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THIRD BITUMINOUS DISTRICT.
(ARMSTRONG, BUTLER, CLARION, INDIANA, JEFFERSON, LAWRENCE,
MERCER, WESTMORELAND AND BEAVER COUNTIES)
Mercer, Pa., March 12, 1896. Hon. James W. Latta, Secretary of Internal Affairs:
Sir: I herewith submit my annual report as required by the 11th section of article X of the bituminous mining act, approved May 15, 1893, for the year ending December 31, 1895.
There were seven persons lost their lives in this district during the year, being a decrease of two in this class of accidents as compared with that of the year 1894. There is an increase, this year of eleven in the number of non-fatal accidents as compared with the year 1894. This is a more favorable showing as far as the number of deaths is concerned, yet it shows more favorably when we take into consideration that the coal tonnage has increased, this year, six hundred thousand tons over that of 1894.
At least two of those fatal accidents resulted from gross careless ness. Both Anthony Bowser and James Shering had been warned of their danger just previous to the accidents having occurred. Bow ser had been advised by his partner the day previous to the accident not to attempt taking out the pillar of coal in the "gob” as he considered the roof was in too dangerous a condition to do so. Shering had been told by the mine foreman on the morning that he lost his life of the dangerous condition of the "top" coal in his room, and was advised to take it down, but in both instances the friendly counsel was not heeded.
The following table shows the number of fatal and non-fatal accidents and their causes:
The following is a summary of the statistics as compiled from the ofticial returns to this oflice from the operators of the district for the year: Number of mines in the district,
81 Number of miners (men and boys),
4,954 Number of “day men” employed inside of the mines including mine foremen and trapper boys,..
749 Number of “day men” employed outside of the mines,. .
Total number of employes,
Number of short tons of coal produced in 1895,..
1995, Average number of days worked at sixty-five of the
464.992 + 141,519+
Some improvement has been experienced in the coal trade in the district this year, as compared with that of last year as is evident from the increased tonnage, although a large number of the mines of the district were not in operation more than one-half time, in fact. Fairbank, Foster, Apollo Kittanning, Gosford, Monarch, Cherry Run and Shenango mines were not in operation at all during the year.
Where the mines are being operated reasonably steadily, their sanitary condition is all that could be desired; while at the mines where much broken time has been experienced, I find a disposition among the nine officials to neglect the small details which are always necessary to be attended to to insure efficient ventilation and good drainage. The mines generally are in a very satisfactory condition.
A detailed description of the mines is given, also the necessary tables, which give the general statistics of the district, etc., accompany this report. All of which is respectfully submitted,
Your's very respectfully,
THOMAS K. ADAMS.
DESCRIPTION OF MINES.
Mines in Armstrong and Clarion Counties Situated on the Allegheny
There are ten mines in operation along this railroad, and four others (Gosford, Kittanning, Rimerton and Monarch) have been idle during the whole year. Two of these mines were in operation nearly full time during the year; six about one-half time, and the two others about one-third time. There have been no strikes in this region during the year and what idle time has occurred at these mines has been through lack of contracts.
Church Hill.—This mine when last examined by me on October 22, had just changed ownership; the Horner brothers having purchased the interests of McCollum and Greenlee of Oil City who had been operating the mine for a number of years. On this date the mine had been running only part of the day and the fire not being kept up in the furnace in the afternoon (at which time of the day my examination took place) the ventilation was not of sufficient volume for such a mine, as I measured only 3,300 cubic feet of air in circulation and it was nearly all lost through leakage before it reached the face of the workings. Otherwise the mine was in only fair condition.
The new company was making preparation for the building of a new ventilating furnace.
Mineral Ridge.-When this mine was last examined by me it was done between the hours of 4 and 6 o'clock p. m., consequently the furnace fire had been dampened and the current of air was not as strong as it would otherwise have been had the fire been in its usual condition, as is the case during the earlier parts of the day. I measured :3,600 cubic feet of air in circulation near the face of the workings. The drainage of the mine was splendid and its other general conditions good.
Eagle Mine.-.At my last visit to this mine I examined it at about 7 o'clock a. m. A fire had not been kindled in the ventilating furnace but I found a fair natural current of air in circulation. A few more doors should have been erected to properly convey the ventilation to the face of the workings. As this is a comparatively new mine all that was needed to have it in a proper condition, was for the mine officials to have the details attended to. I measured near the face of most of the works 3,200 cubic feet of air in circulation. The drainage was good.
