Views: 17 Author: Site Editor Publish Time: 2017-07-26 Origin: Site
Mining has been around for hundreds of years now. Before 1850, miners used open flame candles and hanging lamps which became very dangerous because of hidden gasses. Their headgear consisted of cloth or canvas hats with leather brims and metal lamp brackets on the front to hang their source of light. The purpose of these was to protect the miner’s eyes and head but mostly used for their light source. It wasn’t until 1850 that new Mining lamps started to come about.
The Oil-Wick Cap Lamps first were used in 1850 in Scotland. These were designed to be simple and consistent and looked like a teapot. The Lamps were made out of brass and had a hinged lid over the front and a hook on the back to mount on the miner’s caps. The front of the lamp consisted of fat and oil that would be pulled through the wick to the top of the spout. Miner’s would use the cheapest fuel they could find, which was usually lard oil cut with kerosene. As a result, this was very dangerous, though, this fuel caused a thick smoke which irritated miner’s eyes and left them covered in soot. These lamps did come with an attachment like a drip ring to collect any oil falling from the wick and a reflector to direct the light to the work surface. These lamps had many disadvantages including smokier flames and the possibility of igniting flammable gasses/ Even though these lamps were dangerous as well, they still had advantages over candles. They lasted longer and were easier to carry. In conclusion, the Oil-Wick Cap lamps were phased out in 1920 due to another type that was safer to use.
The Carbide Lamps were originally discovered by Edmund Davy in 1836 but weren’t commercially used until Thomas Wilson’s effort in 1894. Frederick Baldwin is credited with developing the first carbide mining lamp, holding a U.S. Patent for an Acetylene Gas Lamp that was granted August 28, 1900. These lamps are powered by the reaction of calcium carbide with water. This produces acetylene gas that burns a clean white gas. The design for the lamps consisted of two different chambers an upper chamber holding water and a lower chamber holding calcium carbide. The acetylene gas is produced when the water enters the calcium carbide chamber via a dripping mechanism. This can be controlled depending on how big of a flame is needed. They also include a built-in striker to ignite the gas and when it’s lit a reflector allows the miner to control the direction of the light. These came in different sizes from small hand lamps to larger hanging lamps. Carbide lamps have many advantages over the oil-wick lamps. They produce no carbon monoxide, consume less oxygen, give off a brighter flame, and a higher quality of light. Although these lamps have many strengths, they do have their weaknesses. The runtime is only about four hours and needed to get refilled mid-shift, the burning tip was prone to clogging and large wind gusts would put out the flame. Although these lamps helped to solve some major issues they were replaced by the 1930s.
In 1914 John T. Ryan Sr. and George H. Deike founded Mine Safety Appliances Company (MSA) in wake of a record number of deaths due to mining. They sought out Thomas Edison to help create dependable and safe electric cap lamps for miners. They were able to do this with a rechargeable battery pack. The Edison Cap Lamp consisted of a battery encased in a self-locking steel case worn on the miner’s belt. A flexible cord came from this battery to the cap and protected by flexible steel. This battery could power the lamp for 12 hours. The bulbs themselves included an immediate disconnect of electrical contact if broken, this prevented flammable gasses in the air. These lamps were worn on both canvas caps and hard helmets. A form of this helmet and electric lamp combination is still worn today, with improvements in the area of battery life and weight, a change to tungsten and LED bulbs, and breakaway or segmented cords to allow the miner to be less inhibited by the battery pack.