B. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) Rice.

Mysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) online

. (page 63 of 98)
Online LibraryB. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) RiceMysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) → online text (page 63 of 98)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

considered to be engaged in a lost cause. What actually occurred is



matter of history. The champion lode was discovered by him, and by
1885 the success of the Kolar gold-field had been established. ^ The J[^\
shares of the Mysore mine,' which had been as low as lod., were soon
quoted at £,1 los. It paid next year a royalty of Rs. 33,368 to Govern-
ment, the first sum in a since ever-increasing item of revenue that in
1895 had risen to Rs. 733,527. In March 1895 the Nundydroog mine
was again started. Urigam, for carrying on which an appeal for h:ilf-a-
crown per share had before been made in vain, followed. The whole
field was roused into activity. In 1892 Champion Reefs began to pay,
and now takes the lead, with its ^i shares quoted at ^7. In 1895 there
were thirteen Companies at work, representing a capital of ^^3, 500,000,
with a labour population, including women and children, of 400
Europeans and 11,700 natives. The annual payments on the spot in
wages and otherwise exxced 60 lakhs of rupees. In what was a desolate
waste, a large and flourishing town has sprung up, provided with most
of the conveniences and institutions of European life. A branch railway
on the standard gauge, ten miles in length, was opened in 1893, running
from the Bowringpet junction of the Bangalore line through most of the
principal mining properties, and has proved an immense convenience
and a great success. The principal commodity carried by it is coal, to
which may be added timber and machinery.

The following table shows the output of gold in ounces for the past
.seven years in the four dividend-paying mines and in the whole field"' : —







1894. 1 1895.

Mysore 49,238

Urigam 16,437

Nundydroog ... 6, 1 29
Champion Reefs' —
Others 3,586

58,181 \ 66,501 ' 64,385

27,350 , 34,841 55,836

15,633 1 23,590 ' 31,225

— ! — ' 6,712

3,768 1 5,205 j 4,982

65,415 i 52,089 ; 63,446
75,092 69,42s 70,352
27,802 1 29,658 38,628
31,547 53,516 70,963
7,279 5,038 6,704

Total oz.


104,932 130,137 158,158

207,135 ^ 209,729^ 250,093

But taking the returns for the official years, the figures from 18S6-7
are as below, giving the total output, total value (the last three years
in sterling), amount of royalty, premium, &c., [)aid to the Mysore

1 The champion lode runs, at an angle of al)out 45", through a- large hed of horn-
blende schistose rock, surroundeil by granite. It is not of uniform thickness, being in
some places 4 or 5 feel wide, in others almost vanishing, and then widening again.

" The deepest level yet worked isin this mine — a shaft of 1,460 feet, in 1895. The
old native miners had never got lower than 260 feet.

^ It may be as well to note here that these and other statements in this chapter,
though compileil from the only statistics available, do not profess to be absolutely
correct ; Inil they are aiipro.ximalely so, and it was thought l)eller to give wliat were



(k)vcrnmcnt, and amount of dividends paid to shareholders (the latter
for calendar years and stated in sterling) : —


Output of gold

Royalty, &c., paid

Amount paid in

in oz.

to Government.




Rs. 88S,6o6

Rs. 51,248














;(^ I 60, 242




























Rs. 23,439,352
+ .;^2,345,9I5

Rs. 3,168,872


These figures show the magnitude of the interests created. But
although the country has naturally benefited greatly thereby, the
principal transactions are pretty much confined to England, where all
the capital has been raised and where all the gold goes. The dealings
in shares take place entirely on the London Stock Exchange, and but
an insignificant amount is held in this country, none of it probably by
natives, except what shares the Mysore Government hold. The
Captains and other officials are English, but the labour employed, as
far as Europeans are concerned, consists principally of Italian miners,
and the native miners were at one time largely INIoplahs from the
Western coast, but this is not now the case.

Gold and Silver. — ^Gold and silver are employed to a very large
extent in making jewellery and ornaments, the most favourite method
with natives of investing their savings, what is not turned to account
in this way being frequently buried. A very small quantity of gold is
obtained in the country from washings of the alluvial soil.

