Coal Mining Technology

Figure 1.--The younger boys woirking in coal miners were usually employed on the surface. Even so the work was hard and dangerous for young boys. James O'Dell in 1910 was employed as a greaser and coupler on the tipple of the Cross Mountain Mine, Knoxville Iron Co. in the vicinity of Coal Creek, Tenn. James had been there 4 months. Here he pushes heavily load carts filled with coal that have just been brought up from the mines.

Coal minds in the 19th and early 20th century were underground and thus could not be seen from the surface. The structure at the mine mine or "pit head" that could be seen was the "tipple" and at a few mines, the "head frame." These surface mine structures were normally constructed along side a railway siding to facilitte the loading of the coal on rail hopper cars. The head frame was a a destinctive vertical structure which could be quite tall. There were large wheels at the top through which cables from a large winch were run into the mine. The cables inside the mind ran the "cage" or elevator which transport the miners down into the mine and lifted the mined coal from the workings to the surface. The mines varied in depth. Some coal seems ran at an angle toward the surface and thus did not need the large head frame structure and elevators required by deeper minds. The coal and waste rock was carried the surface in mine cars. The coal mind tipple was the large building that usually included a rotary dumper for emptying the mine cars for processing and the waste rock into skag piles. The coal was moved on conveyors to screens where it could be sorted, both by size and quality. Waist rock was removed by hand on a picking table.


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Created: 3:41 AM 2/3/2008
Last updated: 3:41 AM 2/3/2008