Feb 24-08

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2008: February: Feb 24-08
Let there be light    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo from UP Digitization Center

Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 07:38 am:

In researching today's Pasty Cameo I came across these men who had been entombed in Pewabic Mine at Iron Mountain for over 40 hours before they returned to the light of day. They had been trapped on the fourth level of the mine when a level above them collapsed. One of their co-workers didn't make it out.

This picture is a good illustration of the "Tommy knocker", a popular hat-candleholder in the 1800's before carbide and acetylene lamps came along. It's part of an article by Bill Haller which we adapted for today's Pasty Cameo, along with pictures from copperrange.org, the U.P. Digitization Center, the MTU Archives, and Iron Range Research Center.

Thanks for the nice notes from those who heard our interview last night on WJR in Detroit. The guys at the Internet Advisor have always made us feel welcome down in troll land, and have introduced countless former yoopers to Pasty Central.

Have a good week :o)

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 09:21 am:

One thing I always notice about the miner's, they don't smile to much in the photos. Must have been a hard life.

By E. Neil Harri (Ilmayksi) on Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 09:25 am:

Try to find one without a hat. Near impossible

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 09:43 am:

Poor guys! You'd think they'd be happy they're out, but you can't tell from the way they look.

By Helen Marie Chamberlain (Helen) on Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 09:54 am:

In 1927, my grandfather was one of 7 miners who died in an explosion at the #2 shaft on Quincy Hill near the little town of Pewabic. Thanks for another enlightening story of the obstacles these brave men faced daily who entered these mines to make a very difficult living.

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 09:58 am:

Charlie, I just noticed your comment regarding WJR interview. That is my neck-of-the-woods. If I'd known, I would have listened in.

I wonder if there is a way to replay the interview? I couldn't find a link on WJR website.

By Heikki (Heikki) on Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 10:08 am:

During winter months these men most likely saw daylight only on Sundays. 10-12 hour shifts were common those days. Poor air, poor lighting, constant danger. Not much to smile about, spending roughly half your time in the bowels of the earth just to make a meager living. The men pictured would laugh at complaints made by some folks today.

By Paul H. Meier (Paul) on Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 11:19 am:

At least part of the reason for the grim or serious looks in those old photographs, was the state of photography back then. It wasn't like now where we can say cheese at it is over in the milli-second of a strobe flash. Back in the day, subjects of studio portraits like the above were required to stay still for at least several seconds if not a minute. If they had tried to hold a smile that long, it would not have been natural and they would have looked like Dibert's proverbial drunken Lemour monkeys. Also, being serious back then was a valued trait, especially among men and when one of their mates was killed.

By Helen Marie Chamberlain (Helen) on Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 05:09 pm:

Paul, your statement is exactly right and hit the nail "right on the head" re: smiling in photographs taken at that time.

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