2002 issue of British
Railway Modelling magasine carried a feature about slag ladle modelling.
The article has been condensed and adapted for the web . All
photos are from the author's collection excepting those marked SAL which
are copyright Sidney A Leleux and used here with permission.
A by product from pig iron manufacture
in the blast furnace is slag. Iron ore, coke and limestone are charged
into the top of the blast furnace and a hot blast of air is blown into the
furnace near the base. As the hot air burns the coke it reduces the iron
ore to iron and the limestone, acting as a flux, promotes the formation
of a slag which attracts and retains unwanted impurities. Until it became
commercially viable to recover the slag (eg. in cement manufacture, road
building etc.) the slag was dumped on a suitable site. In Workington, over
a century of ironmaking has resulted in a huge man made hill which shelters
the town from the sea. Whilst the former slag bank has largely been
landscaped, the material is still being recovered and graded for resale
||Prior to the second
world war, the typical slag ladle and carriage was of the two axle,
Dewhurst pattern in widespread use throughout the British Iron and
Steel industry. During wartime blackout conditions it was necessary
to secure a large fleet of 4 axle bogie slag ladles and carriages
manufactured by Ashmore Benson Pease & Co. of Stockton on Tees.
These were British adaptations of an American Pollock design.
During twilight hours the slag was stored in ladles and then only
tipped on the slag bank at daybreak.
The movement of fully loaded
slag ladles was one of the most arduous tasks required of any locomotive
and in 1934 (around the time that the new Bessemer converter vessels were
being installed) the Workington works of the United Steel Companies
purchased several engines from Robert Stephenson & Co. These were
built to a special design and were amongst the most powerful industrial
saddle-tank locomotives ever built for use in the United Kingdom.
The locomotive would push two slag ladles up the slag bank to the top
whereupon the ladles would be tipped using steam power from the locomotive.
Although this was an everyday occurrence it was seldom photographed.
In 1975 Sidney A Leleux visited
the British Steel Shelton works near Stoke-on-Trent. Sidney was fortunate
to be able to capture the sequence showing how the earlier Dewhurst pattern
ladle was tipped. In 1977 he visited the Stanton Ironworks
where he photographed a Dewhurst pattern ladle in detail
||Stanton Ironworks 10
ton Dewhurst ladle. The main drawbar hook and three link chain for
pulling the carriage hangs down from the centre of the carriage. The
ladle rotates about the twin trunnions.
||The ladle sits in the
carriage and is retained by it's own weight. The tipping chain and
gear is on the other side of the ladle. The carriage is of welded
||The tipping chain terminated
in a large link which was slipped over an auxiliary hook alongside
the main drawbar. Slag ladle carriages were not equipped with brake
||A slag ladle and carriage
photographed at the Wellingborough Iron Co. This is similar in design
to those above. The ladle capacity is slightly smaller - probably
8 tons and the carriage is of rivetted construction.
||This drawing of the
Dewhurst pattern ladle illustrates clearly the configuration of the
tipping mechanism. The split ladle allowed the two halves to be separated
to remove a stubborn slag skull if required. Or if someone got too
enthusiastic trying to remove a skull by force, two undamaged halves
could be united!
||British Steel Shelton
and Yorkshire Engine Co. 2869 built in 1962 Badger is pushing
two slag ladles & carriages to the slag dump. These vehicles suffered
considerable abuse - as evidenced by the drooping buffer. Note there
are no chains visible on this, the furthest end from the locomotive
||The first carriage has
been secured by a wood scotch, jammed between a wheel and the track.
The tipping chain from the first carriage has been coupled to the
second and Badger has reversed slowly. As the chain tightens,
it causes the ladle to tip. When empty, the ladle's centre of gravity
will roll it back.
|This is an OO gauge
(1/76 scale) model of the Stanton Ironworks ladle. It is a composite
white metal and etched brass kit produced by Clarke
||There is a preserved
Slag ladle and carriage manufactured by Ashmore Benson Pease, &
Co at the Kirkleatham Museum, Redcar, Cleveland.
Tel 01642 479500