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Since 1918, Albert H. Fay's Glossary of the Mining and Mineral Industry has been the authoritative dictionary of technical and local terms relating to metal mining, coal mining, quarrying, metallurgy, and other mineral industries. Through. out the English-speaking world, it has helped to standardize the expressions and terms in common use by those associated with these industries.

Because the demand for this glossary has been mounting steadily to the point where urgency is indicated, the Bureau of Mines has decided to republish the volume, which has been out of print for many years because the plates wore out from frequent use. In reprinting Fay's original work, it is recognized that new terms and expressions have come into the language; new usages have been applied to some of the old terms; and some of the old terms have become obsolete. The Bureau, therefore, will welcome and appreciate suggestions and comments from users of the glossary with respect to changes in definitions and explanations, as well as the inclusion of new words and phrases. It is hoped that, with their help, a new, revised, and improved glossary can be published at an early date.



May 19, 1947.


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This glossary is published by the Bureau of Mines as a contribution to the mining literature in the belief that it will fill a long-felt Deed. It contains about 20,000 terms; these include both technical and purely local terms related to metal mining, coal mining, quarrying, petroleum, and natural gas, and metallurgical works; names of useful, important, and common minerals and rocks; and geological terms. It presents in one comprehensive volume the available standard, technical terms relating to the mining and mineral industry, as well as provincialisms that have been or are now in use in English-speaking countries.

The glossary also includes many terms relating to ceramics and the clay industry, glass making, foundry practice, railway and building construction, electrical installation and power-plant equipment, and chemical terms relating to metallurgical practice. Complete lists of terms for each of these allied industries are beyond the scope of this glossary. Paleontological terms, although closely associated with geology, are far removed from mining and metallurgical operations, and for this reason have been omitted.

In a compilation of this magnitude, it is difficult, within a reasonable time to verify all definitions as to the latest usage. Much verifying was done and it is hoped that the best and latest definitions have been used. Reference to the publications cited will enable the reader to determine approximately the period when the definition was used.

Definitions in use by engineers of high national or international reputation are given first preference. When definitions from different sources are the same, credit is given to the earlier author as being

or nearest to the original source. Immediately following each term the name of the locality wherein the word is presumed to have originated or is widely used is given, where such information is available

. The name of the author or source from which the definition was obtained follows the definition, and serves as a key to the publications listed. The terms selected from the various glossaries and publications examined have been compared with the Webster,


the original


the Standard, and the Century dictionaries. A large number of the terms are of purely local usage and do not appear in the dictionaries; these words include many that have been originated and are used by miners and mine inspectors, as well as many others that have been defined by courts, based on testimony given before a jury or judge.

It is difficult to determine when a word is obsolete. It may have been very much in vogue in a certain district, but with the exodus of a particular class or nationality, the use of the term may die out, hence become obsolete so far as that local usage is concerned, although it may continue to be used elsewhere. No attempt,' therefore, has been made to eliminate obsolete words, for the engineer doing research work will find such terms, and if he can not determine their meaning from the context he should be able to find them in a glossary or dictionary.

The Spanish and Spanish-American terms were selected as being the most common terms that the engineer will encounter in LatinAmerican usage.


In the compilation of this glossary the Bureau of Mines gives credit for each definition as indicated in the list of authors quoted.

The author is indebted to J. W. Thompson, law examiner, Bureau of Mines, for the definitions cited from court cases, compiled by him in connection with his work on the annotation and compilation of Federal and State mining statutes; also to former employees of the Bureau of Mines as follows: Messrs. E. S. Boalich and B. F. Tibbey for selecting words from the text of technical publications, and to Messrs. J. W. Kingsbury and R. H. Seip for comparing the terms with and selecting additional terms from the Standard Dictionary. The Spanish terms were verified by Emilio M. Amores, chief translator for the Pan American Union. The entire list of words defined was compared with the Webster and Century dictionaries by the author.

The galley proof was read by James W. Paul and E. A. Holbrook, mining engineers, Bureau of Mines, for mining terms; by 0. P. Hood, chief mechanical engineer, Bureau of Mines, for mechanical terms; by Frank L. Hess and L. La Forge, geologists, U. S. Geological Survey, for terms relating respectively to mineralogy and geology, and much assistance was rendered by M.R.Campbell and E.S. Larsen, U. S. Geological Survey, in scrutinizing terms relating respectively to physiography and petrology; and by David White, F.L. Ransome; and W: C. Alden, U. S. Geological Survey, in checking up certain definitions relating to geology. E. Baliol Scott, editor, and William Head, subeditor, The Mining Journal, London, reviewed the galleys for mining and metallurgical terms current in Great Britain. Many additional definitions were thus received and incorporated, certain revisions made, and a large number of suggestions adopted.


