Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 42 > Page 17 - Gordon Nash: DOSCO Miner Introduction

Page 17 - Gordon Nash: DOSCO Miner Introduction

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1986/6/1 (476 reads)

Gordon Naish: Dosco Miner Introduction This article is meant to serve as an introduction to a much longer story we are working on • the story of the development of the Dosco Continuous Miner (a machine to cut and load coal) and its role in the Cape Breton coal fields. We are inter? viewing miners and management, engineering and maintenance staff. Gordon Naish offers here a kind of overview, and suggests some of the subjects lat? er articles will take up regarding a piece of ma? chinery that has been both praised and damned. In any case, the Dosco Miner made for major reorgani? zation of the work of mining, and it is a piece of machinery about which too little is known. I was a mining engineering salesman. I was interested in selling products which would make mining more convenient, less expen? sive, and safer and better for the men. At that time that I came to Cape Breton, they had already a number of what we call "coal cutters," which were really like big chain saws. And these undercut the long- wall face. The big change had happened be? fore I got here--that was the introduction of the longwall. They thought at that time--and it's subsequently been proved-- that it's the only satisfactory method for submarine mining. Because the other system (room-and-pillar) doesn't work. And also, longwall does have the advantage that you take out all the coal. Whereas room-and- pillar is something roughly like a checker? board- -you have to leave in, say', the black squares, in order to keep the roof up. With longwall, you let everything fall in behind you. This makes it a little tricky, but it's not that difficult. You take all the coal out. (When you arrived in Cape Breton the long- wall system had already been introduced.) Right. (The longwall system) was intro? duced around 1928 by a British mining engi? neer called Walter Herd. I never met him, but I always wished I could meet him, be? cause he must have had a great deal of nerve. Because he started this system which, if it didn't work, could have brought in the ocean. He was able to do this because, in Britain and Scotland, they had had quite a little experience with longwall operations. In many cases, (17)
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