* Separation of the rock from the quarry face (quarrying)
* Primary sorting and transport (grading)
* Working of the material
The quarrying was in the open air (not underground like in mines): the porphyry was separated from the face with levers of wood or metal, which were inserted in the natural strata of the rock, causing the fall of slabs. Explosives were rarely used.This material was sorted by manual labourers on the base of thickness and size; then it was transported in barrows or carts pulled by hand to the “work benches” to be worked.
Working with mallets, chisels and iron hammers, cubes, blocks and tiles of varying sizes were produced. The products were loaded by hand onto carts, pulled by mules, and then transported to the railway station of Trento. The 30s are characterised by technological progress, especially in the transport of raw and finished material, using iron carts on rails, cables and the first Lorries.
These were also the years when the use of explosives became the principal method for separating the slabs from the quarrying face, using the “mina a fornello” technique, which replaced the previously used methods. The use of explosives meant that a greater volume of rock could be quarried, producing larger quantities of raw material to be worked with less manpower. At that time all the production of porphyry in Trentino represented 70-80% of the national production.
In the early 60s the Local Council realised the importance of the porphyry to the local economy and this led it to favour local companies. The increase in the number of companies interested in the extraction and working of the porphyry combined with the expansion of the market (especially in central and southern Italy) led to a dramatic increase in production and a progressive improvement in the equipment and techniques of quarrying in the 1960s and 70s. These years saw a continuous growth in the use of machinery, mechanical buckets, lorries, pneumatic hammers.
At the beginning of the 1970s there was another phase of growth in this sector, with the setting up of new companies and the introduction of new machines, which cut the cubes and the tiles, as well as an increase in the mechanization of the quarrying phase and transport. At the same time the search was on for new, larger markets, towards Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and overseas towards Anglo-Saxons countries.
In the 1980s the machinery for working the material was renewed, workshops were modernized with more sophisticated machinery which enabled the production of a finished product of higher added value and significantly widened the range of products. As consequence of the expansion of the sector, companies introduced new and more complex organizational structures: Consortiums are developed to coordinate the quarrying activity of many small companies.