The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Yama Children

Carrying Pickaxes and Cleaning Lamps
1964 - 1967

Tsuruhashi Hakobi, Rampu no Seiso
[Carrying Pickaxes and Cleaning Lamps]
25.5 x 35.6 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

Text on the Right
In the beginning of the summer of 1908, the electric lamp was introduced to K Coal Pit. It was the first pit to use them among pits run by Mr. Aso except those run by other larger coal mining companies. All the people in the pit were very much delighted at the news. Especially children danced with joy because cleaning of lamps which they had hated became unnecessary. The dynamo was used only for electric lamps in K Coal Pit and it was small. The row house called a naya (barn) for a family of pit workers had two extensions. They were very impressed by the 5-candlepower electric lamp as a benefit of modern civilization because it was brighter than the oil lamp and almost free from the danger of fire.
In the next year, 1909, a tramline was under construction in Fukuoka City and it was almost completed. The difference between the big city life and country life was very great.
Desk lamps had stands 60 cm tall or more and they were used in large boardinghouses called o-naya for unmarried male pit workers or in houses for executive officers of the pit.

Text on the Left
One of the daily routines for children in the coal pit was bringing tsuruhashis (pickaxes) from smithies (at pit mouths) to their houses. Quenching the tip of a pickax (repairing the tip of a pickax) cost 5 rin (0.005 yen), and putting steel on the tip of it cost 2 sen 5 rin (0.025 yen) to 3 sen (0.03 yen).
Another routine for them was cleaning of the oil lamp. Cleaning only the glass chimney was not enough. If the mesh below it was choked by dust, much soot was produced and the risk of fire increased. They also had to refill it with oil every other day.

Name on the Coal Tallies
Yamano [family name] Umizo [given name]

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

  Next pictorial record>>

1|2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 |   Next 10 Items>>