The following is a list of authors quoted as authority for the forms and uses of words given in this glossary:

Quoted in glossary as-





Butler ...

Century. ("hance..




C. and M. M, P
C. M. P.

Name of author and publication.
Anderson, J. W. The prospector's handbook. 1898. (Includes a glossary.)
Bacon, R. F., and Hamor, W. A. American petroleum industry. Vcl. 2.

1916. (Includes a glossary.)
Bainbridge, William. The law of mines and minerals, 5th ed. 1900

(Includes a glossary.) Barrowman, James. Glossary of Scotch mining terms. 1886. Bensusan, Arthur J. The Passagem mine and works. Trans., Inst. Min.

and Met. London, 1910. Vol. 20, p. 3, et seq.
Bowles, Oliver. The technology of marble quarrying. Bull. 106, U. 8.

Bur. Mines, 1916. Sandstone quarrying in the United States. Bull, 124,
U.S. Bur. Mines, 1917. Rock quarrying for cement manufacture.

160, U. S. Bur. Mines, 1918.
Brunswig, H. Explosives, 1912.
Buckley, E. R., and Buehler, II, A. The quarrying industry of Missouri.

Missouri Bur. Geol, and Mines. Vol. 2, 2nd ser., 1904. (Includes a glos.
Butler, G. Montague. A pucket handbook of minerals. 1912. (Includes a

glossary.) Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia. 1911. Chance, H. M. Report on the mining methods and appliances used in the anthracite coal fields. Second Geol. Survey of Pennsylvania. 1883.

(Includes a glossary.) Chamberlin, T. C., and Salisbury, R. D. Geology. In three volumes.

1906. (hester, A. H. A dictionary of the names of minerals, (Includes history

and etymology.) 1st ed. 1896. Clark, H. H., and Means, C. M. Suggested safety rules for installing and

using electrical equipment in bituminous cool mines. Tech. Paper 138,

U.S. Bur. Mines. 1916.
Clennell, J. E. The cyanide handbook. 1915.
Coal and metal miners' pocket book. 9th ed. 1904. (Includes a glossary.)
Coal miners' pocket book. 11th ed. 1916. (Includes a glossary of rope

terms, p. 262, and a glossary of mining terms, p. 565 et seq.)
Comstock, J. L. Elements of geology. 1864. (Includes a glossary.)
Cox, Herbert. Prospecting for minerals. 1898. (Includes a glossary.)
Crane, W. R. Ore mining methods. 1910.
Crofutt, George A. Glossary of terms and phrases connected with the

mining industry. 1902.
Daddow, 8. H., and Bannon, Benjamin. Coal, iron, and oil, or The prac-

tical American miner. 1866. (Includes a glossary.) Dale, T. Nelson. The granites of Vermont. U. 8. Geol, Surv. Bull. 404,

1909. (Includes a glossary.) Daly, R. A. Igneous rocks and their origin. 1914. Dana, F. S. A text book of mineralogy. New ed. 1899; A system of

mineralogy. 1914. Davies, D. C. A treatise on metalliserous minerals and mining. 1880.

(Includes a glossary.) E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. High explosives, their manufacture storage, handling and use. 1915. (Includes a glossary of terms used in

the explosives industry.) Duryee, S. Nevada prospoctor's guide. 1906. (Includes a glossary.) Dwight, Arthur 8. Glossary of Spanish-American mining and metallur

gical terms. Trans. Am. Inst. Min. Eng., vol. 33, 1903.
Egleston, Thomas. The metallurgy of silver, gold, and mercury in the

United States. 1887. (Includes a glossary.)
Emmons, Ebenezer. Manual of geology. 1860. (Includes a glossary.)
Ferrell, J. H., and Moses, A.J. Practical field geology. 1912. (Includes a

Fulton, Charles H. The Cyanide process in the Black Hills of South

Dakota. Bull. 5 South Dakota School of Mines, 1902.

Comstock Cos Crane Crofutt.


Dale ......



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