Artificially formed crystals of the various species of mica have been observed in furnace-slags and in silicate fusions.
In Wales and the south of England the process is conducted in a reverberatory furnace, the sole of which is paved with slags from previous operations, and has a depression in the middle where the metal formed collects to be let off by a tap-hole.
At this stage as a rule some rich slags of a former operation are added and a quantity of quicklime is incorporated, the chief object of which is to diminish the fluidity of the mass in the next stage, which consists in this, that, with closed air-holes, the heat is raised so as to cause the oxide and sulphate on the one hand and the sulphide on the other to reduce each other to metal.
While by the English and Carinthian processes as much lead as possible is extracted in the furnace, with the Silesian method a very low temperature is used, thus taking out about one-half of the lead and leaving very rich slags (50% lead) to be smelted in the blast-furnace, the ultimate result being a very much higher yield than by either of the other processes.
In making up a charge, the ores and fluxes, whose chemical compositions have been determined, are mixed so as to form out of the components, not to be reduced to the metallic or sulphide state, typical slags (silicates of ferrous and calcium oxides, incidentally of aluminium oxide, which have been found to do successful work).
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