19811011020 | William Stafford (right), Dave McLean (left) and an unidentified man in front of the drift mine entrance with a new coal cutter, AB, 1886

 
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William Stafford (right), Dave McLean (left) and an unidentified man in front of the drift mine entrance with a new coal cutter, AB, 1886
1886, 19th century
Silver salts on paper
19811011020
This artefact belongs to : © Sir Alexander Galt Museum and Archives
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Keys to History

It's interesting to note that although Lethbridge sat "in the middle of nowhere" in those early years, the coal mines were equipped with the most modern machinery and equipment available. The Galt companies spent enormous amounts of money to keep their coal mines as up-to-date as possible. It was a trait shared by all of the larger companies that operated in the Lethbridge coal field during the eighty-three years that mining was carried on there.

  • What

    The Legg cutters were used to undercut the coal seam. Miners then placed charges of black powder to "shoot down" the coal. After blasting, the coal was loaded into cars to be moved out of the mine.

  • Where

    Charles Magrath bought several coal cutters in Columbus, Ohio. No distance was too great in the search for better mining equipment and machinery.

  • When

    The Legg cutters used in the first years of coal mining ran on compressed air. Within a few years, electric machinery and equipment began to replace compressed air in the mines.

  • Who

    William Stafford (right), Dave McLean (left) and an unidentified man are shown in front of a drift mine entrance with a new coal cutter, in 1886.