Historical information

R.M. Serjeant was listed as a mining manager and Joseph Flude as a metallurgist. In 1875 they were both living in Ballarat. The patent number is A.D.1875, 4th March. No 2031. According to the patent the hearth of the furnace is in the form of a cone revolving horizontally. The feed is supplied to the apex of the cone by an archimedian screw. The crown of the furnace comprises a double covering or roof with an intermediate chamber for receiving heated air. The inner covering is pierced to admit of the heated air being brought into contact with the pyrites on the face of the revolving hearth. The discharge of the roasted substance is affected by means of a scraper at the base of the cone. It was claimed that this was a new mode of introducing heated air, and the exclusion of flame during the operation of roasting pyrites. The self-acting charge and discharge of the furnace and the peculiar construction of the hot air chambers, and the use of perforated bricks through which the supply of air is affected were also new. (http://patentsvictoria.net/002031.html)

From the Goulburn Herald, 14 September 1878
"A feature connected with the school of mines is the yet unfinished pyrites works. The extraction of the gold from pyrites and the utilization for commercial purposes of other substances connected with pyrites are peculiarly important to Ballarat, because were a simple and inexpensive method devised there are millions and millions of tons of quartz that would then be made remunerative. With this thought in their minds two scientific gentlemen invented the school of mines self-acting rotatory furnace. This, for lack of funds, has not been completed as yet, but the amount in hand for the purpose is daily increasing, and it will eventually be an accomplished fact. It is in contemplation also to erect machinery shops in connection with the school, and it is purposed to con struct a steam-engine to do at once the work of the pyrites treatment and the ma chine room. A model shaft and mine too are being prepared for on the reserve, so that practical mining of the most thorough character may be taught on the ground.'

Physical description

Letters Patent for an Invention for Roasting Pyrites to be called 'the Ballarat School of Mines Self-Acting Pyrites Furnace' to Robert Malachy Serjeant and Joseph Flude. The large document is on a vellum type paper complete with stamps and seal. The document is signed by Acting-Governor William Stawell.

Inscriptions & markings

Written on verso:

"Date of Patent 4th March 1875

No 2031

Letters Patent


An invention for roasting pyrities to be called "The Ballarat School of Mines Self-acting Pyrities Furnace"


Robert Malachy Serjeant

and Joseph Flude

Melbourne, Victoria