The purity of gold is distinguished by its colour. Pure gold is of
the twelfth colour, and whatever is wanting to make up twelve is to be
considered as alloy. Thus gold of the eleventh colour means a metal
composed of eleven parts of gold and one part of alloy. The native
mode of purifying gold is to take equal quantities of brickdust and
common salt, a good handful, which is put between two pieces of
potter's ware and into it the gold. These are placed in the midst of a
heap of dried cow-dung (bratties), and lighted at top in a place where
the wind cannot produce a strong fire. The pieces of gold when
taken out appear incrusted with a black crust, which must be
removed, and the process as often repeated as the same is reproduced.
1 For the first three years I have not been able to get the figures.


The following are some of the ordinary gold and silver ornarnents
worn by the people : —

Ragate — circular ornaments worn by women at the crown of the head.
Kyadige — crescent-shaped ornaments worn at the l:)ack of the head.
Jede bille — smaller ones worn on the plait which hangs down the hack.
Chauri kuppe — ornamental pins for the hair, with a bunch of chauri hair
attached for stuffing the chignon or plait.

Bavali — earrings for the upper rim of the ear.

Vole, vale — earrings to fill the large hole in the lobe of the ear.

I'adaka — a pear-shaped drop worn generally on the forehead.

Addike, Gundina sara — necklaces.

Kankani — l:)racelets.

Vanki, Xagamurige, Toju tayiti. Band! — bracelets worn by women above the elbow.

Bajuband — armlets or Inroad belt-like ornaments worn by women above the elbow.

Dabu — a broad, flat zone or hoop for the waist worn by women, generally silver.

Luli, Ruli, Kalsarpini — anklets (silver).

Kalu-gejje — small, round silver bells worn with anklets, especially by children.

Pilli — silver toe-rings.

Udidhara — silver chains worn by men r(jund the waist.

Karadige — silver shrine containing the linga worn by Lingayits.

Tayiti — small silver money-boxes attached to the girdle.

Sunna kayi — an egg-shaped silver chunam-box.

Gold and silver thread and lace for uniforms and for ornamenting
different fabrics are made in Bangalore, and electro-plating is also done

A kind of false gilding was formerly used in the decoration of the
palaces at Seringapatam. It consisted of paper covered with the false
gilding, which was cut into the shape of flowers and pasted on the walls
or columns, the interstices being filled up with oil-colours. The manner
of making this false gilded paper was as follows : —

Take any quantity of lead, and beat it with a hammer into leaves, as thin as
possible. To twenty-four parts of these leaves add three parts of English glue,
dissolved in water, and beat them together with a hammer till thoroughly
united — which requires the labour of two persons for a whole day. The mass
is then cut into small cakes and dried in the shade. These cakes can at any
time be dissolved in water and spread thin with a hair-brush on common
writing-paper. The paper must then be put on a smooth plank and rubbed
with a polished stone till it acquires a coinplete metallic lustre. The edges
of the paper are then pasted down on the board and the metallic surface is
rubbed with the palm of the hand, which is smeared with an oil called
f^iirna, and then exposed to the sun. On the two following days the same
operation is repeated : when the paper acquires a metallic yellow colour.

The gurna oil is prepared as follows : Take threc-c[uartcts of a maund
(about 18 lb.) of agase ycnne (linseed-oil), half a maund (12 lb.) of the
size called chandarasa, and quarter of a maund (6 lb ) of musamhra or
aloes prepared in the country. Boil the oil for two hours in a brass pot.



Bruise the musambra, and having put it into the oil, boil lliem for four hours
more. Another pot having been made red-hot, the chandarasa is to be put
into it and will immediately melt. Take a third pot, and having tied a cloth
over its mouth, strain into it the oil and musambra : these must be kept in a
gentle heat and the chandarasa added to them gradually. The oil must be
strained again and it is then fit for use. The chandarasa is prepared from
the milky juice of any of the following trees : Jlciis g/oiiierata, ^oni, bela,
bevina, gobali, &c. ; it is therefore an elastic gum.'

Iro?i and Steel. — The metal most widely diffused and generally
wrought is iron. It is obtained both from ore and from black iron-sand.
The iron ore is obtained in small irregular masses by digging a few feet
below the surface, generally on low rocky hills, but in some places in the
fields. The small masses are generally mixed with clay and sand, which
is separated by beating to powder and washing. The ore is of two kinds,
one eiiflorescing into red ochre, the other into yellow. The stones which
are too hard to be broken up are called male, while those which being in
a state of decay yield to the hammer are called female. The collectors
of the ore convey it on either asses or buffaloes to the smelting furnaces.
The black sand is found in the rainy season in the nuUas or channels
formed by torrents from certain hills. The principal places where iron
is smelted are in Magadi, Chiknayakanhalli, Malvalli, Heggadadevankote
and Arsikere taluqs, and in the southern and central parts of Chitaldroog
District, and the eastern parts of Shimoga and Kadur Districts. A
steam iron foundry on a considerable scale has been established at
Bangalore under European management. There is also a native iron
foundry at Chik Ballapur, where sugar-mills and agricultural implements
are made or repaired.

