the original concept, not a copy.

De Re Metallica belongs to the transition from this period to the modern style, and has to be approached in that spirit.

--

He knew the magic monotony of existence between sky and water: the criticism of men, the exactions of the sea, the prosaic severity of the daily task, because there is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea.
IP: 86.30.241.199
staffordshirechina

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Joined: 15/11/2009
Location: North Staffordshire

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De Re Metallica
Posted: 27/02/2011 19:00:45
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Two years ago whilst poking around mines in Lorraine, Eastern France, I came upon an old silver working area. One small village had a show mine open one day a week and we duly went along for a look.
They had been driving coffin levels 7 feet high in granite in the 1500's.
The silver content was so p*ss poor that most of these workings never got re-worked later.
Howevr, the little show mine told the story of the local church having a series of 12 drawings similar to Agricola's.
They were done by one Heinrich Gross in 1540. The nice thing is that they are actually depicting a village that still exists and buildings that can be identified nowadays.
Someone is selling copies here:-

http://www.art.co.uk/gallery/id--a242440/posters.htm

Les
IP: 95.148.25.151
blondin

Joined: 26/12/2007
Location: north east wales

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De Re Metallica
Posted: 27/02/2011 21:12:35
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I think Derrickman is right,the drawings must be treated with a pinch of salt.I suppose the limitations of a woodcut print impose certain limitations regarding scale and perspective.
Particularly like the reciprocating hand cranked pump design.
Cnat help wondering how long it would take to bore out a tree trunk with one of those spoon shaped augers though,damned hard work me thinks.Seen the `mythbusters`try one to make a wooden cannon.
The Heinrich Gross drawings are fascinating.Always too easy to under estimate the resourcefulness of people the further back in history you go,but illustrations such as these and agricola`s prove otherwise.
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Bill L

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Location: Pendeen,Cornwall

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De Re Metallica
Posted: 27/02/2011 21:21:50
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I think Derrickman has made a point that we should all think about: every mining museum and mining history book always whacks up an Agricola woodcut - looking at it in context is vital
IP: 94.194.181.152
derrickman

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De Re Metallica
Posted: 27/02/2011 21:57:52
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however it was certainly common for many years to bore out tree-trunks for use as water-pipes, they can be seen in use as water conduits well into the 1800s.

--

He knew the magic monotony of existence between sky and water: the criticism of men, the exactions of the sea, the prosaic severity of the daily task, because there is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea.
IP: 86.30.241.199
Boy Engineer

Joined: 20/06/2008
Location: Derby

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De Re Metallica
Posted: 27/02/2011 22:09:22
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Not to be confused with Do Re Me Metallica, the thrash metal version of the Sound of Music classic.

Sorry, couldn't help it. Too much Euro pop last week. Both types.
IP: 91.107.74.131
staffordshirechina

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Joined: 15/11/2009
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De Re Metallica
Posted: 27/02/2011 22:46:33
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B.Eng - back under your stone! IP: 95.148.28.115
Graigfawr

Joined: 04/11/2009

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De Re Metallica
Posted: 27/02/2011 23:12:31
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Concur that some of the mechanisms shown may be either inaccurately depcited or somewhat fanciful, but the majority are pretty accurate. The reconstruction of a rag and chain pump (p.191 in the Dover English language ed) in the Peak District Mining Museum is excellent - and works well if you put enough effort into it - it is hand powered rather than water wheel powered. An example of a reversing waterwheel (p.199 in the Dover English language ed.) for winding was deduced to have existed at a mid Wales lead mine - see S.J.S.Hughes 'The Kehrrad', pp.196-205 in 'Industrial Archaeology' vol.14, no.3, 1979.

Comment was made up-thread concerning wooden pipes. Prior to commencement of widespread casting of water pipes in iron in the later eightenth century, water supply pipes (many miles found in various European cities) and rising mains in mines were bored-out wooden pipes, often strapped with wrought iron hoops as reinforcement. They are encountered sufficiently frequently and in such qunatity that I suspect that the specialist contractors who made and installed them probably used a precussor of a boring mill. Joints were taper-fited with various tar / white lead etc impregnated textile fillers to minimise leakage through the inevitable irregularities of the two cone surfaces - similar joints were used in their cast iron successors.
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derrickman

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De Re Metallica
Posted: 28/02/2011 06:35:14
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Boy Engineer wrote:

Not to be confused with Do Re Me Metallica, the thrash metal version of the Sound of Music classic.

Sorry, couldn't help it. Too much Euro pop last week. Both types.


must be an RSM man ( shakes head ) .. what was the result of the Bottle Match, anyone?

--

He knew the magic monotony of existence between sky and water: the criticism of men, the exactions of the sea, the prosaic severity of the daily task, because there is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea.
IP: 86.30.241.199
staffordshirechina

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De Re Metallica
Posted: 28/02/2011 08:00:15
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The site of the show mine is below on Google maps, sadly no street view available.
It is on the cow track 'Chemin de la Vache' behind the large factory building.

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?ie=UTF8&ll=48.222543,7.050819&spn=0.005161,0.009602&t=h&z=17

There are several other 'mining experiences' in nearby (and more well known) Sainte-Marie-Aux-Mines. Being close to Germany there is a distinct germanic mining influence. They all had the uniforms and fancy helmets for show days etc.

Les
IP: 95.148.28.115
AR

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Location: Knot far from Knotlow in the middle of the Peak District

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De Re Metallica
Posted: 28/02/2011 08:35:57
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I think I should point out that the rag and chain pump at Matlock Bath was modelled on a 19th century one found when the bottom levels of Knotlow mine were pumped out (and displayed above the recosntruction) rather than based on the Agricola woodcuts.

Having said that, there's very little difference, and there's a record of a horse-powered one in use at Goodluck mine (not the one in the Via Gellia, but the one by Meerbrook Sough engine house) as late as 1811....

--

I sold my soul to Satan, but he brought it back and demanded a refund....
IP: 194.159.145.70
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