Part 7: Mining Around Soldiers Delight

Part 7: Mining around Soldiers Delight

Mining for Chromite

These photos show the diagram of a chromium mine at Soldiers Delight. There is also a full-scale model of the type of mine cart that may have been used in the Soldiers Delight Chromium mines.

Chromite was first mined in Maryland around 1810 by the Tyson family. The Tyson family and associates worked five Soldiers Delight chrome mines from the 1820s until 1880. Mule teams hauled the ore from Soldiers Delight to Elkridge, then was exported for use in paint pigments and dyes.

The mines were closed when ore was discovered abroad but briefly reopened from 1915 to 1917 when the metal was needed to manufacture steel for World War I.

Today, visitors are not allowed to enter the mines because of the danger from falling rocks and cave-ins.

Chromite Sample

In the middle of the exhibit sits a very large sample of chromite with a prop pickaxe resting on top.

Chromium was initially used to manufacture paint pigments and dyes, but, today, it is more commonly used in the process of making stainless steel.

This particular sample came from the Arundel Corporation's Delight Serpentine Quarry located in Reisterstown, MD.

Isaac Tyson Jr. (1792 - 1861)

This photograph shows a black and white portrait of Isaac Tyson Jr.

Isaac Tyson Jr. had many titles in the world of mining but, most notably, he fathered the American chromium industry.

Around 1810 he found chromite in the Bare Hills near Baltimore and began exporting the ore and manufacturing chrome-based chemicals.

In 1827, Tyson discovered more chromite in Maryland and Pennsylvania, dominating the world’s chromite industry for the next 20 years. He expanded his mining operations into iron pyrite, copper, lead, manganese, and coal.

Isaac Tyson Jr. is remembered as one of the greatest innovators of the 19th century.

Buddle Operation

This display gives us a miniature model of a buddle.

This device is a “buddle,” which uses running water to separate pure chromite from sand. Because chromite is twice as dense as sand, chromite remains in the trough while the sand washes back into the stream.

After pure chromite was removed from the buddle, it was placed in barrels and sent to Baltimore Chrome Works, located in what is now Baltimore’s Harbor Point, for processing. Modern uses of chromite include tanning leather and the production of metals such as stainless steel.

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