The Yard and the Cropping Shed
There are a variety of different machines to be seen in the yard. These include two cranes, one — which used to unload slates at Port Dinorwic — with a steam engine, the second, a diesel excavator from the 1930s, showing the new generation of diesel machinery.
'Wagons everywhere — wagons waiting to be mended, wagons already mended and painted red with big numbers on them …spare wheels everywhere'
The Cropping Shed contains some of the largest machines in the workshops, including the cutter or shears itself, with its powerful blades, used to cut through thick steel. Here too you can see one of Dinorwig Quarry's old receivers (although nowadays a modern electrical engine blows air into it): this is the air that rushes through the horn on the external wall from time to time during the day. This is the 'Fire Engine' hooter, one of two at the quarry. The caniad (‘call’) first thing in the morning and then at regular times during the day, denoting blasting times in the quarry, was a familiar sound to the people of Llanberis and the surrounding area.
The compressor also blew compacted air through a network of pipes which extended all over the quarry. These pipes supplied compressed air to drive the drilling machines used at the rockface.
You can also see here lifting gear, or the ‘blondin’, as it was called by the quarryman, after the famous tightrope walker of the 19th century. This equipment was used to raise loaded wagons from the bottom of deep holes or ‘sinks’. This example comes from Penyrorsedd quarry in the Nantlle valley, and is remarkable because it shows the use of electricity in a quarry in the period before 1914. The blondin driver's task demanded fierce concentration, as one slip could mean death at the bottom of the ‘sink’. The electricity came from the Cwm Dyli Power Station in Nant Gwynant, still at work today.