A Cornish Engine in the USA
These dates have been derived from a quick dip into Damian Nance’s article on the engine, and correspondence from Mark Connar; I dived in, grabbed a few dates and sorted them out into an order. Then to add some context I have added a few dates from the life of William West, John West’s famous uncle.
Events leading up to the engine’s creation
1801 William West is born at Dolcoath
1845 A rich zinc ore deposit in the dolomite limestone of Saucon Valley was discovered
1853 A predecessor company to the Lehigh Zinc Company was formed to extract and smelt this primary material.
1854 Ueberotth mine was opencast operation
1860 Lehigh Zinc Company formed
1866 John West erected a 32″ double acting engine
1868 the Company’s engineer, John West from Cornwall as commissioned to design an engine capable of pumping 12,000 gallons/minute from a depth of 300 feet.
By 1869 three different engines were being used to clear the mines of water
The Engine’s operating years
1872 The President was erected
1874 the engine’s crank broke and it took a number of days for it to be repaired and there was concern that the mines would fill with water.
1876 Operations were suspended
1879 William West dies
The President’s later life
1881 One of the owners of the Correll Mine in Friedensville purchased the mining assets of Lehigh Zinc and unified them under the name “Friedensville Zinc Company”
1883 New shafts were being dug and that the plan was to move the President to the new shaft location. This equipment move never transpired.
1884, Water was controlled in the mines by using two new steam pumps with the President was being kept in operational condition as a backup pump. Later that year, in May, the President was restarted.
By 1890 The Ueberroth mine was no longer being worked and the President was being used to lower the water in the other, still active, mine works.
1891 The last reported time that the President Pump operated
Events after the engine’s final steaming
1898 Unsuccessful efforts were made to raise capital in Europe to restart the Friedensville mine.
1893 All mining activities in the Friedensville area ceased
1899 The President was for sale
1900 The President was sold to Philadelphia based scrap dealers for $10,000
1901 The sixteen boilers were removed from the site to South Bethlehem by the New Jersey Zinc Company. The plan was to reuse these equipment pieces at other New Jersey Zinc mines.
1940s A new Friedensville mine was opened by the New Jersey Zinc Company which operated until 1983
Other Time Lines on this blog
- William West The last Great Cornish Enginee
- J.T. Austen The King of Mid- Cornwall
- Samuel Grose The most scientific of all Cornish Engineers
- John Taylor A mining genius
This publication describes the life and work of John West’s uncle through the eyes of a Victorian biographer.
The paperback “Last Great Cornish Engineer” explores the Engineer’s life beyond the words of the sketch.