Old Slate Splitters - National Slate Association

Slate Splitters

The National Slate Association is a group of 115 members whose mission statement reads “The establishment of material and installation standards and promotion of natural roofing slate in North America.

This past weekend was a semi annual conference in Baltimore, MD.  To go along with presentations by members of the group about various slate related topics, we also visited a community of homes with slate roofs and visited the Funkhauser quarry which produced Peach Bottom slate, aka “the best slate in the world.”  The weekend’s agenda can be found here.

I took a few pictures that you’ll see below and a brief description.

NSA Conference

Below is a picture of slate roof in an area of Baltimore called Homeland. There were 1,000 houses in the neighborhood and every single one had a slate roof.  The neighborhood has been identified as one of the top fifty urban neighborhoods by Worth Magazine. Quite awesome.

Slate Roof in Homeland Maryland

Homeland, MD

These old slate tools were found in a museum in Delta, PA (the home of Peach Bottom Slate). You can see the old “rake” ripper, slate hammer & stake, chisels for splitting stake and a mallet.

Historic Slate Tools

Historic slate tools at the Old Line Museum

THE slate clock was made by Humprey O. Pritchard, who was a life-long slate miner. The “Slate Clock” is seven feet and two inches. It is also thirty inches wide. There were three different kinds of slate that were used in the making of this clock. These were; Peach Bottom deep blue slate, Bangor PA silvery gray slate, and red slate from Vermont. It is housed in the Old Line Museum.

Slate Clock

Slate Clock by Humprey O. Pritchard

The old Williamson/R.L Jones / Funkhauser Quarry was the very first commercial slate quarry in the United States. Slate was split here up until 1941 and was most productive between 1880 and 1910.  The water is about 150 ft deep.  This was home of the worst slate quarrying disaster in the US back in 1936 when 7 people died.

Peach Bottom Quarry

Current quarry which produce Peach Bottom Slate

A tombstone carved entirely out of slate. Tombstones were all carved by hand by Robert Evans, a slate carver who learned his skill as a young man in Wales.

Slate Tombstone

Tombstone made out of slate

You can find a membership link to the National Slate Association on their webpage and don’t forget to check out the finest slate tools on the Stortz Tool Website.