Catfish Run.--This mine was found to be in very fair condition generally. The ventilation was in ample volume which was very well distributed throughout the workings, except in No. 4 right buit entry where I found three or four miners working in rooms ahead of the air current. I measured 10,500 cubic feet of air in circulation in the mine. Also the drainage of the mine was reasonably good.
Hardscrabble.--I measured about 10,000 cubic feet of air being distributed to the face of the works in two separate currents. The general condition of the mine both in regard to ventilation and drainage was very fair at my last visit.
Riverview.-I measured 17,860 cubic feet of air in circulation in this mine which was being well distributed to the face of the works, and was of suflicient volume for the proper ventilation of the mine. The drainage was fair, except in one of the west butt entries where quite a number of the rooms in it were under water owing to the seam dipping rapidly at that point. Taking the mine as a whole it was in very fair condition.
Pine Creek.At the last visit to this mine it was not in operation on that day, but I examined the workings and found them in very safe condition. The drainage was good. A "second opening" has been provided during the year; an air shaft has been sunk and a new ventilating furnace is being erected.
Glen.—This mine was very poorly ventilated at the time of my last visit. There was a large quantity of air in circulation but it was not conveyed to the face of the workings. This mine is being worked on the single entry plan which necessitates theair current being conveyed through the rooms by closing the mouth of the rooms with doors, but owing to the roof squeezing in some of the butt entries, these doors had been squeezed out of their proper positions, hence all the air leaked at the doors before reaching the head of the entries. The men who were working ahead of the air current were ordered to stop work until such defect was remedied. The mine is perfectly dry.
The Mines Located on the Low Grade Division and the Sligo Branch
of the Allegheny Valley Railroad. There are still ten mines located in this division of the district. This was the case last year with the Cherry Run mine, and it remained idle nearly all of the present year. Keystone mine is about ex hausted and is not now under the requirements of the mining law, as they are employing fewer than ten miners. The Fairmount Nos, 2 and 3, Oak Ridge, Star and Brier Ridge mines were operated very steadily during the year, while the others in this section experienced much idle time.
Brier Ridge. At what is known as the "Old" opening I found that the air current was not kept near enough to the face of the butt entries and the mine oflicials were disposed to open out rooms ahead of the air current. There was a large quantity of air in circulation but it was not properly taken care of. I called the mine foreman's attention to the defects in the ventilating arrangements. foot diameter fan has been erected at this opening during the year. I measured about 18,000 cubic feet of air in circulation in the mine. The other conditions at this opening were reasonably good. At the “New” opening the drainage was defective but the pillars of the mine were being taken out preparatory to abandoning it. The ventilation was fair, having measured 6,600 cubic feet of air in circulation for the thirty men employed therein.
Acme.—This mine has been in operation only about one-half time during the year. At date of my last visit it had just started up after an idlesness of several months, and I did not find it in as good a condition as it would have been if it had been in operation steadily. The water had not all been pumped out of the mine and it was yet over some of the entry roads. I measured about 12,250 cubic feet of air in circulation which was being fairly well distributed to the inner workings of the mine.
Avondale.—A bad squeeze had overrun the main hauling ways of the mine and work had to be abandoned for some considerable time, but these passageways have been reopened lately and the mine is now being operated with a limited number of miners. This inine in the past has always been kept well up to the requirements of the law as regards ventilation and drainage, but owing to the difficulty which has been encountered, it is not in as good a condition as it would have been had the squeeze not taken place.
Oak Ridge.—This mine, as usual, is in first class condition generally. Drainage is well maintained while the total volume of air is sufficient for the proper ventilation of the workings. At the two openings I measured 49,000 cubic feet of air per minute in circulation.
During the year a new "drift” has been opened at which a fan six feet in diameter was erected. This mine has been equipped with an endless rope haulage system by which the coal is brought forward from the mouth of the drift to the top of the old inclined plane, a distance of over three thousand feet. The method employed to bring the train of mine wagons from the drift mouth to top of the inclined plane, is that the trips are hitched to a truck upon which a “grip” is constructed, the “grip” being tightened around the rope by means of a lever worked by the man on the truck who rides with the trips of loaded cars.
Fairmount Nos. 2 and 3.--These mines, considering the difficulties continuously met with from the excessive quantity of water which is being encountered from the upper coal seam, and from the "faulty."