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Cornish Mine Disasters

C.Noall (1989)

Page 70.

At no mine, however, was the struggle to keep the flood at bay fought with more heroism and resolution than that at Mellanear, situated about ¾ mile north east by north of St. Erth. This mine was equipped with one 75-inch engine whose piston rod, on February 16 (1872) attained a speed of 280 feet per minute! Going at 14 strokes a minute, with 19-inch lifts, it raised a constant stream of 1,372 gallons every minute of the 24 hours! Despite this, the water rose to 60, but was then held. At 14 strokes a minute, steam was able to beat water; at 13 strokes the strife was equally waged; but if the engine stopped a short while - to pack the cylinder for instance – water had the advantage. The contest proved such a close run thing that the adventurers, like those at North Treskerby, decided to augment their pumping capacity with a new 80-inch engine. The latter was put to work in March 1878 and christened ‘Ellen’ after a daughter of one of the directors.