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Coal & Coal Mining
History & Genealogy
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Flooded Pits
Northern Illinois Coal Corporation
March 19, 1948
      These 2 photos were taken March 19th 1948 , they are from Pit 12 (now the South Wilmington Firemen's Club)
      The Mazon River ran over it's banks and flooded Pit 12, submerging a Marion 5480 Dragline and a Marion 5480 shovel also called a "Mucker".
Flooded Strip Mine Pit 12B
In the foreground of this photo you can see the raging Mazon River.
Flooded Strip Mine Pit 12A
This photo, taken some time later, the water has receded about 10 or more feet down.

      Twenty years later the river broke into the next pit to it's north Pit 16, The pit 16 was about 1 mile long, 70 feet deep and 150 feet wide at the top and about 70 feet wide down in the pit. It took less then 5 minutes to fill the pit to the surface of Rt. 53 . After some of the Marion 7800 dragline's motors were returned and put back in and all the electrical components dried out they made a new Box cut and dug a new pit, it took over 2 months to pump out the flooded pit .
      Nick Koba, Jr.' states : "I know there were photos taken of this flood also but can't find them, I hope someone who see this that has photos of the 1968 flooding will contact us." ~~ Contact Nick Koba, Jr.
These 2 photos belonged to Anton Berta of South Wilmington, a Northern coal Miner from the 1940's
                  Photographs courtesy of Nick Koba, Jr. 1

Bucyrus-Erie 2560-W Dragline
Bucyrus-Erie 2560-W Dragline
Photograph courtesy of Karl Bliss 2
      There was only 2 of these units manufactured.
They were manufactured in 1969 for Peabody Coal Company.
This unit was located in the Farmington, Illinois area.
      This machine weighed 4,825 tons and had 22 DC motors totaling 21,000 horsepower.
This machine had a boom length of 295 feet and the bucket was rated at 85 cubic yards.
This information came from Bucyrus-Erie.

Hoist assembly at the New Orient Mine No. 2
Franklin County, Illinois
Hoist assembly at the New Orient Mine #2
Photograph courtesy of Nick Koba, Jr. 1
      The mine was operated from 1922 to 1960 they mined over 61,107, 440 tons of coal over that period .
      On the night of December 21, 1951 4, at 7:38 p. m., an explosion occurred at the New Orient No. 2 mine of the Chicago, Wilmington and Franklin Coal Company located at West Frankfort, Franklin County, Illinois. The explosion was responsible for the death of 119 men.
      See : Explosion at Chicago, Wilmington & Franklin Coal Company, Orient No. 2
Orient Coal Mine No. 2 3
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County - Township 7 South, Range 2 East, Section 13, NW SE SW
Underground Shaft Mine at a depth of 480 to 500 feet with a coal seam thickness of 8 feet to 12½ feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
New Orient, Orient Coal Mine No. 2   Chicago, Wilmington & Franklin Coal Company   1922 - 1959
Orient Coal Mine No. 2   Orient Number Two Coal Company   1959 - 1960
The last production was reported on November 30, 1960.

Ten Mile Walk
Marion 5560 shovel and Bucyrus-Monigan 5-W dragline
Photograph courtesy of Nick Koba, Jr. 1
      1950   Marion 5560 Shovel followed by a Bucyrus-Monigan 5-W Dragline
on a 10 mile walk from Pit #9 North of Coal City to Pit # 11 south of Braidwood - Northern Illinois Coal Mine
Marion 5560 Shovel
      Built in 1935
      The first built -1550 tons - 105.5 ft. boom - 64 ft. dipper - 32 cu. yd. bucket later increased to 35 cu.yds.
      It was dismantled and finished it's life at Peabody Coal Company's Tebo Mine in Missouri

Type 5561 Marion Shovel
Type 5561 Marion Shovel
Photographed in 1955
Photograph courtesy of Karl Bliss 2
- - - - -       - - - - -       - - - - -
5561 Marion Shovel 2

This model was first introduced in 1940.
This machine had a 35 yard bucket and was the first machine to use Marion's revolutionary knee-action crowd mechanism.
This machine was the largest stripping shovel built to date.
This machine had a weight of 1,675 tons.
This machine was owned by Midland Electric Coal Corporation and was located somewhere around the Farmington, Illinois area.

