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"River Balls"

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Al Dente

Ceramic milling balls.

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Rockwood
33 minutes ago, Al Dente said:

Ceramic milling balls.

They must formed mechanically, but the text seems to indicate the material as metamorphosed limestone (marble).

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Al Dente

I think the text below the photo is inaccurate. It would be much too much work to take marble and grind it into round balls for the purpose of filtration. Sand and gravel by themselves would work, I don't see the need for large round balls mixed in with the sand and gravel. I would suggest testing them with vinegar to see if they fizz. If not, we can rule out marble.

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hndmarshall

I had posted a pic of one a friend of mine has asking about it but i dont think he will be wanting to test it...it does seem to be made of a marble like material though....

42274506_2163627123649452_8944782784245792768_n (1).jpg

42274506_2163627123649452_8944782784245792768_n (2).jpg

42274506_2163627123649452_8944782784245792768_n.jpg

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Walt
2 hours ago, Al Dente said:

I think the text below the photo is inaccurate. It would be much too much work to take marble and grind it into round balls for the purpose of filtration. Sand and gravel by themselves would work, I don't see the need for large round balls mixed in with the sand and gravel. I would suggest testing them with vinegar to see if they fizz. If not, we can rule out marble.

There is quite a collectibles market for them.....they all claim they are marble.

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Carl

This is great! Way back in 2007 a woman sent me one of these that she found in NJ and was looking for an ID. I just gave her this new info!

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Rockwood
5 hours ago, Al Dente said:

It would be much too much work to take marble and grind it into round balls for the purpose of filtration.

It might pay toward the working life of the bed by maximizing pore space and neutralizing the ph. A properly shaped charge of explosive and a few hours in a concrete mixer might be all it takes. 

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Walt

A google advanced search for "ceramic balls used in water filtration" brings up a wealth of information on ceramics being used in water treatment to this day.  This basic idea seems to have evolved into ceramic discs and flower pot shaped filters that are having a big impact in the water quality of third world countries today.  Apparently ceramics, especially when infused with other materials, easily passes water but "locks up" particulates.  

Here is a link to a "high tech" version.  https://www.rgpballs.com/en/manufacturing/bio-ceramic-balls-for-water-treatment/

Very interesting thread.  Seems our forefathers were pretty darn smart. :)

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Rockwood
1 hour ago, Peat Burns said:

Based on this, I'm going to conclude that they are ceramic (or porcelain) rather than marble

'Hard' to dispute it. ;)

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Peat Burns
2 hours ago, Walt said:

A google advanced search for "ceramic balls used in water filtration" brings up a wealth of information on ceramics being used in water treatment to this day.  This basic idea seems to have evolved into ceramic discs and flower pot shaped filters that are having a big impact in the water quality of third world countries today.  Apparently ceramics, especially when infused with other materials, easily passes water but "locks up" particulates.  

Here is a link to a "high tech" version.  https://www.rgpballs.com/en/manufacturing/bio-ceramic-balls-for-water-treatment/

Very interesting thread.  Seems our forefathers were pretty darn smart. :)

Your post reminded me that I use ceramic filter media every day. I never considered their composition as being ceramic.  I use these for biological filtration media for aquaria. I thought the surface area benefits were restricted to the geometry, but apparently the porosity of the material is also involved as a substrate for bacteria.  Learn something new every day...

Screenshot_20181002-165011_Google.thumb.jpg.8b61a78210d4ac040c338eed5ffb643a.jpg

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KimTexan

Marble could have been more of an adjective since they appear to be marble shape and size and from an era where marbles were extremely popular. Maybe something was lost in cultural translation over the years.

Marble as in the toy or game of marbles. Marbles were not generally made of marble, but glass.

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Rockwood
24 minutes ago, KimTexan said:

Maybe something was lost in cultural translation over the years.

It is easier to imagine workers heading to the marble mill than the ceramic ball making facility. 

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Walt

Ceramics is, basically, pottery is it not?  And in this case, un-glazed pottery.  What could be easier to make?  Especially when you look at the examples and how out of round they are.  They were churning those suckers out by the truckload.  

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Pagurus

Ceramic marble manufacturing has a long history in the U.S. and Germany. According to this interesting history (pdf file) of the toy industry in Akron, Ohio,
S.C. dyke & Co. could turn out up to a million clay marbles in a day by 1885.

 

This same report includes a section titled, Industrial Marbles:

"The first use of marbles for other than children's play were produced by the Standard Toy Marble Company of Akron, Ohio (1896-1936).
These were filtration marbles used in municipal water treatment plants to purify water."

 

These "river balls" may very well be ceramic milling balls, but it's also possible they could be ceramic marbles. I do think marbles would have been a bit closer to spheres than these examples, but perhaps "roundness" was less critical when manufacturing marbles for filtration purposes.

 

5bb41650513a3_claymarbles.jpg.d9218a96c7a80e2de47403ad18db5a7a.jpg

 

5bb4166175e29_claymarblespatent.jpg.e6404882a5fe2faa661147cdc7efed93.jpg

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Walt

It seems our Miss Kimtexan had the right idea :D

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