Our 12th Historical Perspectives started to day with our visit to the Lackawanna Coal Mine. Our tour guide provided a great overview of the issues facing coal miners, especially from 50 to 100 years ago. The group learned about how children, as young as age 5, started working for the mine. Children age 7-9 worked as nippers, those that opened and closed the air locks in the mine. Mule boys, ages 9-11, were employed to work with the mules that carried the coal from the mine. The guide informed us of the need for ventilation and water removal.
The coal mine tour, the beginning of our trip, is an important stop to understand the progression of our tour. Coal is needed for steel, steel is needed for auto manufacturing. We are now headed to Pittsburgh for our visit to the Rivers of Steel Heritage Tour and NIOSH Personal Protective Technologies Lab.