The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Transport (outside the mine), Coal Sorting

Transport Men Pulling up Mine Cars with a Rope
April 1965

Saodori no Ropuhiki
[Transport Men Pulling up Mine Cars with a Rope]
38.2 x 54.4 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

This painting shows a scene at S Coal Pit run by Mr. A, which was opened in 1896.
Even at pits with gentle slopes underground, slopes near pit mouths were made very steep in order to wind up mine cars as quickly as possible. These parts were about 30 to 50 meters long, inclining more than 25 degrees.
Mine cars suddenly slowed down or sometimes stopped when they were wound up and reached the steep parts of slopes (hashirikomi). It was because boiler pressure used to move winding machines was too low. Since second class washed coal was mainly used for boilers, boiler pressure would not rise enough even if stokers worked as hard as possible in a sweat. The lack of high-calorie coal for boilers was a serious problem.
In such cases, stokers temporarily used good high-calorie coal just as we have good cooked rice. Meanwhile, all of the transport men at the trestle of the pit sometimes pulled up mine cars with a rope. With the help from these men, mine cars slowly started to move and came out of the pit mouth like a chain of snails.
There was such an easygoing pit in the old days.

Description of the Inset at the Top Right
Idler wheels were necessary also when electric winding machines were used.
yudo yagen: idle sheave
maki shitsu: winding machine station

Description of the Inset at the Top Middle
This figure shows a boiler called a rankyo-gama (shallot-like boiler) with a single furnace, which was five or six feet in diameter and more than five meters long.
This is a low-pressure type boiler and ones with a double furnace appeared in the latter half of the Meiji era (1868-1912).

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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