The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Other work at the yama

Underground Carpenter since the Meiji Era (1868-1912)
February 1965

Meiji Jidai yori Konai Daiku
[Underground Carpenter since the Meiji Era (1868-1912)]
38.2 x 54.2 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

Text at the Top Right
Though this worker was called a carpenter, he used timber only for ties (sleepers), or wooden air gates. He was also called a track-layer, who needed to be quick and perceptive of his surroundings to do this job. He was the boshin (supervisor) of underground day-laborers. He was considered a full-fledged underground carpenter when he became good at laying turnouts in makitates (the entrance from the slope to the level) or curved tracks with surases (guide rails and rollers).
The gauge of the track used at small and middle-scale coal pits (yama) was 53 cm while the one used at pits run by Nittetsu was 60 cm. There were two types of rail bender (jinkuro), one for horizontal bending and the other for vertical bending (tomomage or tenkomage). It was natural that as the rail became thicker, he had to use a bigger one.

Text at the Bottom Left
Square fishplates were bolted tightly on the joints of the rails in the main slope. Pine ties were 90-cm-long semi-cylindrical logs cut lengthways and laid to create a flat surface. Fishplates were not used on tracks in the levels of small-scale coal pits. At large-scale coal pits, each fishplate was cut in two, and each half was fixed between two rails, using its two holes.

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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