2013 Mining History Association Tours

 

Platteville Museum, Bevans Lead Mine,

and British Hollow Smelter Site

Tour Leaders: Mark Langenfeld,

Stephanie Saager-Bourette and John Broihahn

June 7, 2013 

 

PHOTO GALLERY 3 OF 3

 

CLICK ON A PHOTO TO DISPLAY A LARGER IMAGE

The historic British Hollow Lead Smelter is located near Potosi, Wisconsin.  It is believed to have operated from 1839 or 1847 until 1886.  Long abandoned, it is the site of an archaeological dig that has revealed much about the smelter technology used in the mid-1800s.  MHAers are investigating the underground chimney in the hill above the smelter.

 

John Broihahn, Wisconsin State Archaeologist, explains the progress at the dig, the artifacts found, and the presumed functions of the various parts of the smelter structure.  He also presented a paper on the project at the MHA conference.

MHAers listen intently as the parts of the smelter are explained.

 

 

Alan VanNata (with photographs) and Jacklan Brandt (green shirt) explain the key role of the local Potosi Historical Society volunteers in the project.

 

The primary hearth on the right of the overview photo (above) still contains slag from the smelting process.  Air was introduced from the back of the hearth.  Charcoal fragments in the slag indicate that it may have been the fuel.

 

A long arched chamber behind the hearths is thought to have housed the blowing apparatus supplying air to the hearths.

(Above) Top of the flue on the hill above the smelter.

 

(Right)  Interior view of the smelter flue.

An enlargement from an historic photograph shows the smelter ruins with the roof intact.  Click here to see the entire photograph.  (Photo courtesy Alan VanNata)

Another early 20th Century historic photo of the smelter.  With the roof gone, the two stone flues from the hearths are visible.  They share the underground chimney on the hillside.  (Photo courtesy Alan VanNata)


Photo Credits: Mike and Pat Kaas, Johnny Johnsson

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