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support or whether it does not, must lead to more props being fixed. The men well know what maximum distance means, nearer if required. If the officials will enforce the regulations, I am convinced the results will repay. Last year was a was a bad one, but the year before was a good one, and if they will persevere, this year will be as good. The firemen visiting the working places twice in a shift, ought to discover every case of neglect to support the roof or coal, they should have no power to overlook but should report every case to the manager. If the firemen would do this, I am certain there would be fewer fatalities from falls of roof and coal. Two points are having more and more consideration, the greater use of bars in the working faces, and on the roads; and the taking of precautions to avoid thrust in repairing roads, and in the replacing of props and bars. The straighter the lines of face, the straighter the rows of support, the easier is it to cross the lines of slips or breaks; fewer accidents, fewer falls to remove and less broken timber.
Lancashire. Two accidents occurred causing two deaths; two non-fatal, injuring three persons. In 1905 two deaths; in 1904 five deaths; in 1903 one death; in 1902
no fatal accident.
Whilst descending, one accident, one death.
On August 10th, about 2.20 a.m., at the Chamber Colliery Company's Woodpark Colliery, Bardsley, Richard Rimington, 45, dataller, was fatally crushed by the cage when descending the shaft. The cage has three decks or compartments, in the top deck were the under manager and three others; in the middle deck were deceased and three others; the bottom deck was empty. They left the surface and should have been stopped at the landing plates for the working seam, a depth of 520 yards; the engineman did not stop the cage, it was lowered into the sump; one man in the middle deck jumped out on to the landing plates, deceased was trying to follow when he was crushed by the lowering cage, the other two occupants of that deck clambered out on to the bearers, one of them had his foot fastened by the cage. Those in the top deck were up to their knees in water when the cage stopped, immediately the engineman raised the cage four or five inches ; one of the men in the top deck was then enabled to climb over the top hoop of the cage and out between that hoop and the curved bonnet or cover of the cage, on to the landing plates. This man, Alfred Roberts, 23 years of age, then slid down one of the guide rods a distance of three yards on to a bearer, released the foot of the man fast, put him to stand on the bearer, released the body of deceased, got it into the cage and had it raised to the landing plates, then went in the cage to the rescue of the two men standing on the bearer.
On the 8th of August at 5.10 p.m., the two cages collided in passing and were smashed, workmen were continuously employed from that time in getting out the broken cages and effecting the necessary repairs. William Blackley, 38, winding engineman for 14 years, took charge of the winding engine at 4.30 p.m. on the 8th of August; he continued in attendance, although not constantly employed, and was in charge of the engine at 2.30 a.m. on the 10th, when the fatal accident occurred, so that he had been on duty 34 hours. There had been a stand of one hour for a meal, the greater part of that hour he slept on the floor of the engine house, he was awakened to lower the deceased and the other men. There was another period of four hours when the engine did not move, and there were several stoppages for meals. He had been home (a short distance away) three times to wash. Other than during these stoppages he was in constant attendance, along with another engineman; this latter engineman left at 4.30 p.m. on the 9th, having been on duty 36 hours; he went to bed to be ready to take charge of the engine at 6 a.m. on the 10th, when they expected the repairs would be completed and the pit work for coal getting.
There was an indicator to the winding engine to show the position of the cages in the shaft, a dial indicator with a travelling pointer. There was no bell attached to the indicator to warn the engineman by sound. The boards usually covering the sump to prevent cage going too far, had been removed to enable water to be wound from the sump, these boards had not been replaced when the water winding ceased, so that when the accident occurred there was no obstruction to the descent of the cage.
Unquestionably the long period on duty, the being awakened from sleep to handle the engines, the absence of protection to the sump, the absence of a warning bell to the indicator, all contributed to cause the fatal accident. All these were considered at the inquest and were fully condemned by the jury.
I know that the engineman was a thoroughly competent man, a most careful man, no one could say a word against him; all gave him an excellent character. I am convinced that had there been a bell attached to the indicator it would have warned the drowsy-sighted engineman. He said that he thought he had another round of his engine to go.
Fourteen years ago, in this same enginehouse, this question of having a bell to the indicator was discussed with the then manager. I told him my view, that the wording of the rule, 66 a proper indicator," implied that an indicator was not a proper one unless in addition to conveying to the eye the position of the cage in the shaft, the ear was warned by a bell of the approach to the pit top. A fatality had occurred to a man having been lowered to a pump in a shaft, not far down; after being at the pump some time, in raising the man the engineman made the mistake of thinking he had started from the shaft bottom and would have the whole distance to run, pulled the man full speed to the pulley, he was thrown out. There was no bell to the indicator. I could not persuade the Woodpark manager to attach a bell; he argued that one bell-the signal bell--in an enginehouse was sufficient; having two bells would confuse the engineman. As a matter of fact it is the common practice to have a marked difference in the tone of the indicator bell-a small one, and the signal bell—a large one. There are a few indicators without bells. I hope those responsible will well consider this fatality.
