Friday, August 6, 2010

Coal Mine

Today's picture is from 1911, and shows a group of miners deep in a coal mine. Pictured is the cage which takes them in and out of the mine. Notice that the boy on the right in the cage appears to be pretty young. The picture is from the Pennsylvania Coal Company. The mine is shaft #6, near South Pittston, Pennsylvania.

Lots of discussion yesterday on the blog about number of comments, vs. number of visitors. I do monitor the number of visitors and will share some numbers with you. OPOD typically gets between 2,500 and 6,000 page views a day. There are more visitors during the school year, and less in the summer. Most of the visits are by passers by, who end up here from google image searches . . . people looking for some specific picture of something. About 1000 or so people either subscribe to the blog, or "follow" it. There are a couple hundred who actively read it daily, and contribute comments. So, those are the numbers. I have a number of other web sites, and overall get a couple hundred thousand page views a day. I enjoy making WEB sites, so have sites on different topics . . . everything from the Civil War to how to make Hot Tamales.

PICTURE EMBARGO THREAT LEVEL - Green - No imminent threat of picture embargo


  1. Even with current mining practices being safer than ever I wouldn't want to be a miner and yet those men and that boy faced and going into those sunless chambers every day to get coal! All miners have my respect.

    PS - I have book-marked the tamale site. I'm not planning on making any with peacock. :)

  2. Considering that camera flashes from this era would most likely have been some sort of powder flash, how in the world did they dare do this in a coal mine?!?! Wouldn't the risk of explosion been incredibly high?

  3. By the way...I believe my brother considers himself to be a bit of a gentleman farmer. He just purchased his first tractor. Here it is.

  4. I don't think they were too worried about the flash from the camera. In those days, miners wore carbide lanterns on their heads. You can see some of the lanterns are lit on the miners in the elevator.

  5. Good morning, PJM:
    What is the difference between someone who checks OPOD everyday and someone who is a "follower"? Is it just that miniature picture on the sidebar? And then what is a 'subscriber' and how is that different?

  6. Pope George RingoAugust 6, 2010 at 9:16 AM

    I am from Pittston Pa. The young boys were called "breaker boys" and they ranged in age from 6 on up. Their job was to separate the shale from the coal. I believe this photo is from a collection of photos taken by photographer Lewis Heine. He traveled to several coal mines with the specific goal of illustrating the horror of child labor in the country. These photos played a great part in the abolishment of child labor. The coal mining industry in Pittston Pa. came to an abrupt end in 1959, when a shaft under the bed of the Susquehanna River gave in, flooding all of the surrounding mines and taking the lives of 12 miners.

  7. A couple of things.
    First, I sure that you are teasing when you talk about the embargo.
    But it is nice to know that what you have posted is thought provoking.
    The only way you can judge that is by people leaving comments.

    Second, I refer to the Sunday's photo. The miner has a whistle on a string around his neck. I suppose that it is a lot more effective than try to yell with all the other noises around.
    I'm not a member but do read you post every day. It adds spice to your site when people comment. And that is why I try to comment almost every day. Sometimes what you have posted doesn't evoke a comment from me.
    But I'm sure when others see you photos and your post think, you know I use to do that when I was younger. If it causes them to stop and think, then they should post a comment and share their thoughts with the rest of us.

  8. One thing I do enjoy about making comments to PJM is that he is pretty good about responding to the comments.
    I know I have made comments and even posed question to the person posting and never get a response or the question answered. I have even gone in and asked the question again and got no response. It is almost like they make their post and never bother reading the comments that were made. It doesn't take long before I don't check their site anymore.

    A person could kind of judge how many people check out OPOD by how many people vote on PJM polls, and the polls as far as I can tell are mostly done in humor and people should put their two cents worth in a vote.
    But I had no idea that there were that many people that check his site every day

  9. My Great Grandfather immigrated from Wales and worked in coal mines across the US

  10. What are the web addresses of your other sites?

  11. I visit the blog daily with my morning tea; however, I am not a subscriber. I enjoy the images, detailed captions, and humorous and insightful exchange in the comments.

    Just because I don't comment very often doesn't mean that I don't enjoy the visit!

    There. A triple negative.

  12. How about a week of nature (Bob Timberlake etc.) pictures, that would be great , just not next week as ill be on vacation with the family and wont have a wi fi connection . the pictures are great thanks again.

  13. Well then, we MUST see this hot tamale how-to page ASAP!

  14. You want the Tamale page, then the Tamale page you shall have:

    Really hope you will try then. They are my absolute favorite food. Yum!

  15. I guess I am one of the ones that stop in regularly. Keep up the great work!

    I enjoy the pictures, as well as the domestic updates (especially the peacocks). I'm starting to wonder what will happen in another season or so...will you be overrun by big pretty birds (they do seem rather prolific)?
    Graham (in St. John's, Newfoundland)

  16. Another way to find some of PJM's sites and the blogs that he follows is to look at his profile. There you will find his webpage "Son of the South". What you should also check out is his students' site"

    You may also want to order an inspiring poster. :)

  17. I love tamales, I will be trying your recipe this weekend. I have never made them but have eaten quite a few.

    Just a repeat of what everyone else has said, whether I comment or not I really enjoy coming to this site every day.

    So thank you,


  18. The young boy in the picture most likely graduated from breaker boy to one of the boys who opened doors for the mules/ponies bring coal out of the mine. They sat by the door in the dark all during their shift to open and close the door. The doors controlled the air in the mine making sure the shafts were all vented properly and methane levels remained below explosive levels. The Lewis Hines breaker boys photos are some of the most heart-rending photos I have ever seen. In one picture, one child is clean and smiling. He is the mine manager's son who insisted on being in the picture. PBS has a wonderful documentary on Lewis Hines and his work to abolish child labor.

  19. pjm,,,,i love the tamale site,,im a great cook,specialy mex/ food, but have never tackled tamales,
    good mexican food is hard to find,
    here in indy, i miss it all back
    in colorado where i grew up,
    as soon as the weather cools,
    theres a recipe from home in dyin
    to try, it involves a green chili
    stuffed with cheese,,mmmmm,,,

  20. Any time I dine out at a Mexican restaurant, I always start at the tamale offerings as I scan the menu. They are at the top of my list of favorites, but usually are rather mediocre, prefab, factory-made with too much corn dough and too litle 'heat.'

    Since we're still in sweet corn season here, I may take advantage of that as a source of corn husks rather than buying them. I don't know how much bother than may become though. And, it means waiting for them to cure and dry, drat.


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