What is a lime kiln?

Is it a pottery kiln that has been painted or glazed with lime colours? Is lime syrup or lime pickle cooked in a kiln? Is it an oven for drying lime fruits? None of these are true.

Their job was to produce quicklime (agricultural fertiliser) by the calcination of limestone rock (calcium carbonate). Calcination of the limestone requires heating to around 900 degrees to remove moisture, to oxidise the rock, and to decompose carbonates and other compounds in the rock.

For more information and the process, have a look at the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJpZsvYygF8  You may be amazed, like I was, to understand how toxic and dangerous the process was. A terrible question passed through my mind – is this how third world countries are doing the work still?

The remnants of lime kilns can be found around Tasmania.

2 thoughts on “What is a lime kiln?

  1. marybuchananbailey

    I think the lime produced in the early days at these lime kilns was mainly used for mortar in the building industry. And while some used rock etc. along the coast and at ralphs bay they used oyster shells. They are very high in calcium and there are thousands of these shells left over out on marion point. In some places they just used the aboriginal abandoned middens.

    I am not sure when it also became a fertiliser.

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