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Mine Exploration Forum

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ebgb

Joined: 07/05/2012
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Posted: 05/09/2014 11:25:52
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very old stopes, (1700's) thin metal tube, sorta cigar tube like, a little under an inch diameter maybe, 7" or so in length, open at one end.

wondered wether it might be a 'blasting cap' or something, to pack with powder for blasting above the horizontal?


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

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Mr Mike

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Posted: 05/09/2014 11:43:01
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It's iron, would have been a no no for powder - sparks risk.


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Drillbilly.

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Posted: 05/09/2014 12:14:11
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The place is wet, the tube is made of a moderately reactive metal, there are also salts and oxygen present.

My guess is that it's considerably newer. Dead torch perhaps? If the rest of it was ally, that could all be gone by now.

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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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Posted: 05/09/2014 13:02:58
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You say they're 17th century stopes, but how certain are you about a) the age and b) whether they're a secure context?

On the first point, sometimes relatively modern workings were done using methods that were long outdated by miners of, shall we say, limmted resources that have the feel of something much older. As an example, there are some small levels in the Via Gellia with very small shotholes, of the size you'd expect from early 18th century powder work, and wooden tramways of the sort that the textbooks tell you are very early, but in fact they were driven a century or so later by particularly impoverished miners using small drills because they couldn't afford much powder or iron rails.

On the second point, if the workings you found this in are linked to workings of known later date, even if you've dug through a blockage to get in then you can't automatically assume this item is contemporary with the workings.

I have heard of tubular scoops being used to get powder into upwards shotholes and have a memory of seeing an illustration of one somewhere, but as Mr. Mike says, you wouldn't use iron for one because of the spark risk.

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Peter Burgess

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Posted: 05/09/2014 13:45:47
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When I see really old metal objects, I do wonder whether you are simply looking at the metal part of something else, where all the wooden bits are long gone, either because it broke off and was chucked, or it has simply rotted. So, if this was the metal end of a long wooden rod / pole, would such an object serve a purpose in a mine? I am no expert, but try to use my inexpertise to think objectively.

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royfellows

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Posted: 05/09/2014 14:09:33
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Its possible that it may have been part of something taken into the mine but not related to mining.

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christwigg

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Posted: 05/09/2014 14:56:55
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My only thoughts on it was a container to stop you getting damp squibs.


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Peter Burgess

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Posted: 05/09/2014 14:58:56
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Would your squibs fit in one of those? Isn't a Marmite jar easier?

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Minegeo

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Posted: 05/09/2014 15:01:51
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What about a tin for carrying fuse straws ? (black powder in hay straw) ?? IP: 92.251.212.72
Peter Burgess

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Posted: 05/09/2014 15:05:53
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Sounds good to me. I was thinking tinderbox, but the shape is probably wrong for that.

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Mr Mike

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Posted: 05/09/2014 15:33:21
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Minegeo wrote:

What about a tin for carrying fuse straws ? (black powder in hay straw) ??


Still the issue of iron and sparks, but admittedly not as disastrous as a full charge of powder, but you could still get burns.

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Graigfawr

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Posted: 05/09/2014 19:39:24
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What is the wall thickness of the tube?

Are there any hints of a longitudinal seam or join?

Is the non-open end blocked by a flat end or might it be a build-up of corrosion?

I appreciate that the large-volume corrosion products may make measurement / guesstimate problematic, and may obscure any seam or the exact form of the non-open end.

Ferrous or non-ferrous tubes that have significantly thick walls are unlikely to be of great age (iron and steel tube drawing and rolling processes are mainly of mid to late C19 origin). Thin-walled tubes that have been made by rolling around a mandrel or former and then hand welding / brazing / tinning (the latter only applies to tinned iron or tinned steel) can be much older.

I would anticipate metal fuse containers to be tinplate or possibly copper.

@ Mr Mike and AR: I have seen one iron powder scoop in a metal mine context, of the same form as standard copper scoops used for both shotholes and for artillery. The danger of sparks was not always appreciated it seems - the use of all iron (with no copper tip covering) bars for ramming stemming is well recorded in Mines Inspectors' accident records.

As observed up-thread, the extremely wet environment mitigates against this object having lain in this exact location for a huge length of time - it would simply have corroded away.
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ebgb

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Posted: 06/09/2014 10:30:40
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didn't really pick it up and inspect fully. its paper thin in places. Definitely 1700's workings. Years of research gone into this place, its the first area worked of a big complex. Still got the wooden rails in. what was once timbers are no nothing more than calcite tubes. big dams of water held back by some rather beautiful calcite mud formations etc. From plans etc, this part of the mine was sealed off to aid airflow elsewhere. Not much activity in here from the mid 1800's when these working were dug through to create a surface air shaft and the adit was sealed. No evidence of there ever being manways from below or any laddered rises, and none mentioned on plans either

I had dug into the stope this was in. which was up above the main drive

Torch? can't think of any battery that would fit well in it, Thinner than a C type, and too big for anything AA size not to rattle around. Even things like old single cell U10 type batteries wouldn't fit

Spark risk that great, or that greatly appreciated in a lead mine of this age? given the amount of hammering and chiselling with iron tools?

something blasting related was all I could think of anyway. next trip in Ill have a proper look at it, as all I did was briefly pick it up and put it down again

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