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Coal Miners in the Past

Coal Miners in the Past

Lone Miner

A lone miner enters the mouth of a slope mine. Mines were supported solely by wooden timbers in the past. While modern roof bolting technologies are used today, wooden supports are still used in coal mines.

Miners Set Timbers

Miners set timbers to support the mine roof. This was back-breaking work, but was necessary to ensure the main passage ways would remain passable.

Miners Push Coal

Two miners push a coal car out of the mine.

Boys Working

While these boys may look to be "dressing up" like dad, they are not at play. Many boys accompanied their fathers into the mines at the turn of the century to perform "dead work" for which the miner was not paid. The boys pictured here worked in Wyoming mines during World War I to help their fathers supply coal to the war effort.

Mine Worker

A miner uses a hand drill to prepare a hole for setting an explosive charge to dislodge the coal.

Miners Load Coal

After blasting the coal, miners hand load coal into the coal car. Miners were paid by the ton.

Breaker Boys

Young "breaker boys" were often used to pick slate from anthracite coal. They often shared this job with disabled older miners who were forced by poverty to continue working.

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