Iron Miners
It is currently Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:19 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Information on mining before 1905.
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:43 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:26 pm
Posts: 9
Hello,
I am looking for any information (books, website, etc.), explaining the methods of mining used by individuals who made their own coal mines to meet local demand. I suspect that the methods and how they went about mining was completely different compared to that of industry mining at the time.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:50 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2005 12:41 pm
Posts: 2927
Location: Hard coal region, PA
:lol: you've come to the right place!

I assume you mean the independent mines, or "bootleg" mines? They were mostly developed after the downturn of the industry (1940s-50s-60s through present day). Theres not a whole lot of information on them other than talking to guys who have done it, or are still independently mining coal. The methods are pretty similar to colliery mining, except on a hugely smaller scale.. Generally no powered haulage, except on the slope.. only a few guys opposed to hundreds...

Anything you were thinking specifically?

Banks

_________________
This ain't longwall... this is long hole!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:09 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:26 pm
Posts: 9
I'm writing a book on the history of the Altoona, Alabama area. The first industrial operation didn't come to the area until 1900. I have an 1893 report that speaks about several "drifts", and pit that are operated by individuals. The report specifically says that they sell them locally for heating coal. What I'm really looking for is how an individual, would find a suitable location, start the mine, and mine his mine on his own, (coal mining seems a lot more skill intensive than gold mining). I would really like to convey this information to readers so they can have an understanding of how these early miners operated, and the dangers and toils they faced.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:44 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 6:51 pm
Posts: 1423
Location: SW Indiana
Coal veins often "outcrop" or break the surface. We can observed this in many of the Eastern Coal Regions. I assume it is also true in Alabama. Deeper reserves would have been discoverd by well-drillers drilling for water, or specifically for minerals.

While the outcrop is often thin it is an indicator of more extensive reserves deeper.

The landowner ( assuming they also owned the mineral rights ) would just go up to the side of the hill or mountain and with pick and shovel, load the first few tons of coal. Depending on their needs or market, they might or might not develope a true "mine".

If the mine operator was someone other than the landowner, they would have either purchased the land out right or negoitated the rigthts to the coal and the landowner would have retained the use of the surface land.

If they did develop it into a true mine, they would have used some method of timbering to support the roof or top.

A lot of the methods would have depended on how much coal they wished to mine and the resources of the mine operator. A mine could be one guy and a wheelbarrow, working a few yards underground.

The term "drift" indicates that the mine tunnel would have went straight into the side of the mountain. A shaft, which most people think of, is for deep mines and is vertical.

A research idea would be to contact your State Geologist or Mine Office. They might have maps of some old mines of the period. That will give you some ideas of how small a mine could be and the depth and thickness of the coal viens in your area. But, remember, the local farmers would have had coal holes that were too small to be recorded.

_________________
I don't have all the answers.
I don't even know all the questions!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 1:31 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:26 pm
Posts: 9
I have an 1893 report by the state geological association. The first mention of coal, is exactly what you mentioned, about it lying on top of the ground exposed and being mined in that way.“Many seams of coal are exposed in this region. Enough coal for home consumption is conveniently gotten from the beds of the streams, and hence it has not been sought for elsewhere."

Here are the other statements that were made, that I am wanting to elaborate on.

[i]“A seam was opened by Mr. Zach. Payne. It showed six feet of solid and apparently excellent coal. This is known as the Payne bed.â€


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 4:14 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 6:51 pm
Posts: 1423
Location: SW Indiana
mr_han_solo wrote:
The pit, and tunnel are the ones that I'm looking for more information on. I have tried doing research on this pit style of mine, but all I can find is modern pits. The tunnel is also interesting. I take it that when he says tunnel he is actually describing a drift mine?



The method of digging the pit would have changed. Horse/Mule powered slip shovels was one small scale method of moving dirt to investigate. A larger / deeper pit might have used a dragline or steam shovel. But the overall concept of open pit or strip mining has not changed. Think how a person might have dug a house basement in that period. A small coal mine would have looked very similar.

The Pit/Tunnel you describe sounds like the vein did not out crop, but was shallow under the flat bottoned hallow. So they dug a pit. As they removed coal, the vein may have run under the parallel hillside, making the dirt/ rock over the coal ( This is called overburden. ) too thick to remove with the methods they were using. So they may have switched to a drift style Undergound Mine.

Any mine using wooden timber for roof support will looked much the same. Be it an Anthracite ( Hard Coal ) mine in NE Pennsylvania. Or an 1870's Gold mine in the West.

As to conditions in the mine themselves. There is a link on the board somewhere to Van Wagner's Documentry "Hard Coal". The early scenes and methods shown there would be similar to what would have been used in your area too. The exception is Anthracite Veins are on an angle or "pitch" where your were most likely mostly flat.

_________________
I don't have all the answers.
I don't even know all the questions!


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group