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Notes on the Geography of Mexico: Guanajuato: Photo 79

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Speaking of flooding in the mines, Humboldt wrote: “We have already spoken of the truly barbarous custom of drawing off the water from the deepest mines, not by means of pump apparatus, but by means of bags attached to ropes which roll on the drum of a horse baritel...A bag full of water, suspended to the drum of a barritel with eight horses (malacate doble) weighs 1250 pounds: it is made of two hides sowed together."

His recommendation: "It is to be hoped that they will introduce at last, in the mines of New Spain, pump apparatus, moved either by horse baritels on a better construction, or by hydraulical wheels, or by machines a colonne d'eau. As wood is very scarce on the ridge of the cordilleras, and coal has only yet been discovered in New Mexico, they are unfortunately precluded from employing steam engines." (p. 243) The British in the 1870s finally introduced steam engines with which the mine was drained over a period of 11 years. The machinery here, alas, is later. It's a compressor used to run drills that replaced the old blasting method.

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