Miscellaneous Causes.-One accident, one death. On July 13th, at 6.40 p.m., at Bradford Colliery, Manchester, Herbert Norris Paul, 22, Waggoner, was killed by falling into the shaft sump from the lower mine landing. Together with another waggoner pushing a tub to the cage, they had their heads down below the top of the tub, behind it, pushed the tub into the shaft; fortunately one of the men fell on to a bearer and remained there, very little the worse; the other fell 60 feet to water which was 30 feet deep. The cage was not in position to receive the tub, it was 4 feet above; had either of the two men looked they would have seen the cage was not in position; the road rises 1 in 40 to the cage, the tub would require pushing to run. There had been two hours' stoppage whilst the ropes were greased; there were 20 men working at stone headings close to the shaft bottom, all the tubs were full of stone waiting to be drawn up when the shaft was at liberty; everyone gave a hand to getting the tubs away, the hooker-on in attendance at the cage left his post to push the tubs; of course, had he remained at his post he would have stopped the men until the cage was lowered. The reason that the cage was not in position to receive the tub was the other cage was at the pit top being emptied, and owing to the rope being new and stretching, the adjustment to enable the bottom cage to be in position when the top cage was being dealt with had not been made.
The shaft from the surface to the bottom is 928 yards 2 feet deep. There were four vertical guide ropes, the spaces being 1 ft. 2, 4 ft. 2, 1 ft. 7, 4 ft. 2, 1 ft. 1; had there been a fence rail across it would in all probability have allowed the tub to pass under. Afterwards this was provided for by chains. The whole of the work was new, the shaft had just been completed and stone headings were being driven to connect to the seam fully. The shaft bottom was brilliantly lighted by four lamps.
Rope Cappings. In my Report for the year 1902 allusion was made to the drawing of a rope from its capping when a cage was being raised, the cage fell to the bottom of the shaft. Upon examination it was found that the wires of the rope had broken where turned back to form the bulge for the capping to grip. Attention was then directed to a form of capping without turning back the wires of the rope, the wires of the rope to be gripped within a cone of white metal. In subsequent reports I was enabled to show that this had been taken up by Mr. Ward the able mining engineer of the Bradford Colliery, with complete success. Several colliery firms have adopted this form of capping, and in my Report for 1905 the result of a number of tests were given by the kindness of
Mr. W. H. Hewlett of the Wigan Coal and Iron Co., Ltd. The same gentleman has now enabled me to give an illustration showing those cappings. They are eight in number,
round and flat ropes; the lower part of the illustration shows how the solid white metal cone cappings held until the rope was drawn from the ordinary grip capping at the other end, and upon further test, until the rope broke. But the illustration cannot show the indentations upon the upper surface of the gripping hoops, from the hammering they received to make the grip a successful one. The men who put those hoops on never expected the rope would draw from their grip. The illustration shows that every one of these hooped cappings failed, and reference to the Report for 1905 will show that they failed under strain varying from 43 per cent. to 63.4 per cent. of the breaking strain of the rope. Having freely advocated this improved form of cap, which, when properly done is stronger than the rope, circumstances have arisen which require me to fully explain that this can only be successfully attained when properly done. In two cases, after being in use only two months, upon examination, wires of the ropes were found to be loose at the top of the steel socket within which the rope end was contained. When the ropes were cut, the white metal melted off, a number of wires were found to be broken. When this came to my knowledge I visited the mine and made full investigation. I was informed that the wires had broken one inch within the white metal; being convinced in my own mind that this was absolutely impossible, close enquiry proved that what was meant was, that the wires had broken an inch within the steel socket; this was very different to breaking within the white metal. The fact that the wires had broken within the socket led me to enquire how the white metal had been put into the socket, I then found that clay had been placed to prevent the fluid metal running out, the men were more anxious to prevent the white metal running out than they were to so fill the socket that the white metal showed well outside the socket, proving thus that the socket was completely filled. I am convinced that if the clay were only lightly placed against the end of the socket, the weight of the fluid white metal would cause it to fall away; in my opinion the clay was so pressed against the end of the socket that some of it entered within the socket and thus prevented the white metal completely filling it. It should be explained that the hemp core of the rope, half an inch in diameter, had been withdrawn from the rope to the end of the socket; admit that the white metal stopped an inch from
the socket end, then for an inch the wires of the rope would be without core, hollow, like a bird cage, open to bending movement; if the wires of the rope had received great consideration to meet tensile strain and less consideration to meet torsion, the wonder is not that the wires broke in two months, but that they did not break sooner. Let me direct the closest attention to the necessity of this method being properly carried out. After closely binding the rope with soft iron wire, at the point to which it is to be opened out; 1st carefully straighten the wires, open out each wire and straighten the strand curves, so that the wires cannot possibly strand together, cannot twist or lock together; 2nd well cleanse each wire, take off all grease and dirt close up to the wire wrapping; 3rd thoroughly dust the wires with resin dust, so that the fluid white metal shall freely flow around each wire right to the root. Having drawn the wires down into the steel socket, do not use clay to prevent the metal running out, a very little obstruction is sufficient to do that, for it quickly sets, a little soft wire around the original wrapping, a cloth, or tow or hemp is quite sufficient. If these simple precautions be taken it will be found that the white metal shows well outside the steel socket; if it cannot be seen then melt out the metal and do it over again. Do not put the socket into use if the white metal does not show outside the steel socket.
