Hopper and gons, Monongah No 8 Mine, Fairmont Coal Company, WV 1907


Claus Schlund \(HGM\)
 

Hi List Members,
 
Hopper and gons, Monongah No 8 Mine, Fairmont Coal Company, WV 1907
 
Along with the freight cars, we get a spectacular view of a coke oven bank, what is probably the mine tipple and sorting structures in the left background, smokestacks for the mine power plant in the center, and ancillary mine buildings on the left. Note the derelict mine cars at the bottom lst of the image
 
 
This scene would make a great NTRAK module, don't you think?
 
Enjoy!
 
Claus Schlund
 


CJ Riley
 

While there may be a mine hidden in the background, it is more significant to note the beehive coke ovens dominating the photo. The carefully placed hoppers placed to match the doors of the ovens that completed there burns and loaded by hand with the resulting coke. 
Hard to say whether the string of hoppers on the adjacent track contain coal headed for the ovens or waiting for pick up.



CJ Riley
 

Apologies to Clays for repeating what he had noted. Should have read his post instead of going directly to the photo.




Ray Hutchison
 

would anyone happen to have a diagram of this (or similar) operation?  If the loading of the coke is from structure in the back, how was finished coke transported to the loading bin?  


Dennis Storzek
 

On Wed, Jun 23, 2021 at 06:24 AM, Ray Hutchison wrote:
 If the loading of the coke is from structure in the back, how was finished coke transported to the loading bin?  
Ray, that's backwards. The bin in the background is the source of the coal. It is distributed via manual push cars on a narrow gauge track on top of the battery of ovens; you can just barely see the end of this track at the right edge of the photo, just above the derelict push cars.

The coal is loaded into each oven through the vent at the top. When coking is finished, the lower opening is unsealed and the coke raked out on the platform. It is then loaded into the waiting rail cars, by hand.

Each individual oven in the battery is a separate unit, so some are burning (black smoke), some are being quenched (white steam) some are being raked out and refilled. It looks like that's what is happening at the nineth oven from the near end.

I think this mine only coked a portion of their output; the tipple has an extended chute that can load rail cars one track out from the track that serves the ovens.

By the way, these aren't "beehive" ovens, which are round and free standing.

Dennis Storzek


Claus Schlund \(HGM\)
 


Hi Ray and List Members,
 
Ray had some questions on this scene. To keep the context  intact, I'll first repeat some of what I  had written earlier, and then tackle Ray's questions as well as I can
 
  Along with the freight cars, we get a spectacular view of a coke oven bank,
  what is probably the mine tipple and sorting structures in the left background,
  smokestacks for the mine power plant in the center, and ancillary mine buildings
  on the left. Note the derelict mine cars at the bottom lst of the image
 
 
Ray asked: "would anyone happen to have a diagram of this (or similar) operation?"
 
Not right off-hand, no.
 
Ray also asked: "If the loading of the coke is from structure in the back, how was finished coke transported to the loading bin?"
 
Your assumptions around how this works are incorrect. Here is a rough overview...
 
Coal comes up from the underground mine at the minehead (obscured by the smoke in this image, but probably located behind the mine powerplant smokestacks). Most mines then simply sort, clean and ship this coal, but that appears to NOT be the case here. Instead the coal is deposited into the "structure in the back" - a loading bin. Some or all of this coal is then dropped from the bin into waiting larry cars - small hopper cars that deliver coal to the individual coke ovens. While no larry cars are visible, you can discern the tracks they run on, just behind the smoke plumes on top of the right-most set of coke ovens. The oven's are charged with coal from on top, the coal dropping directly from the larry cars into the oven thru a charging hole. Finished coke is drawn out of the individual coke ovens thru the arch-topped openings in the front. The coke is then loaded doused with water to quench it and is then loaded via wheelbarrow into the waiting (steel) hoppers. I think I can discern a wheelbarrow and worker above the second hopper. Note even in a b&w photo, you can tell it is coke due to the light color.
 
The (composite) gons on the left appear to be loaded with coal - note the much darker color. Probably the loading bin structure is designed to allow coal to be loaded into either the larry cars (to charge the coke ovens) and also to allow excess coal to be loaded into the gons. I think I can discern a chute on the loading bin that could be dropped and would be able to reach the middle track of the three tracks visible - this is where empty gons would have been positioned for coal loading
 
Hope that helps
 
Claus Schlund
 
 
 
 
 
 
 appears the full output of the mine then
 
 
 
 

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, June 23, 2021 9:24 AM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Hopper and gons, Monongah No 8 Mine, Fairmont Coal Company, WV 1907

would anyone happen to have a diagram of this (or similar) operation?  If the loading of the coke is from structure in the back, how was finished coke transported to the loading bin?  


CJ Riley
 


I must dispute the comment about these not being beehive ovens. They are identical to the freestanding beehive ovens, just buried for heat retention and operational reasons. They were still called beehives. I have seen photos of families living in abandoned ovens and the domed shape is clear. I have a book called, “ The Beehive Coke Ovens of Western Penna.”



Todd Sullivan
 

Claus,

That's a great write-up on how a mine and coke ovens operated in the early to mid 20th century.  I have friends who have models of such arrangements on their layouts, and there were similar facilities on the C&O in the New River Gorge (at Sewell, I think) and off the NYC on the Kanawha River outside Smithers WVa at Cannelton.  Searching on those locations might turn up additional information and photos.

Todd Sullivan


Dennis Storzek
 

On Wed, Jun 23, 2021 at 08:55 AM, CJ Riley wrote:
I must dispute the comment about these not being beehive ovens. They are identical to the freestanding beehive ovens, just buried for heat retention and operational reasons. They were still called beehives.
I didn't realize that "beehive oven" was a term of the art, thinking it was more a historian / modeler's term. I stand corrected.

Dennis Storzek