Stripping Coal at Hazelton, Pennsylvania

Special Collections > Keystone Slides
tiff scanned file from original glass slide
Most coal is mined by sinking a shaft either from the surface of the earth downward or into the side of a hill. Here, however, you see an exception. At Hazleton, the coal vein lies so near the surface of the earth that the easiest way to mine it is to remove the dirt overlay. The dirt so removed is called strippings. The strippings is done by the big machines, one of which you see at work in the middle distance at the left. These machines weigh almost 50 tons and remove great paths of earth. The strips are about 25 feet wide and 10 feet deep. You can see in the view where the machine began to work, and the amount of earth it has removed. You will also observe that the stripping has been removed much deeper directly in the center of the view. Here the layer of coal has been tapped. All this great mountain of earth on the left remains to be taken away. But it is cheaper to do this than to mine the coal underground. After the stripping has been removed, the coal is taken out from the top. In this way it can all be mined. In mining from shafts it is necessary to leave, at certain distances apart, supports of coal to hold up the ceiling. Pennsylvania coal beds are the most important in our country. Two kinds of coal are mined in the state, bituminous (b-t´m-ns) and anthracite (n´ thrå-st). The anthracite, or hard coal field, is rather small. It centers in three counties near Scranton. The bituminous, or soft coal beds, are largely in the western part of the state around Pittsburgh. These beds were discovered about 1790. But the coal was not used for many years because it was though that it would not burn. Coal-mining did not begin as a business until about 1820. Keystone ID: 20048 Note: All titles, descriptions, and location coordinates are from the original Keystone Slide documentation as supplied by the Keystone View Company. No text has been edited or changed.
Copyright by the Keystone View Company. The original slides are housed in McConnell Library's Special Collections.