Tag Archives: Equipment

Lost and Forgotten

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They stand silent and empty, sprinkled across a windswept field like discarded weapons from a war fought and lost long ago.  Yet these rotting hulks of iron and wood fought no battles and served no army. Instead these forsaken conscripts toiled in the service of industry, serving an empire ruled by copper. While today these machines may …

An Electric Enigma

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Found just outside of the Gratiot Mine’s crumbling shaft house remains stands this enigmatic stranger – a ruin of a type we have never encountered before during our seven years of travels. We’ve actually been here one before, over a half decade ago during our first visit to these old …

The Wheel

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Its always a surreal experience to be hiking deep in the Copper Country backcountry miles from any form of civilization and come across discarded and forgotten pieces of industry just laying about the forest floor. It seems incredible that the thick forests and rugged landscape around us was once home …

Nonesuch Pits As This

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The great copper empire may have been left for dead after C&H’s demise, but it still had a good 30 years of life left to it thanks to the unlikely success of the White Pine Mine near Silver City. Unlikely because of the incredibly uncooperative nature of the copper ore …

Smelter Tech: The Corliss Engine

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While James Watt’s improvements to the steam engine may have been responsible for giving birth to the industrial revolution it would be the contribution of George Corliss that made it profitable. Watt’s contribution to engine design was one of practicality and reliability. Corliss’s contribution was one of efficiency, creating engines …

The Boiler

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The industrial machine that was the Copper Empire was nourished almost solely by steam. From locomotives to electric power plants everything here was powered by superheated water – either directly or indirectly. Because of this you would expect that we would come across a great deal of evidence of those …

Anatomy of a Mill (Jigs)

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A long line of refining jigs at the Quincy Mill After leaving the final stages of the sizing process, the copper ore that entered the mill as pieces of rock have been reduced to a coarse gravel and mixed with water to become a muddy concoction known as slime. Within …

Anatomy of a Mill (Final Sizing)

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The process of ore production neither begins or ends at the stamp mill, but instead stretches from the dark drifts of the underground right up to the smelter docks. This process consists of three main stages: sizing and sorting, separation, and refining. The first stage begins at the mine itself, …

Last Stamp Standing

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&oiDuring the Copper Empire’s peak, over 100 steam stamps were in operation across the peninsula. As mines and their mills succumbed, these massive stamps were quickly sold or scrapped for quick cash. With the arrival of the Second World War any remaining stamps were quickly drafted into the war effort …

Anatomy of a Mill (Stamps)

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&sig The processes of mill work can be separated into four distinct stages. The first stage involves breaking down the copper bearing rock from the mill into small pieces – a process known as stamping. These small particles of rock are then passed onto a series of roughing jigs followed …

A Modern Mesnard

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After Quincy bought up the defunct Mesnard Mine in 1896 it re-opened one of its original shafts, which became Quincy No. 8. Quincy then erected atop of it a modern shaft-rock-house – but not as modern as the one that currently stands there today. The iron head-frame that stands over …

Mill Machines: Dorr Thickener

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In order to further improve the milling process along the Copper Country mine companies began to turn to newly developed chemical processes for use in their mills. While the purity of Copper Country Copper did not necessarily require such measures (knocking off all the non-copper rock from the copper was …

Mill Machines: The Wilfley Table

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For most of the Copper Country’s history the milling process has been very inefficient. For every ton of copper recovered, dozens of pounds more slipped past and found its way to the waste launders. At the Quincy mills the process was so inefficient that the company was able to live …

Mill Machines: The Frue Vanner

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EDIT: According to several readers with more knowledge on the subject then I, the machine remains pictured in the following post is not a frue vanner after all. Instead it seems that it most likely was a classifier used to sort middlings coming off the jigs or wash tables. So …

The Wooden Box

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a mystery box sitting among the Quincy Mill Ruins We find a lot of stuff that baffles us here at explorer. Heres another one. Before leaving the first floor of the Quincy Mill addition we notice this wooden box. It sits high up on a wooden pedestal, and attracted out …

Outhouse

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walking away from the rock house on the old railroad grade ore cars once used It was a bit of a walk to get out to the gray building hidden in the woods. We followed a graded rise out across a landscape that had become increasingly swampy and wet. We …

Left Behind

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The labored and prolonged death of the copper empire had been telegraphed years ahead of time. By the end of the Second World War the writing was on the wall, and the next 30 years was nothing but an exasperated epitaph. By feeding off the remains of less fortunate mines, …

Crushing and Sorting

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Mining is simple. You drill holes into rock, you stuff explosives in those holes, and you blow the rock up into smaller pieces. From that point on everything at a mine – people, machines, buildings, and railroads – all work together to remove that rock from underground and separate any …

Buddles?

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The Champion Mill, like any mill on the Keweenaw, works to separate copper from the rock that entombs it. First, copper rock is broken down into very small particles using stamps, then a series of machines work to separate the heavier copper from the much lighter rock. The copper is …

Ventilation

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While underground workers needed to worry about many things that could injure then while in a mine, getting enough air to breath was not one of them. Besides the far ends of drifts that may contain somewhat stale air, the rest of the mine was actuality well ventilated. This was …

Stamps, Jigs, and Wifleys

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The purpose of the Mohawk Mill – as with any stamp mill – was to separate the copper from the rock that incased it. The process relied on the differing physical properties of the two substances, specifically the weight and hardness. Copper was of a greater density then the igneous …