The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Drainage and Ventilation

A Pump Man in the Middle of the Meiji Era (1868-1912)
1964 - 1967

Meiji Chuki Pompukata
[A Pump Man in the Middle of the Meiji Era (1868-1912)]
38.0 x 54.2 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

Text on the Right
The first pump station at the bottom of a coal pit (yama) was called the tsuboshita and the second intermediate station was called the chudan or daini. The subsequent pump stations were called by their numbers starting with the third.
Large pumps were installed in tsuboshitas to pump up and send spring water out to distant places. The Evans Water Pump was introduced in the late Meiji era to raise the efficiency in pumping. Special water pumps used before then frequently failed and gave out, and worried pump men very much. The Evans steam engine water pump was equipped not only with an improved engine slide valve, but also with an improved water suction cylinder. Their water suction cylinders, more than 10 inches in diameter, had improved rubber valves. Wooden roller valves and hemp rope packing for old pumps became unnecessary after they were replaced by brass roller valves and leather packing. Such improvement made the pump men's work easier and safer.
Water pumps used at coal pits run by Mr. Aso had water suction cylinders of a maximum of 18 inches in diameter. However, around 1917, their Kaminoura Coal Pit had one with a 24-inch cylinder and their Tadakuma Coal Pit had a Worthington Water Pump with a 70-inch cylinder. All of them were used at the bottoms of the pits.

Text at the Top Left
During normal operation of the water pump, exhaust steam was sent back through the water suction pipe and the water temperature in the tsuboshita heated up to more than 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit). The pump man wore only his loincloth, all covered in sweat.

Chinese Characters Tattooed on the Pump Man's Left Upper Arm
dairiki: great power

Words in the Figure at the Bottom
gomu barufu (sic: normally barubu): rubber valve
supindoru: spindle
oshiage: pushing up
suiage: sucking up

Words on the Left Side of the Figure at the Bottom
The red parts are meshes. The white pads on them are rubber valves.

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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