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 Post subject: Requesting help in coal breaker research
PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 1:32 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:24 am
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Hello, all.

First, let me apologize for double-posting--I put this in another forum, but realized it would be better served here. :?

I am posting here to ask your help with a project I am creating--a personal "photo book" through "Shutterfly" online printing service. I'm sure you've seen these--you can get your wedding, vacation pics, etc, printed into a book by composing it online and ordering it.

I'm doing one of the Huber Breaker--its history and layout, and state of decay from the last few years; it's partly personal, part historical--a real labor of love for me. I've there a half-dozen times in the last few years and taken thousands of photos, and am using them to try to make a book that really details this significant historical structure. It's always been an iconic representation of the valley, and since I had relatives who worked in the Greenwood, Avoca colliery, I want to make something to show my young nieces and nephews what their great grandfathers and uncles did. And the fact that they're now scrapping it :( makes it all that more relevant.

Anyway, my question here is, can anyone help me in identifying and explaining how some of these key components worked? I've done a LOT of researching on the internet, and have thoroughly plundered the "HAEF" site with the big TIFF images, and even bought old mining catalogs off ebay, but I can't really figure out HOW these things worked, or what they did, or actually were, specifically.

If anyone can help me out with these, I would be endlessly grateful. I'd like to be able to make this project as informative as possible, but I"m hitting dead ends in my search. Hopefully, someone here can identify these images and tell me how they worked or what they did?

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Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!!


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 Post subject: Re: Requesting help in coal breaker research
PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 8:13 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 2:34 pm
Posts: 6906
Location: Within 60 Miles of the Northern Anthracite Field
Hey how's it goin? You should find some info posting them here. Never know whe will see them. Did you ever get a hold of Bill Best about these, he is on here now so maybe he will see them......

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 Post subject: Re: Requesting help in coal breaker research
PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 1:27 pm 
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Chris wrote:
Hey how's it goin? You should find some info posting them here. Never know whe will see them. Did you ever get a hold of Bill Best about these, he is on here now so maybe he will see them......
Hi Chris! :D Well I emailed Bill twice, but never heard back from him--don't want to be a PITA. Hopefully he'll see them here and share some of his knowledge about them.

Still hoping to get back up to the Huber before they start in on the breaker, proper. Just one more time before she's gone. Man, it's breaking my heart--they're really going a lot faster on it than I thought that would--they've just about razed the grounds. Check out this link from some kids that were down there just recently:
http://streetsdept.com/2013/12/09/exploring-ashley-pas-abandoned-coal-breaker/

Hope all is well with you. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Requesting help in coal breaker research
PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 1:40 pm 
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Location: Within 60 Miles of the Northern Anthracite Field
Yup, we were down there 2 weeks ago talking with the new owners. It's actually going to be kinda nice there when the grounds are all cleaned up and the breaker is still standing.....

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 Post subject: Re: Requesting help in coal breaker research
PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 4:34 pm 
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Chris wrote:
Yup, we were down there 2 weeks ago talking with the new owners. It's actually going to be kinda nice there when the grounds are all cleaned up and the breaker is still standing.....
Cool, Chris. I may be up in January some time. I"m sure it's going to be cool to see it all cleaned up, but I've always been a "rust n' dust"type of guy. I loved the character of it when it was all overgrown and looking like it came out of the old "Planet of the Apes" movie, lol.

Did they say if they were going to blow it, or how they were going to ultimately take it down? Any timeline yet? I"m going to be traveling a lot this summer, and really desperately want to be there when it goes down.


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 Post subject: Re: Requesting help in coal breaker research
PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:38 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2013 10:48 am
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Location: NE PA
The stainless tanks are for magnatite recovery as you suspected. The magnatite was used in the cones as well as the in great abundance in the Wilmot Heavy Media separators. Not sure what the red tanks were for except that they are near a jig used in the fine cooal section of the breaker. The Wilmot machinery was installed in 1962. We know this was the last of the washery upgrade as told to us by the late Evan Maddy from Alden, PA. He worked at Wilmot and installed the equipment and thereafter worked above the coal pockets below the fine coal section in the breaker. He showed me the light switches that turned on lamps at the corresponding pocket openings on the track level. He would shot the lights out when the pockets emptied out. He said it took a half hour from startup of the conveyor to get coal to the pocket area. Futhermore it took a half an our to stop the coal from coming from above.


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 Post subject: Re: Requesting help in coal breaker research
PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 11:09 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 2:34 pm
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Location: Within 60 Miles of the Northern Anthracite Field
I knew you would know something about that stuff. Bill, I bet this guy would like a tour there from us when he is in again. We can prolly arrange that if you're up to it.....

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 Post subject: Re: Requesting help in coal breaker research
PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 11:45 am 
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billyb wrote:
The stainless tanks are for magnatite recovery as you suspected. The magnatite was used in the cones as well as the in great abundance in the Wilmot Heavy Media separators. Not sure what the red tanks were for except that they are near a jig used in the fine cooal section of the breaker. The Wilmot machinery was installed in 1962. We know this was the last of the washery upgrade as told to us by the late Evan Maddy from Alden, PA. He worked at Wilmot and installed the equipment and thereafter worked above the coal pockets below the fine coal section in the breaker. He showed me the light switches that turned on lamps at the corresponding pocket openings on the track level. He would shot the lights out when the pockets emptied out. He said it took a half hour from startup of the conveyor to get coal to the pocket area. Futhermore it took a half an our to stop the coal from coming from above.

