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Mining & Quarrying

Lead

Pates Knowe Smelter

Description:

The Pates Knowe Smelter was built in 1764 to replace an earlier one. Having at first two Scotch Ore Hearths , it was later extended to include a third and also a reverberating furnace. When it was replaced by the much larger Smelt Mill at Meadowfoot in 1845, much of the masonry was taken to build the new mill.

 

The smelting process was similar to that of a blacksmith’s hearth. The ore of lead, galena, having been crushed and washed to remove impurities, was mixed with burning coal & peat on a fire kept hot by an air blast from bellows operated by a water wheel. The molten lead ran into a collecting pot and was ladled into moulds to form lead ‘pigs’ or bars. Scotch Ore Hearths retained their usefulness into the 20thc. Smelter building design was governed by the need for the bellows to be placed immediately behind the hearths and close to the waterwheel which drove them.

Materials/Media:
Stone, metal
Source:
Museum of Lead Mining
Digital Number:
WHPG006n
Creation Date:
1764
Copyright:
Wanlockhead Museum Trust