The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Drainage and Ventilation

Gates Used Underground since the Meiji Era (1868-1912): Ventilation
February 1965

Meiji yori Mon: Tsuki
[Gates Used Underground since the Meiji Era (1868-1912): Ventilation]
38.1 x 54.3 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

Text at the Top Right
Mon was the only name used in the pit (yama) when miners referred to gates. It would have been optimal to have a gatekeeper placed at each gate. However, no gatekeepers were employed because of huge labor expenses. Large gates were built in levels, and small gates were built in coalface haulage ways. If not, canvas curtains were hung in some levels or slopes. These gate doors were designed so that they open and close semi-automatically. However, they frequently failed because miners roughly hit their mine cars against the doors of these gates. Therefore, miners often kept the gates open. That is why lots of miners working at the ends of headings choked and swam in smoke from lamps and blasting.
It was said that the lamp light or the safety lantern light would go out if carbon monoxide was around it. In such cases, miners would say, "Hi ga ikanu (The lamp/lantern doesn't work)." Additionally, an incense stick fire would go out in this gas. As the cap lamps nowadays do not go out in carbon monoxide, insensitive miners will not notice the existence of the gas at once. However, they can become aware of it because it smells, stings their eyes, and chokes them. Miners cannot be off guard against carbon monoxide, which is fatal. There is another nonfatal gas, which comes out of puddles, making bubbles like in boiling water as well as loud noises as if a coalface is collapsing. This gas causes a miner a headache if he/she works in it for a long time.

Text at the Bottom Left
The canvas curtain was stained with coal tar on purpose so that it might not be stolen. It was also stained with dirt from mine cars. What a beautiful noden [normally noren: curtain; originally a short shop curtain] it was!

Words in the Inset at the Bottom Right
Konaimaki keisha no bu: Gates of this type were used at inclined sections of underground slopes with tracks.
Subete mibako wa taiatari de akeru: All loaded mine cars push open the gates.
sumibako: mine car
2 inchi gasu kan: gas pipe 2 inches in internal diameter
mon-pi: gate door
gairo (normally gaido): guide

Words in the Inset at the Top Center
tembin bane: the lever and spring for opening and closing the gate
mon-pi: gate door
sumibako: mine car

Words in the Inset at the Top Left
kan-non biraki: folding double doors
Chotsugai ni bane ga iru: Springs must be installed in the hinges of this type of gate.
sumibako: mine car

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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