Saturday, 23 November 2013

Ward Charcoal Ovens of Nevada

Ward Charcoal Ovens are a collection of beautiful six 30 feet high, beehive-shaped charcoal ovens situated inside the Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park in the Egan Mountain Range roughly 18 miles south of Ely in Nevada, in the USA. In between 1876 to 1879, the beehive shaped Charcoal Ovens were built to produce charcoal from pinyon pine and juniper. After their function as charcoal ovens ended, they served miscellaneous ideas, such as sheltering stockmen and prospectors during foul weather and even serving as a hideout for stagecoach bandits. These days they are the chief attraction in Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park. The charcoal ovens take their name from Thomas Ward who discovered a local mining district in 1872. The mine generates gold and silver ore that is essential high burning temperature that can only be provided by charcoal, inspiring the construction of the ovens in the mid 1870s. The parabolic shape of the beehive ovens caused heat to be reflected back to the center where the wood slowly burned to produce charcoal.
Each of the 6 ovens stood 30 feet tall and was 27 feet in diameter at the base. The walls are 20-inches thick, prepared from rocks with three rows of vents. Wood was cut into 5-foot to 6-foot lengths and stacked inside the ovens vertically using the lower door. The loaded oven was ignited and the metal door was cemented shut. Normally it took 13 days to burn and empty a 35-cord Klin. (one cord is 4-feet high by 4-feet wide by 8 feet long). In the long run, charcoal ovens were phased out by the discovery of coal, by depleted ore deposits, and by the shortage of available timber. The method of burning wood to manufacture charcoal can be traced back to traditional Old World practices. Centuries ago, woodchoppers initiate that slowly burning timber in an oxygen-starved environment produced charcoal, which was trouble-free to transport and burned at a higher temperature than wood. Charcoal production was particularly ordinary in the Alps, in Scandinavia, and in Eastern Europe. Charcoal burners traditionally used shallow pits without the benefit of permanent structures.
Immigrants brought the method of charcoal burning to Nevada mining districts where it was predominantly helpful when milling stubborn ore bodies that needed high temperatures. The charcoal burners consumed pinyon and juniper, which was of modest utilize for building or for mine supports. The industry receive a place in Nevada history with the famed Charcoal Burner's War of 1879, when Italian and Swiss immigrants fought wealthy mill owners of the Eureka Mining District to the east of the Ward mines. After suffering from vandalism and natural erosions, the long-abandoned ovens became a state park in 1957, and these Ward ovens are the best-preserved of their kind in Nevada.