List of words “used” in the Cornish tin mines


U & V words

‘U’ iron

‘U’ shaped piece of metal used in construction of a chute or cousin jack.


A heavy solid steel rod forged into a narrow U-shape with one end a little longer than the other and having three or four bolt holes through it. U-irons are bolted to the outside of the side boards of a timber chute and are used to hold the mill boards, allowing them to be moved up and down to control the flow of broken rock. The longer end has the hold back around it and a length of pipe placed above , behind which the upper mill boards are held.     


Term meaning any drilling or stoping done downwards, generally at a steep to vertical angle.
Underhand Stope – See under Stope (Underhand)


A term to denote that something, generally an ore body, is beneath.


A shot hole drilled steeply upwards


A type of cut generally used where the width of the development allows shot holes to be drilled at an angle across the face, and where the advance required is less than the width. A V-cut differs from a wedge cut in that the holes are drilled in equally from either side rather than from one side.


Common term for a device to control the flow of compressed air or water through pipes, and from outlets.


Term for the layer of broken rock, sand, dust, etc. that forms the floor of most drives, inters, etc. in a mine. It can be anything up to a foot or so deep, with track sleepers and gutters dug into it.    

Van  (Vanning)

The art of swirling water in a shallow dish or shovel to concentrate and separate out the various minerals. Another term for panning, as in ‘panning for gold’.
Vanning Shovel – A shovel with a wide, shallowly dished blade ideal for Vanning or panning for mineral separation

Vee & Sword

A simple switch (points) installed where required in railway track,
consisting of a simple Vee piece in place of the central crossover or ‘frog’. The sword is a length of rail with one end chamfered to a wedge, and a strap with a ring welded or bolted to the web at the other end. A spike is put through the ring and driven into a long sleeper as close as possible to the point of the Vee. The sword is then moved to one side or other of the single track, diverting the rolling stock onto the required leg of the switch. This device is only for light, and slow moving, traffic as the sword causes a sudden change of direction onto the non-straight leg. 

Ventilation - the method whereby foul air is extracted from a mine or its working areas, and fresh air introduced.
Vent Bag – Large diameter lengths of, generally plastic, tubing used to conduct fresher air from fans into a working place.
Vent Door – Doors placed across drives or where required to control and direct the flow of fresh air around the working areas of a mine. Sometimes pairs of doors are used to avoid air currents reversing when doors are opened for the passage of personnel, traffic, etc.
Vent Ducting – Another, more generalised term for Vent bags and tubes.  Vent Pipe – Small diameter steel pipe, open at the end, and connected into the compressed air system. Used for the ventilation of raises, winzes, inters, and other relatively inaccessible places to remove fumes after blasting, and provide air at the working face.
Vent Shaft – Another term for an Air shaft, A shaft to provide ventilation into shallow workings, adits and tunnels. 
Vent Tube - Similar to Vent bags but made from sheet metal, thus they stay open when the fan stops, and are a more permanent installation.


A device using the effect that when a medium – water, air – is passing at speed in a ring a partial vacuum is created within the ring that draws air, water, etc. with it.  Two uses of this effect are used underground, as below
Venturi Blower – Used for ventilation, with the venturi device so placed as to create moving air at the face of a working heading.
Venturi Loader – A relatively simple device comprising a bin containing prilled  AN/FO explosive, with a venturi at the bottom connecting the bin to an anti-static loading tube. In operation the venturi draws AN/FO out of the bin, through the tube and into the shot hole being charged. It is only used for relatively short holes in headings and shrink stopes.  

Vibration White Finger  (VWF)

A syndrome suffered by many miners who use rock drills on a daily basis. The capillaries in the fingers are destroyed, leading to poor circulation, blanching and lack of feeling. 

Vibrator Pan

A device fitted beneath a steel loading chute to feed broken rock onto a conveyor. The pan is angled slightly downwards towards the belt, and a shaking action moves the dirt forward until it falls in a controlled steady stream onto the belt.

Vug  (Vugh)

A gap or space within a lode, commonly found to contain large crystalline   structures. 
vug a void in the rock sometimes containing crystals.

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