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A History of Coal Mining in Great Britain

This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1882 edition. Excerpt: ... CHAPTER XXIII. MODERN MINING.--MEASURES OF SAFETY AGAINST EXPLOSION. The deep sinkings approaching to 300 fathoms made in the Great Northern coal-field, at Monkwearmouth, Seaham, Ryhope, &c, about the middle of the present century, have been followed by a still deeper range of sinkings, in which the pits of the Lancashire and Cheshire coal-field have taken the lead. Here the Astley deep pit at Dukinfield reached a depth of 350 fathoms in 1858; at Rosebridge, Wigan, a depth of 408 fathoms was attained in 1869; and more recently the new winning at the Ashton Moss Colliery, Audenshaw, near Manchester, has been carried down considerably further, the "Great Mine" coal having been sunk to on the 5th of March, 1881, at the depth of 448 fathoms. Coincidently with the deepening of the mines, a continual enlargement of the shafts has been going on; and while at the commencement of the century a diameter of 12 feet was considered a suitable size for pits of 100 fathoms depth, at the present day the Lancashire pits are being made 16 or 18 feet in diameter, to work the coal lying at depths of from 200 to 400 fathoms, and in a few instances even larger sizes have been adopted. The improvements in the mechanical engineering of collieries have more than kept pace with the increasing depth of the mines, and by means of powerful winding engines (reaching at times as much as 1,500 horse-power), acting directly on drums from 15 to 30 feet in diameter, coals are drawn at many important collieries at the rate of 100 tons or more per hour: the cage, with its load of four, six, or eight carriages, containing two or three tons of coal, travelling in the quickest part of its run at the speed of a mile per minute, or equal to that of an express train. Thus outputs...
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