34 Vintage Photos of Pennsylvania Coal Miners at Work in 1942

In 1942, Office of War Information photographer John Collier visited the Montour No. 4 Mine of the Pittsburgh Coal Company in Washington County, Pennsylvania.

Montour No. 4 was a mine for bituminous coal, one of the most volatile forms, requiring the miners to vigilantly monitor for the presence of flammable gases.

Collier followed the miners as they moved underground through the near-horizontal drift mine, laying track for machinery, drilling and blasting with dynamite, all the while maintaining caution for possible collapses or explosions.

Miners prepare to ride down into the mine.
A helpful sign on a safety door.
Miners pick up safety lamps from the lamp room.
A miner tests for the presence of flammable gas using a safety lamp.
Miners install timber supports.
Miners adjust a block signal.
Miners drill a hole for blasting.
A miner detonates a stick of dynamite.
Miners break for lunch in the machine shop.
A miner tests for flammable gas using a safety lamp.
A mechanic.
A miner tests the stability of the tunnel roof.
A section of the mine with an unusually high roof due to poor ceiling quality.
Miners lay track for machinery.
Miners pull down an unstable roof.
Miners operate a machine for gathering coal.
Miners drill a hole for blasting.
Mechanics repair equipment.
The section foreman and assistant mine superintendent review the day’s work.
The mine foreman waits for the afternoon shift.
Mine engineers check surveys after a day’s work.

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