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hoisting  and winding machinery in the winder house

A hoist or winder is used to raise and lower men and or materials within a shaft.

Human, animal and water power were used to power the mine hoists in the early mines.   Steam engines were commonly used to power mine hoists through the 18th and 19th centuries and into the 20th. Shafts were rarely vertical, often following a crooked path down through the rock. This could result in ore skips jamming on the shaft sides while being hoisted, leading to the development of the egg shaped kibble. Men could be forced to climb vertical or even back leaning ladders.

Men and equipment were raised and lowered into the mine by the winder in a cage that could carry nine men. Rock was raised to the surface in 2 tonne skips. The maximum speed of the winder was 7.6 metres (25 feet) per second.


Photograph reproduced with the kind permission of the T Grevatt Collection at Cornwall Council

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