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Jesus in Britain-the Tin Smelt (color sketch)
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A Lost Years in Britain image
This is a color sketch of this image. In both pictures a possible basic process for mining and smelting tin is shown. No one knows for sure which method was used or the precise details involved, but here is one illustrating the basic concepts of a primitive "blast furnace." In the back left we see a miner chipping away to get tin ore. Another person in the lower back left is pounding the ore into fine gravel. Coal and other fuel may be added to the grounded ore and placed into baskets. Joseph of Arimathea (an uncle of Jesus who supposedly took him to England) pours the mix into the stone furnace. Women intensify the heat by using animal skin bellows to force in air. The gravel mix melts and separates into slag and molten tin. While the slag floats on top, the melted tin sinks to the bottom of the superhot furnace and seeps out an opening into ingot sand molds. Jesus (foreground ) has taken the refined tin from the mold and is examining it.
Some believe the process was even more crude than illustrated--piles of gravel mix were added to the furnace and superheated, then allowed to cool. The furnace then was demolished and the refined metal in the form of globules and other irregular shapes recovered from the ash and the slag.
As furnace technology advanced, molten ores and slag could be drawn off while the furnace was in operation, insuring no interrupts in production.
Image Copyright ©2004