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Rods, Cylinders, Tubes etc

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  • Rods, Cylinders, Tubes etc

    [compiled by painshill]

    The “blackboard” used with a stick of chalk (or chalkboard in North American English) was first introduced to America as an educational aid in 1801 by an English mathematician lecturing at West Point Academy in New York.

    Prior to that, and from early settler times, a board made of slate was used in conjunction with a softer stone pencil (often also made of slate) that left powdery marks on the board which could be wiped off with a damp cloth. These were widely used in schoolhouses, general stores, saloons etc and also in the home for domestic and home-schooling purposes.

    These early pencils may be mistaken for artefacts. Here’s a collection of such pencils which are about 1 – 1 ½ inches in length – one made from soapstone and the others from slate:

    Picture by member [Hoss]
    Last edited by painshill; 01-28-2016, 08:46 AM.
    Look to the ground for it holds the past!

  • #2

    [Discarded Drill Cores from the Blackbird Cobalt-Copper Mine. Picture by Art Bookstrom – US Geological Survey website]

    Cylinders of rock (like those above) produced by modern drilling can be mistaken for artefacts. Cylinders like these are the product of the diamond-core drill which was invented in France in 1863 but saw its first practical use in America in 1869 at a marble quarry in Vermont. The cores from quarrying operations can be found discarded all over the place.

    Diamond-core drills are tubular in construction and produce a cylindrical core of rocky material which can be pulled out of through the hollow drill shaft via a wire-line with a grab. Initially, this was seen as a more efficient way of drilling holes for blasting and was used in tunnelling operations and road-building through mountainous areas.

    It was quickly recognised that analysis of the extracted core enabled mineralogical and structural study of rocks at considerable depths and the mining industry adopted the technique in the quest for metal ores, coal, oil and aquifers. Cores are also useful in the study of fault zones in relation to earthquakes and also in determining the general stability of bedrock in relation to large construction projects such as bridges and high-rise buildings.

    Most usually, discarded cores are composed of hard stones and if they have any banding it tends to run cross the core, not longitudinally and they often have angular broken ends. Frequently, concentric rings in a shallow spiral around the outside of the core from the diamond bit are a giveaway that it’s not an artefact.

    [Granitic rock core from Stillwater igneous complex, Montana. Collected 1997 from a spoil pile outside the mining office. Scale bar at top is 1 cm. Picture by James L Stuby – Creative Commons licence]

    It’s also worth measuring the diameter of suspect items since they will not only be extremely uniform in diameter along their length but tend to come in industry standard diameters as follows:

    AQ: diameter 27.0mm
    BQ: diameter 36.5mm
    CHD76: diameter 43.5mm
    NQ: diameter 47.6mm
    HQ -and- CHD101: diameter 63.5mm
    PQ -and- CHD134: diameter 85.0mm

    The two most common diameter sizes of core are NQ and CHD 76

    Modern cores from mineral exploration surveys and prospecting can be several hundred or even several thousand feet in length, but broken into shorter segments.
    Last edited by painshill; 01-28-2016, 08:48 AM.
    I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.


    • #3
      WIG CURLERS (also known as bigoudis)

      The fashion for wearing wigs with tight curls dates back a very long time. Wigs were worn by both men and women but generally it was fashion statement for women and a status indication for men. Male wigs (often made from real hair and sometimes from the wearer’s own cropped hair) were worn principally by gentlemen of the upper classes, officials and officers in the military.

      Between the 17th and 19th Centuries, cylindrical pieces of fired unglazed clay were used as curlers to keep the wig in a neat shape and from the 18th Century were also produced in cane, boxwood and willow. They’re often found at Colonial sites from 1680 onwards and mistaken for artefacts. Here’s some from around 1700:

      © 2011 - The Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, England

      They were heated either in an oven, wrapped in wet paper or strips of cotton or in boiling water such that the combination of heat and moisture would ‘set’ the curls of the wig. The effect lasted about a week. Usually, the wig with the attached curlers was put over a stand or block and then placed in an oven. There are accounts that wigs were sometimes taken to the local bakery and wrapped in brown paper within a protective pastry crust to be put in the bread ovens. Wooden curlers had the advantage that they did not overheat and reduced the risk of damage to the wig. Clay examples are sometimes found with residual imprints of text from newspapers and books used as wrapping paper.

      They come in a range of diameters according to the size of curls desired and most usually have a dumbbell shape, being thinner in the mid-section. The ends may be rounded and bulbous, squared off or flared and concave. Occasionally they are also hollow to improve heat conduction. Here are some of the shape variations from the Museums of Old York’s exhibition, “The Country Heer is Plentiful: Trade, Religion and Warfare in York and Southern Maine from 1631-1745.”

      [Picture from the Blog of the Museums of Old York - Set of Wig Curlers from 1690-1740 (L.2011.1.9) Loaned by Mr. Hollis Brodrick.]

      Clay items were frequently a sideline product for manufacturers of clay tobacco pipes and generally made from the same material as pipes. Sometimes they have an incuse stamp on the end indicating the manufacturer, like these:

      [from Wiltshire (UK) County Council’s history webpage]

      The initials “WB” are the most common find and the majority of curlers found in London, England bear these initials. There were 43 pipe-makers in London with these initials of whom five were active in the 18th Century. Here’s an example:

      [picture from the UK Detector Finds Database]
      Last edited by painshill; 01-28-2016, 08:49 AM.
      I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.