List of words “used” in the Cornish tin mines


T words


A term for a label of card, paper, plastic or metal, generally with a name or number code on it, used for many purposes. 
Name Tag – A small plastic rectangle bearing a miner’s name and number, placed on the relevant part of the Tag Board when going underground.       Tag Board – A board near the head of a shaft on which a miner’s personal tag is     hung when going underground. At SC the board was divided into levels so the tag was placed on the level the miner was to work on. This system was to ensure   that everyone could be accounted for at the end of shift, or in an emergency.


The ground down reject material from the mill or concentrator, generally mixed with sufficient water to allow it to flow and either collected in a dam as at Wheal Jane or allowed to run to sea as at South Crofty (the Red River).
Tailings Dam – A collecting and settling area for tailings from a concentrator.


The lead miner in a crew of generally two or four in whose name the contract is put, and generally responsible for the output and workmanship of the crew.

Talk (ing)

A term relating the noise ground makes when in movement, being creaking, cracking, sudden reports, etc. and generally accompanied by dust, small runs of gravelly material and even fall of rock. A time to retreat to a safe distance and, if necessary, barricade off the area. 


The action of pressing explosives and stemming into a shot hole to prevent them    either falling back out or being ejected when shots are fired. A charging stick is generally used for this task.


one ‘tamps’ each stick of dynamite to stop it falling out of the hole (especially vertical ones).


Electrical devices using a low voltage battery to show either; a circuit exists (Circuit Tester) or ; measures the resistance of the circuit from which it can be deduced that the circuit is correct (Ohmmeter)


The distance that the majority of rock is thrown when a round is blasted

a certificate of competence, of, driving a loco, a mucker,  or ringing shaft signals, secondary blasting to a full shot firers.


An authorisation signed by the Mine Manager to certify that a person is        competent to carry out the duties defined. 


General term for any wood of substantial size used in a mine. At SC the timber was pressure treated (pickled) with a Copper-Arsenic mix to prevent attack by moulds, fungi and insect.
6x8 Timber – Heavy baulks of timber used for support work, bearers for     walkways, rearing pieces and a host of other uses.
9x9 Timber – Used for heavy support work and for carrying track over voids, at dumps, etc.
Timber Hitch – A simple type of knot used extensively when raising or lowering timber in winzes, whilst constructing timber chutes and similar situations.
Timberman – Person responsible for building chutes, caps and legs, brattices and any other task requiring timber construction. The timberman usually had one or two others working with him.
Timber Plank – Most plank used in SC came down as 8” wide and in
thicknesses of 2“ and 3”, used according to need and suitability.


Another term for either a tag (see under Tag) or Signal (see under Signal) Token Board – The board near the shaft collar on which the miner’s personal tags or tokens were put during their shift underground
Shaft Signal Token – The number of rings and pauses given to the whim driver to instruct him what to do.


A measurement of amount in weight of ore dealt with, usually applied to amount trammed per level, or per shift, week, etc. and skips hoisted

Top Deck

The upper deck of a two deck mine cage.
toro A Scooptram, Diesel Loader.


A geological term for a mineral

A common term for railway lines, comprising two pairs of rail laid parallel on, and fastened down to sleepers. See also Rail
Track Bolt – A squat, heavy duty coach bolt used to fasten rails together by pairs of fishplates. The bolt has an oval or square section directly beneath the head that locks it into one of the fishplates.
Track Dog – Another name for a Dog or Dog Spike
Track Gauge – A steel plate with cut outs that correspond to the distance    between rails (the gauge) and used when dogging the rails down to ensure they are the right distance apart for the rolling stock to run on them.
Track Man – Person whose task is to lay, repair and maintain the track system in a section of a mine.


As a noun, a term used for a wagon capable of carrying a payload of rock. As a verb means to move wagons either manually (Hand tramming) or with a locomotive


A person whose primary task is to move wagons from a loading point to a dump by whatever means are provided for. The work generally includes loading the wagons from a chute, by hand, or using a mechanical shovel;  dumping and clearing the grizzly, if used; and carrying out any secondary blasting required.


A device comprising a short set of track mounted on a plate that itself runs on rails set at right angles to those on it. The device is used where limited space does not allow for a standard switch, etc. and enables an item of rolling stock to be transferred from one set of rails to another by being moved at right angles from one track to another


A method of payment used up to the 19xx’s whereby a set sum was paid to a pair or more of men for the value of the ore they had mined. The
tributers bid for specific blocks at ‘auctions’ held periodically. 


A length of steel bar or timber used to stop something moving, whether by inserting through a wagon’s wheels, in front of a wheel or jammed between the side wall and a piece of loose rail
tschissa cheeser, stick for lighting safety fuses.


Generally applied to excavations beneath ground for the passage of vehicles, canal boats, etc. as a means of getting from one side of a hill or mountain to the other. Rarely used to describe a drive or other development in a mine.

Turn Out

Another name for a switch, rarely used in the local mines.

Turn Sheet

A steel plate large enough for a wagon, air shovel or small locomotive to be put on. The piece of equipment can then be turned around, or faced into a drawpoint, by jerking or levering the equipment round on the plate. A primitive sort of turntable.


A short section of rail track mounted on a circular steel plate and either mounted on bearings or rollers in a shallow pit that keeps the track at the same elevation as the tracks radiating from it. An item of rolling stock is pushed or driven onto the table, which is then turned to the desired position. Often used where space is limited and where there is a need to turn rolling stock around.


The old term - used up to the 60’s at SC – to indicate payment by length of development achieved or volume of lode mined out.
twister a devise for removing jammed drills.


A simple tool comprising a steel bar with an hexagonal hole at one end that fits the cross-section of a drill steel. The twister is placed over the chuck end of a stuck or ‘fixtured’ steel, then, whilst pulling on it, worked back and forth. Usually, after much effort , the steel comes free and drilling resumed, or another hole drilled. If unsuccessful the steel is left and blasted out with the other shot holes.


Another spelling of Pthysis, a lung disease correctly known as 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