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> Issue 42 > Page 23 - Gordon Nash: DOSCO Miner Introduction

Page 23 - Gordon Nash: DOSCO Miner Introduction

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1986/6/1 (351 reads)

which did the same work with fewer men, they simply used those men somewhere else until they retired. They very seldom let anybody out. But it was a reasonable worry for a man to be concerned about. And in my opinion, the coal company made no serious effort to sell these things to the miners. They made no effort to say, '''If you will cooperate with us and reduce''the price of coai, we can increase how much we pay you, and we catfi employ more men," and things like this. Well, you never heard from the coal company end of it. (They never ad? dressed the men in that way?) No. (As a re? sult, I suppose, the men tended to see this as a danger to their job. Why do you think the coal company never expressed this clearly?) Because they have general managers who are accustomed to live on top of balance sheets. And they don't seem to understand that this is a political game. Nobody except the general manager or pres? ident can say things in a big company. So the people who could explain things, in most cases, were gagged. (You don't feel that the machines were put in there in order to reduce the work force. That that was an aim') Well, I'm sorry • I have to stay out of that--I'm just an engi? neer. It's like--if you've got a war, and I'm a doctor, and there's a wounded German, I've got to go and fix him up. I have no control over the political end. But in ac? tual practice, if you can reduce the price of the product, you can sell more of it. This is what happens in everything. (And therefore, protect the jobs that do exist.) That's right. (I think that much can be said.) Yes. (Has Harold Gordon been given due credit for the development of the Dosco Miner in any positive way?) Not that I know of, no. No. I feel he should beo But he would prob? ably resist it. What baffles me is, we need a little pride in this area, and here's something we did all alone. And yet we bury it and we're ashamed of it. (A recent labour historian called the Dos? co Miner "the Edsel of continuous longwall mining machines.") Yes, I heard that. (I think part of the reason that that comes a- bout, it's very clear from what you ex? plained, that it was a thing that was tested, tried, developed, and improved in the workplace.) Right. And it did have troubles the first year or so. (But the Ed? sel died a failure. What would you say a- bout the Dosco Miner?) Well, it was re? placed by a better machine. (But the Dosco Miner had 10 years' run.) Yes, that's right. It was a leading coal-getter. These people wouldn't have come to see it from Australia, Japan, France, England, if it hadn't been a leading coal-getter. They were interested in trying it themselves. (Was the Dosco Miner bought and used in other mines outside of Cape Breton Island?) No, not that I'm aware of. I think they sold one or two in Britain. But not other? wise. (But for 10 years it worked here, and in the bulk of those years, it was success? ful?) Yes. The company would not have had all their walls converted to Dosco Miners if they hadn't thought it was successful. And they had the figures, you know, the cost figures and everything else. Sure, it had breakdowns. (And they had the coal pro? duction figures, too.) Yes. And could com? pare it with what it was before. But you see, there were marketing troubles then. I'm given to understand that the big blow on the market was when the Canadian rail? roads decided to convert to oil--that was the big blow. And then the company tried to market a domestic furnace (downdraft), and it wasn't successful. I think it could have been, if they'd had a lot more time to work on it. But it wasn't successful. They had too many bugs in it. (But it was an attempt to get more coal used.) Yeah. Well, now, this building and all the oth? ers use oil. If that furnace had been suc? cessful, we could be using coal in this building. Maybe not as convenient, but it would be our own product. But nobody would say a nice word to the coal, company for trying to do that. And wasn't that some? thing to help business in general, things around here? You know? Even if they were unsuccessful. They wasted some of the shareholders' money trying to put some? thing on the go. (My understanding is that they tried the downdraft furnace a little too fast, I think, and they kind of had an embarrass? ment from it.) Yes, they did. Well, but you see, with these things, you say: tried too fast--you've got to be fast. The Joy Company used to tell me that the longest you can ever expect from a new design is a- bout 5 years. 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