Does anyone know what these are?
April 16, 2005 3:27 PM   Subscribe

Thanks to the Intolerable Beauty post, I followed a link to Edward Burtynsky's site, where I saw this. Does anyone know what the spheres in that picture are?
posted by Cranberry to Media & Arts (9 answers total)
i think they're lead weights, like for ballast or to keep something steady--sort of like what people use when making pie crusts.

(they're too irregular and differently-sized to be ball bearings, i think)
posted by amberglow at 3:45 PM on April 16, 2005

They look to me to be polishing spheres, and that large spiked drum device would be the tumbler. There's a mess of what looks to be various other polishing media strewn about the place.
I'm googling for a large size example, but can only find the type they use for smaller parts.
posted by Floydd at 3:52 PM on April 16, 2005

Who uses lead weights to make pie crust?
posted by odinsdream at 4:21 PM on April 16, 2005

people did for ages, altho now ceramic pie weights or beans are more popular.
posted by amberglow at 4:34 PM on April 16, 2005

Looks like a ball mill.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 4:56 PM on April 16, 2005

I second WGP. I'd even wager the photo was of a cement plant.
posted by Popular Ethics at 7:19 PM on April 16, 2005

Looking again at the URL I'd bet the photograph was from a closed cement plant near the Three Gorges Dam site. Googling, I found that, as part of modernisation efforts to build the dam, "China announced in 1999 that it would close thousands of small or antiquated cement operations. As many as 6,000 plants are slated to be closed, with 4,000 closures scheduled by the end of 2001."

OK, more information that you were looking for, but it would be neat to pin down the exact location, despite never having been there.
posted by Popular Ethics at 7:40 PM on April 16, 2005

There, I've swept the floor.

posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:51 PM on April 16, 2005

Thank you all for your input.
Amberglow, Floydd, Popular Ethics - thanks for helpful replies.
Odinsdream - the weights are to keep an empty pie crust - or shell - from bubbling in the cooking process. Some pies need the crust pre-baked. I am not a fervent baker, but even my pies do not have leaden crusts or taste like cement.
weapons-grade pandemonium - thanks for cleaning up. lol.
posted by Cranberry at 10:53 PM on April 16, 2005

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