Iron-smelting is performed in furnaces, the heat of which is fed by a pair
of bellows formed of whole buffalo hides, worked by hand. The process
commences with filling the furnace with charcoal. After it is heated, which
requires an hour, a basket of ore, containing about thirty-three pounds,
reduced to pieces the size of a filbert or pea, is put into the funnel and
covered with charcoal ; an hour afterwards a similar basketful of ore is put
in, and this addition repeated three times at the stated intervals, care being
taken that it is always covered with charcoal and the furnace supplied with
a sufficient quantity of this article. After the third addition of ore, a small
hole is made at the lowest extremity of the furnace to let out the dross.
About an hour after the last replenishment, the process is finished, which
lasts altogether from five to six hours.

After the charcoal has been consumed, the temporary part of the furnace

is pulled down, and the iron collected at the bottom of it is taken out with a

long forceps, carried to a small distance, and beaten with large wooden

clubs. During this operation a great quantity of scoriae are seen running

1 Tliis and other processes quoted are from Buchanan.


from the porous mass of iron. When the red heat is nearly over, it is cut
into three pieces. In this state it is very porous, and ^vorse in appearance
than any crude iron of European manufacture. To prepare it for the
market, it is several times heated to whiteness, cut into thirteen pieces of
about two pounds each, and hammered into cyHndrical pieces of eight inches
in length. It is in this state a good soft iron, answering all purposes for
which it is wanted in cultivation and building. The maund of this iron
(twenty-seven pounds) is sold for about two rupees.

In order to convert the iron into steel, each piece is cut into three parts,
making fifty-two in the whole, each of which is put into a crucible, together
with a handful of the dried branches of tangadi {cassia auriculaia), and
another of fresh leaves of vonangadi {convolvulus laurifolia). In some parts
the iron is heated, hammered and reduced into pieces of eight inches long,
two inches broad and half-an-inch thick, before putting into the crucible.
The mouth of the crucible is then closely shut with a handful of red mud,
and the whole arranged in circular order, with their bottoms turned toward
the centre, in a hole made on the ground for the purpose. The hole is then
filled up with charcoal, and large bellows are kept blowing for si.x hours, by
which time the operation is finished. Tlie crucibles are then removed from
the furnace, ranged in rows on moistened mud, and water is thrown on them
whilst yet hot. The steel is found in conical pieces at the bottom of the
crucibles, the form of which it has taken. The upper or broader surfaces
often striated from the centre to the circumference.

In some crucibles half of the iron only is converted into steel, and others
are found empty, the smelted metal having run through a crack in the
crucible. This is smelted again and sold for making fireworks. The
conical pieces are sold at the price of 100, or 15 lbs. per about Rs. 3^, or
the maund of 27 lbs. per Rs. 5 to Rs. '■^\. Sometimes they are heated again
and hammered into small bars of four or five inches long.

It is probably not quite indifferent what crucibles are used in this opera-
tion : at all events they must be able to stand a strong fire. The loam
employed for these crucibles is of a brown red colour, and is probably
derived from the decomposition of the greenish slaty rock of the neigh-
bouring hills. It is of an earthy appearance and crumbles between the
fingers ; mixed with white sand and some shining particles ; it has no earthy
smell when breathed upon, nor effervesces with acids. From this the finer
particles used for crucibles are separated by water, which keeps them
suspended for some time, during which it is drawn off and left to deposit
them. The dried sediment of many of these washings is compact, has a
liver-brown colour, with some shining particles ; of the consistence of chalk ;
a conchoidal fracture, feels soft and soapy, and takes a polish from the
nail. It makes a pretty good brown paint. Of this the crucibles are made,
by moistening it and mixing it with the husks of rice. It is then dried in
the open air.

The stone used in the construction of the fire-places of tiic iron and steel
furnaces is called balapam by the natives — a name applied to all stones of
the magnesian order, which have a soapy and greasy feel, and little hardness.

