Two days in Scranton

We came to Scranton for a family reunion for Steve's family, of which I am part. They adopted me. Visiting with the family has been great. In addition to spending time together we went to a coal mine tour–really fascinating in a gruesome way. This is the second coal mine tour I've taken. Both times I have constantly wondered about the conditions in Ireland and Eastern Europe that made people come here and take jobs in those mines. How horrible could those conditions have been, when it is preferable to work in an occupation where you would most certainly become ill for the rest of your life if you were not rescued by an early death. Children, as young as seven were sent to work in life-risking situations. Mules used to move the coal filled train cars were more valuable than the children. We forget the terrible working conditions that prevailed during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and how much labor unions have done to improve things for workers, although, as mine explosions in Chile and West Virginia have shown during the last year, the unions have not done enough.

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Going down into the mine and watching the light disappear.

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Coming out of the train in the mine.

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Our tour guide telling us about conditions in the mine. 

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Think about walking around down here with only the light from a lantern attached to a hat you were wearing. Then drill into the coal, set black powder or dynamite and run away before the charge explodes. 

 

One comment

  1. Buck Arunachalam · August 19, 2011

    Luckily for modern miners, safety training and equipment has been improving. No more canaries in cages and deadly gasses can now detected by sensitive gadgets. Compared to before, mining today is safer. But it is still very dangerous and safety procedures should be drilled into every miner’s head.

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