The Development of the Coal Industry
As a beginning, workers had problems of lighting their work. Several
methods were used, none of them were particularly attractive. It was
not safe to light in a mine. They first used rotten fish, which gave
off a phosphorescent glow (besides the dreadful smell). Candles, which
exploded the methane flint mills, which produced sparks of light but
could also ignite the methane. After 1815, the Davy lamp was
available, but it cost money and employers were reluctant to buy them.
The risk of explosion was reduced by the invention by Sir Humphrey
Davy of a safety lamp in 1815 which meant that a miner could ...view middle of the document...
This allowed coal trucks through
but it also created a draught and it could shift a cloud a gas.
However, it was very ineffectual. It was also believed that a system
of trap doors might help to stop the blast of an explosion damaging
more of the coal mine. It was not until 1807 that John Buddle invented
an air pump to be used in mines, that the problem was eased.
3) Roof collapses
Several other improvements were made to improve the safety of miners.
Instead of leaving pillars of coal uncut in order to support the
ceiling of the galleries, wooden pit- profs began to be used in the
late 18th century. During this period, steel was mass- produced and
steel replaced iron. Pit- profs first made out of oak (wood) were
replaced by iron and then by steel.
4) Underground transport/transport to the surface.
Transporting coal underground was a real problem since it was heavy
and bulky; but it was still transported by human muscle power. Corves
of coal were pushed by women or young boys, but soon, they used Watt’s
rotative engine. It was a great improvement: no more women and girls
had to carry baskets up a...