Three Letters on Mining and Smelting

Name of traveller

Diederich Wessel Linden (active 1745-1768)

Reason for travel

  • industrial study

Date of travel

undated, ca. late 1740s

I have told you before, and am sorry I find myself under a Necessity to repeat it, that, after the strictest Enquiry I have been able to make since I have been in these Parts, and the best Judgment I can form from the mineral History, I cannot help concluding, that the Art of Mining . . . is less perfect than it was when first it was revived in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth . . .. (Linden 4)


  • history:
    • overview over the development of mining in Wales since antiquity
    • traces a tradition of smelting ore in north Wales back to Roman times
  • industry:
    • the art of mining in north Wales described as being generally in decay, chiefly owing to mine directors lacking the necessary skills and broad education
    • recognises a lack of methodology in industrial undertakings
    • discovery of new veins and beds of ore rather down to coincidence than scientific procedure
    • smelting only reintroduced as industry in Flintshire around 1700
    • sketches the design of two furnaces in use in Flintshire
    • proposes the introduction of formal education about mining and smelting to improve industrial production across Wales by taking inspiration from other, further developed countries
  • literature: reference to his previously published public letter about mining in north Wales, raising the topic of health hazards
  • terrain:
    • great variety of minerals all over Wales
    • relates his discovery of great amounts of the mineral talc during a recent tour through north Wales
  • French translation: Lettres sur la minéralogie et la métallurgie pratiques. Trans. Anon. Paris: Durand , 1752. Print.
  • click here to read the full account in English

Nationality of traveller


Language of publication

English; translation: French

Gender of traveller


Type of publication

letter; report; scientific study


Linden, Diederic[h] Wessel. Three Letters on Mining and Smelting; in which a Method is Laid Down, whereby These Useful Sciences May Be Greatly Improved. To which Is Added, a Fourth Letter; Setting Forth, a Discovery of an Easy Method to Secure Ships Bottoms from Worms. London: George Keith, 1750. Print.