Welcome (Céad Míle Fáilte!) to Small-leaved Shamrock

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The way down under: Pottsville miners and their pit car

The life of an anthracite coal miner was messy, dangerous and tiresome. I'm glad that someone took the time to take a photograph like the one on this postcard below, giving us a glimpse into the lives of these hard-working men in Pottsville.

The men are posing in what was known as the "pit car". According to the Cherry Coal Mine Disaster website's glossary, this type of car was "a small railroad-type car approximately 6' x 3' in size, used to haul coal, dirt and rock". It was also used to transport the miners to their dark workplace below ground, as you can see here.

This postcard has been submitted to the 1st edition of the Festival of Postcards Carnival to be published at Evelyn Yvonne Theriault's A Canadian Family blog. Visit for more postcards with the theme: Wheels.

This image is taken from a vintage postcard (date unknown) courtesy of USGenWeb's Penny Postcards website.

6 comments:

Judith Richards Shubert said...

Great postcard! They had to use a lot of strong wheels to carry those pit cars up and down over and over filled with they cargo. I can't imagine those little lamps on the men's helmets put out much light! Thanks for posting this.

Sheila said...

Mining is such a very hard life. A very interesting card and post.

jake smith said...

My father was involved in pit car acccident that killed three of five men at the Potts Collery in Locust Dale, PA in the 1930's or 40's. The men were riding in the pit car to the surface at the end of their work shift. The pit car was suddenly jerked off the rails by the cable pulling the car to the surface. The pit car continued upward with the car being dragged on the rail bed and cross ties. The men jumped out of the pit car fearing that it would be disconnected from the cable. Unfortunatedly three of the five me rolled to the bottom of the mine shaft and were killed as a resuly of the fall. My father and one other miner became trapped between rocks and the side of the mine shaft which saved their lives. My father never forgot the sight of the miners head lamps as the miners tumbled down the mine shaft to their deaths. He said that he knew that another miner had survived above him when he heard the miner praying in Polish. My father bore an arthritic hip from the accident with him until his death from miner's asthma almost 60years later.

Lisa said...

Thanks so much for sharing your father's story, Jake. What an incredibly sad and painful experience that must have been for him.

Miners faced so many hazards in their line of work - it is always amazing to me that more did not perish early in their lives. I'm sure that Small-leaved Shamrock readers will understand a little more of the dangers of the mining life by reading the story that you shared. Thanks for reading and taking the time to write.

Lisa

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

I've just been revisiting the first Festivals of Postcards and wanted you to know that this is still one of my favourite postcards that I've seen yet.
Evelyn in Montreal

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

I've just been revisiting the first Festivals of Postcards and wanted you to know that this is still one of my favourite postcards that I've seen yet.
Evelyn in Montreal

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails