The Scientist: Michael Faraday

‘I found Mr Vivian’s copper works out of the town, up the river; and during the walk there met Mr Morgan, the Agent who showed me the place and the processes.

A large quay intervenes between the river and the works, and close to it are the yards and warehouses for the ore. In several of them the ore was lying in large quantities. It comes from Cornwall and contains not more than 8 per cent of copper.

In one place the men were weighing it in trays and carrying it to the furnaces. The furnaces are placed in the interior of the building. They are large reverberatories, resembling high baker’s ovens with an immense fire at one end and the flue at the other. Between four and five ton of ore is a charge for one of these furnaces. Here it is roasted for between 36 and 48 hours, being occasionally stirred with a rake’ that all parts may be exposed to the fire.

Much sulphur and arsenic is separated, occasioning principally the immense volume of smoke which ascends up the vale.’

Source: Faraday’s Tour in Wales (July 1819)

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