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 Post subject: Early Longwall Mining
PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:06 am 
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Location: SW Indiana
I recently picked up the book Geology of Coal - Drifts, Slopes and Shafts, Workings of Coal Copyright 1907.

It has tons of interesting information, but I was most intriguied to see a lengthy section of Longwall Methods. I had no idea that longwalling had been around that long.

I had assumed that longwalling started when the more modern machines had be invented, but this clearly demonatrates that they were using props a centruy ago.

Has anyone seen one of these first hand, obviously there are the roof fall issues.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 11:41 am 
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Location: Central Ohio
We have several original photographs in our Jeffrey archives that have these machines. Yep longwall has been around for a long time.

Now combine that with our short wall machines we have or coal cutters that are intended for room & pillar work. . .that is the basics of old Bituminous coal mining. I think we have a few of our shortwall machines that we have restored back to working order posted somewhere on the mining projects. We have 2 Goodman & (1) Jeffrey. . . .we just found a really small Jeffrey that we are trying to get. . . lucky if it weighs 800lbs. Our others weigh 6,000lbs. Coal cutters are still used today in several of the large scale mines. Not really used for mining coal but for installing cross cuts & safety zones for the miners to stand in on haualge ways. Not too many of these machines are around any more. Would love to see one in action though.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 12:11 pm 
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Location: Within 60 Miles of the Northern Anthracite Field
i know hudson coal co. experimented it early on in the 1900s at the coalbrook colliery in carbondale. the maps are pretty interesting to study. whats interesting is they only did the bottom 2 veins. you would think that would cause massive subsidence to the veins and levels above?

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 4:47 pm 
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I also know the Glen Alden performed some longwall in the 20's in the four foot bed at the Baker colliery. Chris you have that map also I believe ?


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 4:54 pm 
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Chris Dave Philbin told me about a formula they use to determine how far UP a roof fall would travel. Before it affected the surface. Wish I could remember it. Probably enough rock between the beds, that it was not able to work its way up. to the one above.That formula only applies to fairly flat veins, I presume where long wall could only be performed anyway ? Im guessing here. I believe it was 1 to 10. In other words if the area mined was only 2 feet high, a disturbance would travel only 20 feet. An opening 4 feet high would travel 40 feet, etc. before it affected the surface or vein above. Alot of variables, and still just guessing here.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 12:00 am 
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Location: West Virginia
The act of "longwalling" pre-dates room and pillar. Some Longwall style mines can be found prior to 1700's. The first Modern day longwall in the United States was Eastern Coal Stotesburry mine in 1960. The mine is located near Beckley WV.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 12:46 am 
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It is still there. . . .shut down but still there. I will try to find a few pics we have & post them.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 11:34 am 
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OK just so everyone has a visual of what the early longwall machines looked like. This one is a year 1915 model built by Goodman Mfg. of Chicago these units were designed with an optional horsepower of 35 or 50hp.

Image

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 12:27 pm 
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Location: Missouri
Longwall mining is thought to have started in Shropshire, England in the 17th century and spread to the Midlands Collieries in the late 18th century.
Pre mechanisation days was done with a "hewer" undercutting the coal face with a small pick, and then his helper would either pry the coal down or wedge it down and load it into large baskets called "corves" to be hauled away by young girls and boys to pit bottom.

As machinery became available, undercutting machines started appearing on the market, either an air operated or later electric operated wheel type undercutting machines were used. Turn of the 20th century, American made "chain bar" machines were imported into UK collieries, most were failures due to the coal and conditions being totally different to US mines.
Eventually the Mavor Coulson company and Anderson Boyes developed bar chain under cutting machines to work in UK conditions.
From cutters came machines that would completely cut the coal and load it, first of these was the Meco-Moore Slicer, which started as just a coal cutter then progressed as a cutter/loader. Started out sometime in the 1930's and was developed into a successful machine by the 1950's.
Next was probably the trepanner, a floor mounted machine with two trepan heads to core the coal and several short jib cutters to square the face up. That was a true power loader machine.
During the 50's Anderson Boyes produced a drum shearer, but it was not a power loader, ie, the coal had to be ploughed onto the conveyor. Many attempts to turn the shearer into a power loader.
John Anderton was the one credited with the "invention" of the power loader as we know it today, it still bears his name as "The Anderton Power Loader" Or simply the shearer.
I was luckiy, in that when I started in the industry, mechanised faces were pretty new to the industry and have seen many innovations taken for granted today.

That's just a "very brief" history of longwall mining, I've not even touched on how "conventional hand got" faces operated, or how "cyclic" machines worked in practice, or plough faces work, nor touched on roof support. Would take many hours of typing!


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