Hafod Copperworks, Cold Rolling
At the copper works in the Hafod and White Rock, high-quality copper ingots were produced and then processed and used for many different purposes both industrial and domestic. The biggest demand for the copper was as flat sheet for the purpose of steam boilers, copper piping, coins and for many other purposes, however, the greatest demand for copper sheeting was from the British Navy. The British fleet was mostly made up of wooden ships that would regularly have to have their underside de-barnacled, this was a slow and expensive practice. Copper sheeting stopped the build up of the barnacles, allowing the ships to travel faster and with less maintenance. Originally the copper would all be hand-beaten using sledge hammers on a cast iron table in order to flatten the copper ingot. The need to speed up the process of flattening the copper became urgent and so machinery was developed. Using adjustable iron rollers the copper would be passed back and forth through the rollers until the right thickness was achieved. This process was also used in the manufacturing of tin plate. These rollers were originally powered by a water wheel and belt system. Rows of rolling presses were set up and the sheet metal would be passed back and forth between the rollers. This was very hard and dangerous work and the roller men would use long tongs to pass the copper sheets between the heavy rollers until the required thickness was achieved. The copper sheet would then be trimmed to size using a guillotine. At the Hafod-Morfa copper works by 1910 a replacement building and engine was installed to power the rollers. This engine was a steam powered Musgrave Uniflow Engine, which used a series of ropes to power the rolling mills. This engine was used on the site until 1980 and at present is being restored at the Hafod-Morfa site near the Swansea.com Stadium.