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There is very little industrial heritage in Córdoba for two reasons: Córdoba was never an industrial city, it never had much activity besides some agricultural factories. The second reason has to do with the location. The industrial areas needed to be close to city but could not be inside the city walls. Plus, since the winds in Córdoba blow generally from the West, to avoid fumes and pollution in the rest of the city, factories were placed only in the North and East (Ollerías Avenue and Ronda del Marrubial).Two chimneys are the Córdoba’s sole survivors, they outlived progress and city expansion throughout the XXth century. The most popular is known as the Chimeneón, or simply big Chimney, a vague memory of the olive oil industrial complex that Aceites Carbonell had next to the Malmuerta Tower.

There is, however, an other industrial remnant that is generally ignored. I am referring to the Shot Tower, which is whole complex itself. The production of shots needs but an empty tower.Most cities in the world have or have had a Shot tower. Those ones in Andalucía are very interesting, such as that in Sevilla, now transformed into a dark chamber that offers a spectacular view of the city. Or that in Almería, safekeeping anti-aircrafts shelters from the Civil War underneath. Or that in Linares, in Adra, Bailén…

The Shot tower in Córdoba dates from the XIXth century and it has recently been restored, it is a protected heritage of the city that can be accessed through Juan Tocino street. The tower was not outside the fortified wall like other industries, its production needed to be strategically placed inside to protect Shot production. Now, pay attention to where the windows are, the northern and southern facade have no windows at all, and the western facade has bigger windows than the eastern one, that tells us just how much the wind blows from the West.

How did a Shot tower work?

In 1782, British inventor William Watts registered a new technology to produce lead shots for ammunition. Shot towers could then replace the use of molds and plain water barrels. This new technique consisted on lead dripping from high altitudes so that the drop would be rounded and cooled by the mere fall resulting in perfect rounded shots. Melted lead, almost immediately, starts to drip like a tap when free-falling due to the Plateau-Rayleigh instability principle. The higher the tower the thicker the lead drops can be, thus the caliber of the shots. At the bottom of the tower there would be water to cushion the fall and cool the shots completely. In order to avoid steam, the temperature of the shot when reaching the water had to be lower than the boiling point, hence, the height of the tower is a guarantee that the lead shots would fully solidify.


 

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