Marble Production


1.  First the overburden of dirt and loose rock must be removed and is hauled out as waste material.  The next section down in the quarry is the faulty marble which is removed and turned into crushed products.



2.  Originally the overburden was removed with teams and slips.  At the heights of production it was blasted away by placing charges in drilled holes.



 3.  The quarry was worked three ledges at a time.  Each ledge measured approximately 116 in height.





 4.  An electric channeling machine was used to cut the marble blocks from the quarry floor.  It traveled on a track driving steel channels up and down, making a cut the length of the track and to a dept of the ledge, 116.  This machine could cut at the rate of 10 square feet per hour.



5.  Waste rock was processed at the Crusher.  A combination jaw crusher and hammer mill, it turned the rock into agricultural lime, asphalt aggregate, concrete aggregate, roofing aggregate, sugar refinery rock and filter rock for sewage disposal plants.  It could produce 1,000 tons per day.


6.  The marble blocks were sawn using a wire saw.  Sand was forced under the twisted wire by water and actually did the cutting.  The wire ran from the block to a drive motor located up to a quarter mile away.



7.  Once the blocks were cut in the quarry they were loaded onto flat train cars for transport to the saw mill.  A block weighed approximately 24 tons. 





They had their own railroad line within the plant.  The Carthage Silver Streak was a gas electric locomotive manufactured by the Plymouth Locomotive Works, Plymouth, Ohio.





 8.  Marble blocks were sorted and stored near the saw and finishing plant.  There were two plants.  No. 1 finished only domestic marbles.  No. 8 finished only foreign marbles.




9.  A gang saw cuts the block of marble.  Sand with a high flint content is forced under a steel blade by water.  A standard marble block was a five foot cube weighing ten and a half tons.  The saw operated at the rate of one inch per hour. A single block would normally be sawn into 50 slabs.



10.  Replacing the hand held bush hammers, a rubbing bed grinds away at marble scheduled for exterior use.  A large circular steel plate revolves with sand and water are forced over the face of the stone.  This action produces a sand rubbed finish and brings the stone to exact measurements.







11.  Replacing two man crews who double jacked to split slabs into rough pieces nearer to the desired dimensions was the guillotine.  Exerting 700,000 pounds of pressure, it could split slabs up to 8 thick and 4 feet in length.  It was used primarily for exterior stone production


12.  A carborundum planner was used to shape the marble. The carborundum wheel remained stationary and the bed passed back and forth underneath it. The wheel was cut the reverse of the desired shape and actually ground the shape into the marble.  Water was used to control dust and cool the stone from the heat produced by the wheel.


13.  Narrow strips of marble, used for window sills were polished on this edge-polishing machine.  A belt carried the strip past several grinding and polishing wheels.  It polished at the rate of 2 feet per minute.



14.  Larger slabs were polished in a four stage operation.  First a #30 grit ground the slab to the proper thickness.  Second a #120 grit followed by a #320 grit ground and honed the stone until the surface was smooth. Then fourth a polishing buffer whirls polishing powders across the stone bring it to the final high polish.  Polishing was done at the rate of 15 square feet per hour.


15.  Using a pneumatic hammer and chisel, a stone cutter would carve and shape intricate designs into the marble.


 Source:  Carthage Marble Corporation, Carthage, Missouri.

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