1999.294.15 | King Mine, Thetford Mines, QC, 1933

King Mine, Thetford Mines, QC, 1933
September 22nd 1933, 20th century
Silver salts on paper
12.7 x 17.7 cm
Gift of Mr. Alfred Penhale Estate
This artefact belongs to :© Musée minéralogique et minier de Thetford Mines
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Keys to History

Up until the end of the 19th century, asbestos mines were all open pits. After a few underground experiments that led nowhere at Broughton and Black Lake, the first combined operation (open pit and underground) began at the Bell mine in 1901. This "glory hole" method was adopted by most companies mining large deposits with low asbestos content. In 1930 the Asbestos Corporation Ltd. opened the first real underground asbestos mine.

  • What

    The support system in this underground mine was no longer made chiefly of wood. For the first time, steel was used to make reinforcing beams, props, frames, supports, corridors and to line passageways for workers. These changes, originally meant to eliminate wood fibres that could contaminate the asbestos, undoubtedly made it safer for workers underground.

  • Where

    This is the bottom of the King mine at Thetford Mines. Two miners are getting ready to go back up to the top.

  • When

    The photo was taken on September 22, 1933.

  • Who

    Here we see muckers or grizzly men. Muckers loaded the ore, pushed wheelbarrows or shovelled the ore into cars that could carry seven tons. Grizzly men attacked the face with a drill or broke up the rock into pieces small enough to pass through a kind of grating called a grizzly. Both were exposed to noise and dust. Thirsty miners could dip into a zinc kettle without a lid, after skimming the dust off the surface of the water as best they could.