“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Peach Bottom Township in York County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

The Slate Splitters

The Slate Splitters Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten
1. The Slate Splitters Marker
Inscription.  Slate has the unique ability to be split into thin layers from which roofing material is made. This is known as the "cleavage". Slate is actually mud that settled in layers to the bottom of an inland sea 400-600 million years ago and was subject to extreme pressure to harden it and to give it this property. Peach Bottom slate was formed during the Ordovician geological period (500 million years ago).

Splitting slate has long been considered an art. It is a job that looks easy but in reality it is difficult. No machine has ever been invented to replace the slate splitter. It has been done this same way for hundreds of years, using virtually the same tools.

The splitters were always the highest paid workers, and were the "aristocrats" of the quarry. Usually they worked in teams of two, known as a "block". One worker did the splitting,the other did the trimming or "dressing", to make the proper size slates. Their wages were $1.50-$2.00 a day (1880).

Today you are witnessing a dying art. There are very few slate splitters still working in the United States.

Top Photo
Slate splitters at Funkhouser Quarry, c. 1930's


The Slate Splitters Home image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten
2. The Slate Splitters Home
Click or scan to see
this page online

Splitters, Dressers and Quarrymen at Proctor's Quarry, c. 1895. Note the stacked roofing slates. This was known as the slate "bank".
The Old Line Museum
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1895.
Location. 39° 43.488′ N, 76° 18.479′ W. Marker is in Peach Bottom Township, Pennsylvania, in York County. Marker is on Green Road 0.1 miles east of Ridge Road, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 28 Green Road, Delta PA 17314, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Welsh Slate Quarrymens' Cottages at Coulsontown (here, next to this marker); The World Famous Peach Bottom Slate (here, next to this marker); The Welsh Immigrants (here, next to this marker); Dedicated to the honor and sacrifice (approx. one mile away); Mason-Dixon Line (approx. 1.9 miles away); Peach Bottom Slate Region (approx. 2.2 miles away in Maryland); The Canal Community (approx. 5.2 miles away); The Canal Boats (approx. 5.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Peach Bottom Township.
More about this marker. Left to right:
"The Welsh Immigrants" plaque,
"Welsh Slate Quarrymens' Cottages at Coulsontown" plaque,
this ("The Slate Splitters") plaque.
On reverse side:
"The World Famous Peach Bottom Slate" plaque.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 20, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 26, 2020, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 72 times since then and 17 times this year. Last updated on April 15, 2021, by Carl Gordon Moore Jr. of North East, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 26, 2020, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.

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May. 11, 2021