Cool! Thanks for the information, Bill! I love these kind of first-person anecdotes to flesh out the story of the Huber and its place in history! I sincerely appreciate you weighing in and posting!

Well, if I can push my luck and pick your brain...? I would love to get some more info on the things in these pics--do you, or anyone reading, have any opinion of info on this stuff? I hate to impose, but I really don't know where else to turn to ask at this point.

This thing is called a "Boney Coal settling tank", and was apparently fed by the smaller coal elevator--how did it work? Did it "rock" back and forth? Was it agitated in any way? It has screens in the bottom. How did it act to purify the coal slurry?

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This thing too--it's called a "Rice and Barley processing system" on the HAEF site. But what I can't figure out was, wh is it suspended on wires? And what did the motor do? I'm guessing it shook like on springer boards? Did the coal itself fall through the perforations in the bottom, or was that for the water/impurities to "shake off"? Is it just a "De-watering shaker"? (Sorry about the resolution on this photo)

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These weird, Dr Seuss-like machines mystify me--they're in the fine coal section, on the back side of the breaker. Any idea of what they could be?

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This was out in front of the breaker at one time---could this be a bucket from the old aerial tramway?

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And this was out near where the old #20 was recently uncovered---is this a mine rescue bucket of some type? Or a water dredge?

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It would be great if I could get some info on these--and any kind of "tour" or information when I come up next would be just fantastic. Let me know if you would be willing or able to arrange such a thing? :)


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 Post subject: Re: Requesting help in coal breaker research
PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 12:06 pm 
That last bucket looks like one that construction workers use to get cement up several stories so they can pour concrete floors.


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 Post subject: Re: Requesting help in coal breaker research
PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 2:00 pm 
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Miner Dave wrote:
That last bucket looks like one that construction workers use to get cement up several stories so they can pour concrete floors.
Really? Actually, that makes sense--the conical shape of the bottom. Boy that would have to have been sitting there since like, the 40's or so? Or maybe it's from when they built the newer retail pockets building?

Good call on that one! :D


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 Post subject: Re: Requesting help in coal breaker research
PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:41 pm 
miner doog wrote:
Miner Dave wrote:
That last bucket looks like one that construction workers use to get cement up several stories so they can pour concrete floors.
Really? Actually, that makes sense--the conical shape of the bottom. Boy that would have to have been sitting there since like, the 40's or so? Or maybe it's from when they built the newer retail pockets building?

Good call on that one! :D


Thank you. If you look closely at the opposite side of the bucket, you can see some residue of the cement from the last pour.


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 Post subject: Re: Requesting help in coal breaker research
PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:18 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:24 am
Posts: 24
Miner Dave wrote:
miner doog wrote:
Miner Dave wrote:
That last bucket looks like one that construction workers use to get cement up several stories so they can pour concrete floors.
Really? Actually, that makes sense--the conical shape of the bottom. Boy that would have to have been sitting there since like, the 40's or so? Or maybe it's from when they built the newer retail pockets building?

Good call on that one! :D


Thank you. If you look closely at the opposite side of the bucket, you can see some residue of the cement from the last pour.
Yup, you're right. I see that now...

Got any ideas on how the other things worked at all? :)


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 Post subject: Re: Requesting help in coal breaker research
PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:44 pm 
Not a one. If I saw them in person, I could probably work something out, but, alas, I'm here in Wisconsin, and I have no money to go out east to see Huber. BUT, the other bucket looks like it could be from a tram, as you suggested. The chain is certainly heavy enough, and the pivot looks pretty heavy-duty.


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 Post subject: Re: Requesting help in coal breaker research
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:02 am 
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Posts: 24
Miner Dave wrote:
Not a one. If I saw them in person, I could probably work something out, but, alas, I'm here in Wisconsin, and I have no money to go out east to see Huber. BUT, the other bucket looks like it could be from a tram, as you suggested. The chain is certainly heavy enough, and the pivot looks pretty heavy-duty.
Wisconsin? Oh man, here I thought you guys were all East Coast? :) Then again, I'm down in Charlotte, NC, now, so I know how life can take you away from "home". Still got the black blood of Pennsylvania anthracite running through my veins though!

Well thanks for your input here; I"m still hoping that someone will be able to help me identify and explain these devices. I hear that they're moving on the Huber a lot faster than anyone expected. The conveyor from the big retail pockets building is gone now; the smaller concrete retail pockets in front of the main breaker building is gone too.

Shedding a few tears here.... :(


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 Post subject: Re: Requesting help in coal breaker research
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:01 am 
Yep. I have Coal dust in my veins, but that is because I come from a railroading family. I also have some rust, because one of my relatives was an engineer for a big open pit iron mine, bringing the cars from the bottom of the pit to the top, and later working at the benefaction plant, making taconite pellets. My father is a "geologic formation relocation expert." Here in Wisconsin, we've got a few granite quarries in the central part of the state, and limestone quarries in my area, near Lake Winnebago. Some iron mines in the north, and a company is trying to start a new pit. I think I have some lead mining in me, too.


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