Type 5761 Marion Shovel
? 954-WX Bucyrus-Erie Bucket Wheel Excavator
Type 5761 Marion Shovel
Photograph courtesy of Karl Bliss 2
Photographed in the 1980s
      Type 5761 Marion Shovel & what is believed to be a 954-WX Bucyrus-Erie Bucket Wheel Excavator
      I am not completely sure but I believe this machine was dismantled from another mine and re-assembled at Farmington after the high wall collapse in 1964. [ Farmington, Fulton County, Illinois ]
- - - - -       - - - - -       - - - - -
5761 Marion Shovel 2

Manufactured by the Marion Power Shovel Company.
This machine was shipped from Marion, Ohio in December 1960 to Farmington, Illinois.
The cost of the machine was $3,433,484.00.
The machine operating weight including ballast was 6,562,000 pounds.
The blueprints showed the machine had a total height of 158.5 feet.
The boom length on this machine was 170 feet, also the bucket was listed at 65 cubic yards.
According to the spec sheet the alternate current driving motors total horsepower was listed at 5000 horsepower.
      This info is from copies of the originals from the Marion Power Shovel Company. These copies were obtained a couple of years ago from the Historical Construction Equipment Association of Bowling Green, Ohio.
This organization obtained much of Marion's paperwork when they were bought out by Bucyrus Corporation.

Krupp Bucket Wheel Excavator
Krupp Bucket Wheel Excavator
Photograph courtesy of Nick Koba, Jr. 1
      The Krupp Bucket Wheel Excavator was built in 1962 at a cost of $6,000,000.
      It was 156 feet tall and 468 feet long.
      It operated at the Northern Coal Mine near Braidwood, Illinois until 1972, then it was dismantled and sent to the River King Mine near Linzburg , Illinois.

Dogs used in Coal Mines
Dogs in Coal Mine
1903 Annual Coal Report 5
Dogs Employed in Mines for Hauling Cars.
McDonough County, Illinois

      In McDonough County mines 31 dogs are employed for drawing empty and loaded cars of coal to and from the mines, to the bottom of the shaft or to the mouth of the drifts.
      On one of my visits to the mine of Rippetoe and Rundle, at Colchester, I was very much interested in observing the intelligence exhibited by one of these animals. The driver with his dog was returning from the bottom of the shaft, the dog drawing an empty car, on arriving at the summit of the hill, the dog, without any instruction, jumped into the car and rode with the driver down the incline to the level below, arriving at the bottom the dog jumped out of the car and palled it up the grade on the opposite side to the working face.
      I am unable to classify the different kinds of dogs that are in use at these mines. Above is shown a mastif hitched to a car of coal, which it has just drawn out of the mine.
      I do not esteem so highly, the value of dogs, in consideration of their mere usefulness to the miner or to the operator, as I do other domestic animals : the horse, pony and mule; yet the dog to a greater degree beyond that of any other animal, has become the humble friend and companion of man, seeming actually to have knowledge to be delighted with the joys, or, to sympathize in the sorrows, of his master. On this account it is, that he is alike "The pampered minion of royalty and half starved partaker of the beggar's crust."

Picking Table Screen
coal picking table
1913 Annual Coal Report 6
Picking Table Screen
Marion County Coal Company
Junction City (near Centralia), Marion County, Illinois

      A radical departure from existing methods of preparing coal was made during the year by this company in the installation at Junction City mine, near Centralia, of a Marcus patent picking table screen. This may be described as a shaking screen which, instead of standing at an incline, is placed perfectly level. The peculiar motion imparted to this screen causes the coal to move steadily forward. The screening is done on the upper deck in the manner usual to shaker screens. A lower deck is provided on which the material that has passed through the perforations advances. Valves in the lower deck permit the distribution of the sizes to the various cars. The larger sizes traveling forward on the upper deck at a speed of about 40 feet per minute. In this way all rock and foreign matter is clearly exposed to view and can be picked out by hand. This is work which heretofore has been attempted by the trimmers on the cars with very indifferent results. By means of this Marcus the lump coal can be as carefully cleansed of foreign matter as the finer sizes can be by washing. The installation of this screen marks a long step forward in the preparation of the larger sizes of coal.

Sources :
1 Photographs and information; courtesy of Nick Koba, Jr.
2 Photographs and information; courtesy of Karl Bliss
3 ISGS Index No. 366
                Coal Mines in Illinois, Franklin County, West Frankfort Quadrangle
                Illinois State Geological Survey, 615 East Peabody Drive, Champaign, IL. 61820

4 Seventieth Coal Report of Illinois, 1951
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois
5 Twenty-Second Annual Coal Report, 1903
                Illinois Bureau of Labor Statistics, Springfield, ILL.; Phillips Bros., State Printers, 1904
6 Thirty-Second Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1913
                State Mining Board -- Springfield, Illinois; Illinois State Journal Co.. State Printers, 1914

Coal & Coal Mining in Central Illinois
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