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Industries – Mining – Demonstration Pit Prop

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Lauder Technical College used this hydraulic ‘Dowty’ pit prop for demonstration purposes with their mining students, which is why it has cut away sections to show the working parts.

Mining was a dangerous job. Not only did the miner have to worry about poisonous gases and explosions underground, but he had to be ever vigilant to the possibility of a roof fall.

A ‘roof fall’ was the name given to the collapse of a mine roof. Traditionally, the roof of a coal mine was propped up using wooden logs known as ‘pit props’. The wood groaning under the weight of a collapsing roof was the only warning of the accident about to happen – often too late for the miners to escape injury or death.

Even when traditional wooden pit props were replaced with stronger, more effective hydraulic steel props from the 1950s, the immense pressure of weight on the mine roof meant they were still prone to collapse and crush injuries were often fatal.