It seems to me that these precautions are very simple, there is nothing difficult to overcome in carrying them out, no great skill required, only reasonable care. I do know that men, ordinary blacksmiths, having capped ropes in this way and having capped ropes in the old hoop gripping method, tell me that they think the metal capping is the easier. Having seen both done I entirely endorse it. To attain 80 per cent. of the breaking strain of the rope by hoops requires a very great deal of care.
Different mixtures of metal have been tried by different persons. I think Mr. Ward's the best, he gives it as follows: lead, 60 per cent., tin, 30 per cent., antimony, 9 per cent., bismuth, 1 per cent. The antimony adds to the hardness, the bismuth lowers the temperature of fusion and gives a slight expansion in cooling. For myself I would not use over again the remelted metal, but would use fresh metai.
It is alleged that the use of this hot fluid metal affects the temper of the wires forming the rope. Lead fuses at a temperature of 617° Fahr., bismuth at 507° Fahr., tin at 442° Fahr., antimony at 797° Fahr. But a mixture of two of bismuth to one of tin fuses at 212° Fahr. If the bismuth in the approved mixture plays any cooling part in the fusion of the alloy, then the temperature must be below 797° Fahr. Galvanised ropes are used for winding purposes sometimes. I am informed that the temperature required to successfully galvanise wire must not be lower than 800° Fahr. and frequently exceeds 1,000° Fahr.
IRELAND.-Shaft accidents-one accident causing one death. Whilst descending by machinery on March 13th, 1.40 p.m., at No. 7 Jarrow Pit, Castlecomer, County Kilkenny, belonging to R. H. Prior Wandesforde, Esq., Charles Callahan, 17, acting as assistant to the horseshoer, was descending the shaft with the horseshoer, the cage met with an obstruction in the shaft, deceased was thrown by the shock out of the cage. Robert Smith, 36, blacksmith, said: Shortly after 1 p.m. I was told that a shoe wanted putting on a horse in No. 7 Pit; I told Callahan to go with me. John Close, in charge of the engine for cutting wood, acting as lander, the pit being idle, the regular lander was absent. I told Close that I wanted to go down, he said I could go in a few minutes, after a pump had been drawn up. I saw the pump drawn up. Close told us to get into the cage; we got in. He told us to take hold of the bar. There were no signals given, no one at the shaft bottom. Close told the engineman to go on; we were lowered in the ordinary way, at the ordinary speed. I cannot say that I heard any noise made by the ascending cage catching something; there was a great shock, a bump, the cage may have tilted a little; I grasped the bar with both hands, and it is distinctly in my mind that had I not done so I might have been thrown from the cage. I cannot possibly think that Callahan stepped from the cage, under the impression that the cage was at the bottom. I said, after the bump, "That was a great shock the cage got," there was no reply. The cage then stood still, I felt round for Charlie, I could not feel him; I said, "Glory be to God, the poor fellow is gone." Then I called to the top, "Pull me up.' I was pulled up a piece until the descending cage caught the obstruction, then the cage was held until Oliver Holohan came down on the pump rope. I told him what I thought had happened, he went lower, removed the obstruction; I was then pulled up.
Oliver Holohan said, was told something was wrong in the pit, went down on the pump rope, passed Smith in the cage, a little below saw a piece of wood, 9 feet 8 inches long, 6 inches square, across the pit, the other cage was resting on it, there was a little slack rope; I had this cage hoisted a little, then removed the obstruction. I got into this