The History of Grinding The History of Grinding

Copyright © 2005 by the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration.
All rights reserved. Electronic edition published 2009.

During our professional careers, we placed our principal emphasis on understanding the role and use of energy in size reduction, particularly in the areas of crushing and grind­ing minerals, the use of simulation for crushing and grinding circuits and machinery, and the design and use of the ever-larger size-reduction machinery.

In 1998 while discussing writing our memoirs, we realized that the task would likely focus on the spectacular changes that had occurred in crushing and grinding in the min­eral industry during the second half of the 20th century. As we began to write, we were able to understand why mineral processing engineers in 1948 had found it difficult to envision the size and scope of mineral size-reduction processes and equipment in 1998. At first, we thought that writing the memoir would be a simple task; then we started to put the 50-year period from 1948 to 1998 into the context of a process that human beings had used for hundreds of thousands of years and that had been changing and evolving for 4,000 years. Our simple memoir turned into a fascinating study of how size — reduction technology developed over not 50, but thousands of years.

A memoir that we expected to write in a few months took more than 5 years to com­plete and resulted in this book. Here, we have attempted to outline, without becoming immersed in technical detail, how size reduction evolved and have illustrated develop­ments with photos and drawings from many publications, some more than 100 years old. We are well aware that this book is incomplete, with some of the omissions including, for example, grinding wood to make paper; grinding and sanding the surfaces of metals and other materials that require cleaning, smoothing, and polishing; and coal cutting.

The History of Grinding
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