1999.365.7 | Pulleys at head of mine shaft, Thetford Mines, QC, 1939
Pulleys at head of mine shaft, Thetford Mines, QC, 1939
1939, 20th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
10.1 x 8.2 cm
Gift of Mr. Alfred Penhale Estate
This artefact belongs to :© Musée minéralogique et minier de Thetford Mines
Keys to History
Between 1912 and 1931, the number of accidents in the Quebec asbestos industry climbed steadily. At Thetford Mines, an average of five people a year lost their lives in mining accidents. Starting in 1918, there were over 100 people injured each year. These accidents had many different causes: rock slides, mistakes operating the cable derricks or handling explosives, out-of-control cars. Even in the shops, workers were surrounded by moving gears, pulleys, belts and drive shafts: wearing loose clothing could be fatal. The pulleys (or sheaves) seen here date from the late 1930s, however, and are not really dangerous, despite their impressive size.
When underground mining began, other systems were devised to carry ore and miners up and down. Headframes were installed; these were structures of posts and beams supporting the weight of enormous wheels, or sheaves. Through each sheave passed a steel cable moved by a winch located in another building. One of the cables was connected to the miners' lift, the other to the bin bringing up the ore.
This shot shows the inside of a new headframe for underground operation of the King mine at Thetford Mines.
In 1930 the King mine became the first real underground asbestos mine. That was when it stopped open pit mining. This picture was taken on January 15, 1939.
No, it's not Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times. This photo shows a worker installing two sheaves atop the new headframe at the King mine. A second man can be seen in the background.