Eley's shot tower video 1950


#1

britishpathe.com/video/shot-tower

one of the things most noticable is the lack of safety equipment


#2

We had a shot well where I worked; you could fall down it but not off it.


#3

And of course, now the shot falls hardly any distance at all - it just rolls down a ramp. I saw that operation once, either at Federal or Remington, don’t remember which one.


#4

Manufacturers used to test shot by rolling it down a steel ramp which had a gap near the bottom. Out-of-round shot either teetered off the edges of the ramp or, if able to stagger down the ramp, fell through the gap. Apparently only well-formed spherical shot rolled true enough and fast enough to jump the gap and land in the “acceptable” bin.

gravelbelly


#5

There aren’t many shot towers left in the UK now. I remember one that was a well-known landmark in central London, on the south bank of the Thames adjacent to Waterloo Bridge. It was used by a local Lead Foundry, and was said to make shot for loading into shotshells sold by the London gun firms. It was demolished in the early 1950s to make way for the extensive redevelopment of the area.

John E


#6

So it would have been on the site of what is now the South Bank Centre? I’ll have to look into that. Didn’t Frank Dyke have a cartridge factory along there in those days?


#7

From Wikipedia:
Producing lead shot from a shot tower was pioneered by William Watts of Bristol who adapted his house on Redcliffe Way by adding a three-storey tower and digging a shaft under the house through the caves underneath to achieve the required drop. The process was patented in 1782.[1]

The process was brought above ground through the building of shot towers.

Molten lead would be dropped from the top of the tower. Like most liquids, molten lead becomes spherical as it falls. Water is usually placed at the bottom of the tower, causing the lead to be cooled immediately after dropping.

Roundness of manufactured shot produced from the shot tower process is graded by forcing the newly produced shot to roll accurately down inclined planes; unround shot will naturally roll to the side, for collection. The unround shot was either re-processed in another attempt to make round shot using the shot tower again, or used for applications which did not require round shot (e.g., split shot).[1]

Hardness of lead shot for shotgun shells is controlled through adding variable amounts of antimony and arsenic, forming lead-antimony alloys.[1]

The Bliemeister method, named for Louis Bliemeister, the man who patented it, is a process for making lead shot in small sizes which has largely supplanted the shot tower method. In this process, metered molten lead is dropped approximately 1 in (25 mm) into hot water, rolled along an incline and then dropped another 3 ft (0.91 m). The water temperature controls the cooling rate of the lead, while the surface tension brings the ball into a spherical form. Antimony, added for hardness, also lowers the melting point of lead.[2]


Does anyone remember the little devices made for making your own shot at home? It worked somewhat like the Bliemeister method, and you put different size orifice nozzles in it for different shot sizes. The molten lead from the melting pot exited through the orifices in droplets, ran down a short aluminum ramp, falling into a container of fuel oil as a coolant. I saw one in operation a long time ago, and it worked very well. However, it impressed me as being a very slow operation. Might be OK if one had access to a lot of scrap lead and wheelweights. Maybe it’s still made.


#8

[quote=“DennisK”]From Wikipedia:
Producing lead shot from a shot tower was pioneered by William Watts of Bristol who adapted his house on Redcliffe Way by adding a three-storey tower and digging a shaft under the house through the caves underneath to achieve the required drop. The process was patented in 1782.[1]

The process was brought above ground through the building of shot towers.

Molten lead would be dropped from the top of the tower. Like most liquids, molten lead becomes spherical as it falls. Water is usually placed at the bottom of the tower, causing the lead to be cooled immediately after dropping.

Roundness of manufactured shot produced from the shot tower process is graded by forcing the newly produced shot to roll accurately down inclined planes; unround shot will naturally roll to the side, for collection. The unround shot was either re-processed in another attempt to make round shot using the shot tower again, or used for applications which did not require round shot (e.g., split shot).[1]

Hardness of lead shot for shotgun shells is controlled through adding variable amounts of antimony and arsenic, forming lead-antimony alloys.[1]

The Bliemeister method, named for Louis Bliemeister, the man who patented it, is a process for making lead shot in small sizes which has largely supplanted the shot tower method. In this process, metered molten lead is dropped approximately 1 in (25 mm) into hot water, rolled along an incline and then dropped another 3 ft (0.91 m). The water temperature controls the cooling rate of the lead, while the surface tension brings the ball into a spherical form. Antimony, added for hardness, also lowers the melting point of lead.[2][/quote]

My son is at Bristol University so we go there often. I will have to look out Redcliffe Way and see what remains, if anything


#9

Last week at work I cut some lengths of steel tube. From the paper ID tag tag on the tube I noticed that it was supplied by a company which is located on the site of this old Eley factory at Edmonton.

This is the company’s address, the site is still named they Eley trading estate:

Hub Le Bas
Nobel Road
Eley Trading Estate
Angel Road
Edmonton
London N18 3DW


#10

Re my earlier comment about a home shot maker. It looks like it is still available, but the price seems to me to make it an uneconomic proposition. Back in the mid-80s, I remember it selling for less than $100, as I was tempted to buy one.

magmaengineering.com/products/li … -model-65/

The instruction manual (just click on it) makes for interesting reading on how this thing works. As I said, at the time I looked at it, they were recommending home heating oil as the quenching liquid. Looks like they’ve moved on.


#11

Nice old vidio Vince. I enjoyed it.
Interesting statement at the end, describing “good shot”, considering current trends.


#12

I found more information about William Watts and his Bristol shot tower here:
uh.edu/engines/epi422.htm

By the way, that website will link you to thousands of similar fascinating stories about all sorts of inventions and discoveries if you happen to be a technology junkie. You might also click onto the link that connects shot towers to the founding of Texas.

I had seen in some references that James Watt, the famous father of the modern steam engine that powered the industrial revolution, was also the inventor of the shot tower as a result of his having a dream one night about walking through a rainfall of lead pellets. Obviously, this was a made-up tale, and referred to the wrong Watt(s). William Watts was a plumber.