List of words “used” in the Cornish tin mines


 P & Q words Meaning
Pan (of Loco) The footplate of an underground locomotive on which the driver stands, or sits if   provided with a seat.


Local term for a workmate, possible origin of the same meaning in the old American West  (see partner)


Workmate, usually used by two people working together in a contract team.


Shaft into which broken rock is dumped to deliver it to a lower point for crushing, tramming out or loading into a skip. 

Local term for a mineral
Blue Peach – A hard, brittle rock formerly prized as a roadstone material.

Peacock Ore A form of copper ore with a sheen of iridescent colours.


Any rod of steel or wood placed in a hole for whatever purpose.
Eye Peg – Substantial steel rod with an eye formed at one end and used to hold a stope chain, chain ladder, snatch block, Inertia reel block or other equipment. The straight end has a lengthwise split into which a steel wedge is inserted, and when the peg is hammered into a hole of the right length the peg end is forced open , thus jamming it securely in place. 
Peg Hole – Hole drilled in solid rock specifically to take a peg of a particular sort.
L-Peg – Substantial steel rod with one end turned at right angles, made in   various lengths for specific purposes such as ladder platform stage support, pipeline support and raise staging.
Pipe Peg – A lighter form of L-peg used for pipe line support
Raising Peg – A longer form of L-peg used to carry a couple of planks for staging in inclined raise development.
Shoe Peg – Two parallel short straight pegs joined by a bar with upturned ends, used to hold a 6x8” timber. Two shoe pegs opposite each other in a stope wall   are used to support a rearing piece, also used in light support work to stop pices     of loose rock falling from the roof.
Staging Peg – A L-peg used in fours to support staging in ladderways, boxhole development and vertical raises.


A form of granitic mineral with large crystals due to slow cooling
Pick A tool used to dig out compacted material. A miner’s pick has one end brought to a point, the other has a relatively short, flat head that is used as a hammer.
Pickle The chemical pressure treatment of timber to prevent attack by insect and mould.
Pig Pen Robs B/Deck Cage


A support used underground comprising of stout timber laid in layers at right angles to each other. An open pigsty has two timbers on each layer, near the ends, whilst a solid pigsty has no gaps between timber, thus creating a virtually solid block of timber.

pig sty a stack of timber in a square shape to form a roof support.


A heap of broken rock at the base of an open pass, in a drawpoint, under a boxhole or raise, etc.


An area of unmined lode usually left for stope support purposes.
Pillar Extraction – The removal of pillars for ore recovery after all other mining is complete and the gunnis can be allowed to collapse if necessary.
Boxhole Pillar – The pillar left between boxholes to both support and provide overhead protection of the lode drive.
Crown Pillar – Any pillar over a level or drive, as in a boxhole pillar above. Floor Pillar – A pillar left underneath a level or drive to provide a secure passage way for transport and personnel movements.
Sill Pillar – Another term for a floor pillar

Pilot Hole

A drill hole longer than the round to probe the ground ahead and around. Drives into unknown areas have pilot holes up to 16ft. longer than the shot holes of the round. Pilot Holes are also drilled ahead of imminent breakthroughs of drives and raises into existing workings.


A term for any round length of steel bar with some form of collar used to secure a chain or other link.
Loco Pin – Length of steel rod used to connect the loco drawbar (a gate opening) to a wagon.
Wagon Pin – As above, but used between wagons, sometimes these are       permanently fixed and the links hooked over them

pinch bar

A tensile steel bar of various lengths with the ends being a straight chisel and a      cranked chisel, mainly used for prising loose rock off when barring down, moving    rocks on grizzlies and freeing rock when hung-up in passes and chutes.

pipe crooks piece of curved metal to hang water pipe under air pipes


A tarry mineral found occasionally in lode material


The equipment and materials within a shaft to do with winding, support, pumping and other purposes.


A small pillow like block of explosive used for secondary blasting         Plaster Blast – Secondary blasting using plaster gelatine explosive applied to the surface of an oversize rock and covered with a capping of mud
Plaster Gelatine – A Nitroglycerine based explosive with a high velocity of   detonation ideal for plaster blasting.


Platform-Any small flat horizontal surface on which to stand, and take the weight of equipment and services.
Ladder Plat – A small platform on a ladderway on which a stage of the ladder is stood.
Shaft Plat – A staging resting on bearers in a shaft on which work can be carried out.

Point  (of Stope)

The furthest position from the access into a stope. Usually the place from where the measuring of a shrink stope began.

Points Points
Polar A term applied to any nitroglycerine based explosive to indicate anti-freezing agents are added to desensitise the NG content if cold. NG is more sensitive the colder it becomes.


A small shothole drilled in an oversize rock. When charged and blasted it will break the rock more effectively than by plaster blasting.
Portfire An incendiary (firework) stick used for lighting fuses. They generally burn for two minutes with an intensely hot green or orange flame. (see Tschissa Stick)
Pot/Pot Granite Granite affected by acid water in which the feldspar content breaks down. A source of China clay. Bands and areas of ‘pot’ granite have to be supported and lagged if met with in drives and crosscuts as it runs like sugar or falls out in lumps. 
powder  dynamite or explosive; Polar ammon gellignite


Common term for explosives
Powder House – Magazine or Reserve station used to store explosives.
Powder Wagon – Purpose built rail mounted wagon used to transport explosives into and around a mine.

powder bucket Wooden or rubber bucket used to carry and store explosives in the short term.
Presplit A method of blasting whereby a line of shot holes at the perimeter of the area to be excavated are very lightly charged and fired to create a crack from hole to hole. The internal holes are then fired normally, the shock waves however are prevented from propagating into the surrounding rock due to the initial crack forming a discontinuity.
Pricker A non-ferrous large awl with handle used to make a hole in a stick of explosive for the insertion of a detonator.

a non metal tool to ‘hole’ dynamite to insert the detonator.

primer   the stick of dynamite that contains the detonator.


A stick of explosive with a detonator inserted used to iniate an explosive charge in a shothole or bomb.

(Shaft headgear) The framework into which the wheels or lugs of a self dumping skip run as they reach the point in the shaft headgear above the discharge hopper. As the wheels/lugs are pulled through the profile either the bottom door of the skip opens with the skip at an angle, or the skip is turned over to discharge the load into the hopper.

Prospect To look for a commercially viable source of ore to exploit.
Pthysis Another term for Silcosis.


Term used in two ways
Pull (In tramming) - To load a wagon with broken rock from a chute.       Pull (In mine development) – The length of the holes drilled in a round, hence to pull a 8ft round means that the drive, raise, etc. has advanced that distance.


Any device to remove water from one place and discharge it elsewhere.
Air Pump – A small pump powered by compressed air generally used to dewater a workplace or small sump.
Electric Pump – Any pump powered by an electric motor.
Sludge Pump – A pump capable of pumping water containing a high proportion of mud, slime, sand and gravel.
Sump Pump – A pump fitted with automatic water level controls used to pump water as and when necessary out of a sump (or water collection point).


A mineral containing a proportion of sulphide and capable of causing heat and sparks when in contact with acidic conditions. The principal ores occurring in Cornwall are iron pyrites (Fool’s Gold), copper pyrites (Chalcopyrites) and arseno-ferro pyrites (Mispickel).

The extraction of rock in bulk from a surface pit.

Quartz A mineral composed of silica with a hardness of 7 on Moh’s scale. One of the three main components of granite and a major cause of silicosis.

Peter Hughes has supplied words of this colour
D.C.Williams at Exeter University, better known as Gus. has supplied words of this colour
The remainder are supplied by Michael Davis