‘be excited about tin mining’

claire rso I have been very excited by museums and the web (see previous posts), and everything that entails,  and after going on a rant to my new found friend Frankie Roberto all about Geevor…. and his ever so eloquently put ‘be excited about tin mining’ speech, several things occurred:

  • Geevor now exists in quite a few peoples minds (even if they don’t know how to pronounce it)
  • we are getting coverage (well mentions anyway) from all sorts of angles: here, here and here (@culture24 we love you)
  • I am even more enthusiastic about what Geevor can do with the web!
  • But that’s not all we’re about.  so I’m going to go back to basics and tell you ten reasons why you should:




tin mining!

  1. Tin is one of the rarest metals in the world – and Cornwall is one of the few places where you can find it. ..
  2. tin miners had interesting names for tools, like; a banjo shovel (a shovel that looks like a banjo), a kibble (a egg shaped really big bucket to hoist the tin ore out of the mine), and a big hit (a big sledge hammer)
  3. Tin was one of the earliest metals known to man, the history
    of its production from its ores going back at least
    5000 years.
  4. Tin is really useful! Tin mixed with copper makes bronze and you can find both metals in Cornwall. Bronze was one of the first metal alloys  – so without it we’d still be in the Stone Age . . .
  5. Tin changed the food industry for ever! The TIN CAN! was invented in 1810 by Peter Durand. Food could now be preserved and transported much more easily
  6. Tin is in… Circuit boards, Sony Playstations, mp3 players, mobile phones, organ pipes, toothpaste…
  7. It’s full of mystery: Are the legends about tin true? Did Jesus visit Cornwall with tin traders from the Mediterranean? Did St. Piran float across the Irish Sea on a millstone and discover tin? Did traders buy tin at St. Michael’s Mount?
  8. In 1831 William Bickford invented a safety fuse – a cord containing a fine core of gunpowder that burned at regular rate of 60cm (2ft) per minute. The fuse was waterproof, robust and reliable, making blasting easier and much safer. It was one of Cornwall’s major contributions to mining and is still used all over the world
  9. The Cornish mining industry played a key role in the diffusion of both metal mining and steam technology around the globe.
  10. Tin miners used equipment and machines that were big and noisy! and quite dangerous

That’s just some of the reasons why i get excited about tin mining! There are lots more! There’s another world right under your feet – you can find out about it at Geevor . . .

2 Responses to “‘be excited about tin mining’”

  1. Tin is not a rare metal not even in the top 20 and as for being cornwall being one of the few places to find it rubbish as for 5000 years i doubt it 4000 definately. Global consumption of tin is easily 1000 tonnes per day so i doubt it can be regarded as rare but probably the most importtant metal on the planet although others metals would do the same job as tin , tin being the cheapest alternative
    really sorry like

  2. I am so excited to finally find a fine example of a Cornish tin mine and particularly a cornish mill that is such good condition! I run a California gold rush museum and have a special interest in the evolution of stamp mills from their Chinese trip hammer origins to the fulling mill concept and on to the Saxon and Cornish design which gave way to the California Gravitational Stamp Mill. I have been researching the subject for several years and would like to begin a dialogue with one of the museum staff about design details of Cornish mills. I operate a 5 stamp Joshua Hendy mill on a daily basis at our museum and would like permission to use a picture of the Cornish mill that I have downloaded in my stamp mill history talks. If anyone else has information on early ore mills, please contact me!

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