When we visited Plimouth Plantation a couple of years ago we watched them making charcoal by piling up wood and covering it with dirt to limit the air supply (you can read about that here). That would make enough charcoal to melt some iron and run your blacksmith shop, but it's not very efficient. A cord of wood will only get you 25 bushels of charcoal by this method. And to smelt gold you need 50 bushels of charcoal for every ton of ore, so you need a somewhat bigger operation. Build yourself one of these...
|One of the Ward charcoal ovens 10 mi east of Ely, Nev|
|Six little charcoal ovens all in a row|
|View of an oven from the inside|
|The Nevada Northern Railroad Museum|
|Office facing the rail yard.|
|The engine house|
Copper prices crashed in the 1960s and the whole operation shut down but copper values rebounded at the turn of the century and they re-opened the copper mine in 2004. The smelter is long gone as are the rail lines so the ore is now transported by truck to Seattle where it is loaded on ships and taken all the way to refineries in Japan. Hard to believe that's the cheapest way to get copper but who am I to question the modern day robber barons?
|Along the Success Loop|
|Spotted while we were getting the car turned around|
|The view from our camping spot in Ely|
The tire guy showed up and promptly took the valves out of the stems and replaced them and that stopped the PSSSSSSSSSSing. He showed me the old valves which were all gunked up. Apparently they had replaced the tires but not the valve stems, which is pretty automatic on a car. He then re-aired the tires and we were good to go. I decided a tire valve removal tool and an handful of spare valves would be a useful addition to my travel tool kit.
|We found an old fashioned drug store with an old fashioned soda fountain|
|Ancient fuse box at the old rail station|
|Early 20th century word processor|
|Old payroll records, just in case they get audited|
|Getting a haircut in a barbershop older than me|