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Mining Review 7/12: Cut and Carry (1954)


Main image of Mining Review 7/12: Cut and Carry (1954)
Mining Review 7th Year No. 12 - Stirlingshire - Cut and Carry
August 1954
35mm, black and white, 3 mins
Production CompanyData Film Productions
SponsorNational Coal Board

A description of a scraper box, and how it is used in coal mining.

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This Mining Review item offers a detailed description of the scraper box, a simple but effective method of extracting coal in large quantities. Although they had been in use for at least two decades, they proved particularly valuable at a time of rising demand, because they could simultaneously cut and load coal for export out of the mine and could be mechanised on a reasonably large scale.

As the film demonstrates, the scraper box is open at the top, front and bottom. An attached blade scrapes the coal into the box, whose hinged back ensures that even if the blade is cutting in two directions, the coal itself is only transferred in one. Several scraper boxes can be used to shift coal from one to the other, until such time as it's easily accessible for loading.

Although the underlying principle is simple, some elaborate machinery is needed to get it to work most effectively. The boxes are pressed into the coalface by pneumatic means, and guide rails ensure that they are in the correct position. The integrity of the workspace is maintained by prop setters, and the drawers-off clean up excess coal. Plean Colliery in Scotland, where this item was filmed, has benefited especially from scraper boxes - there, a team of 31 men averages an impressive 230 tons per shift.

Michael Brooke

*This film can also be viewed via the BFI's YouTube channel.

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