M M 2


The principal point of makin;^' steel by fusion seems to consist in the
exclusion of atmospheric air from the crucible, and the use of fresh vege-
tables instead of charcoal, by which means it is probable a higher tempera-
ture is obtained than could easily be procured by the use of common
charcoal. Hence the iron is more certainly fused and at a smaller expense.
The grain of the steel is much finer than that of the ore ; but there still
appear spots which are not well fused.

An instrument maker in England, consulted by Dr. Heyne regarding
wootz or Indian steel, expressed the following opinion: —

" In the state in which it is brought from India it is not perfectly adapted
for the purpose of fine cutlery. The mass of metal is unequal, and the cause
of inequality is evidently imperfect fusion ; hence the necessity of repeating
this operation by a second and very complete fusion. I have succeeded in
equalizing it, and I now have it in a very pure and perfect state, and in the
shape of bars like English cast steel. If one of these is broken by ablow of
a hammer, it will exhibit a fracture that indicates steel of a superior quality
and high value, and is excellently adapted for the purpose of fine cutlery,
and particularly for all edge instruments used for surgical purposes. A
very considerable degree of care and attention is required on the part of the
workmen employed in making steel ; the metal must on no account be
over-heated, either in forging or hardening ; the fire ought to be charcoal or
good coke.

" The art of hardening and tempering steel is admitted, by all who have
attended to the subject, to be of vast importance ; the excellence of the
instrument depending in a great measure on the judgment and care with
which this is performed. I find the Indian steel to be extremely well
hardened when heated to a cherry-red colour in a bed of charcoal dust, and
quenched in water cooled down to about the freezing point. In the process
of tempering, a bath of the well-known fusible mixture of lead, tin, and
bismuth, may be used with advantage ; linseed-oil will also answer the
purpose, or, indeed, any fluid whose boiling point is not below 600 degrees.
The temper is to be ascertained by a thermometer, without any regard to
the colours produced by oxidation. It is worthy of notice, that an instru-
ment of Indian steel will require to be tempered from forty to fifty degrees
above that of cast steel. For example, if a knife of cast steel is tempered
when the mercury in the thermometer has risen to 450, one of Indian steel
will require it to be 490 ; the latter will then prove to be the best of the two,
provided always that both have been treated by the workman with equal
judgment and care.

" Upon the whole, the steel of India promises to be of importance to the
manufactures of this country. But the trouble and expense of submitting it
to a second fusion will, I fear, militate against its more general introduction.
If the steel makers of India were made acquainted with a more perfect
method of fusing the metal, and taught to form it into bars by the tilt
hammers, it might then be delivered here at a price not much exceeding
that of cast steel."'


Steel is made especially in Heggadadevankote, Malvalli, Kortagiri
and Madgiri taluqs. Steel wire drawing is performed at Channapatna
for the purpose of providing strings for musical instruments, and of a
quality which makes the wire sought after throughout Southern India.

The mode of preparing the steel before it is drawn into wire is by
taking any quantity and heating it in a charcoal fire until it is red hot ;
when it is taken out, beaten into a long thin plate upwards of an inch
in breadth, and rolled up into an oval or round form, leaving a small
space between each of the folds. It is then put into the fire again,
well heated, and hammered out as before. This process is repeated
eight times, by which the weight of the steel is reduced to one-fifth of
the original (quantity.

^Vhen this is done it is ready for being formed into wire, and is
again heated and beaten into slender rods, with a stroke alternately
on either side, which gives them a wavy appearance. The rod being
heated again is stretched round a wooden post, and then drawn
through a small hole in a plate of common steel into wire by means
of pincers. In this plate there are several holes of various dimensions
for the purpose of gradually reducing the wire to the size required.
After it has been once drawn, it is necessary to heat it again
before it can be drawn a second time, which is done through a hole
somewhat smaller than the former one. It afterwards requires no
further heat, but is drawn eight or ten times more until it is sufficiently
fine, and this is partly ascertained by the sound it gives when struck by
the finger on being stretched out. At the time of drawing it through
the plates a small quantity of oil is applied to it to make it pass easily.

The following are statistics, so far as available, of the annual quantity
and value of iron smelted in the Province. Shimoga District produces
the greatest amount, followed by C^hitaldroog, Kolar and Kadur
Districts. In the other Districts the following taluijs are the principal
seats of the industry : — Magadi, Chikiiayakaiihalli, (jubbi, Heggada-
devankote, and Malavalli.


Quantity produced, tr i ■ d

Alaunds of 24 lbs. \ V'''"

Online LibraryB. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) RiceMysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) → online text (page 63 of 98)