Miro, a former Polish Mine worker got quite excited when he saw my photo. “We used to call those “gornicza tadowarka” (mine dumpers)”. They were powered from compressed air that fed from the surface. Apparently the pressure could vary quite considerably depending on how far you were from the main line and how many other people were using dumpers at the same time as you. Midnight shift was the best time for optimum power.
Gently rotating his wrist Miro demonstrated how to operate the controls. The operator stood on a platform to the side of the engine and the scooper would lift rocks into the ore carts behind. “Dont turn your hand like this, (a jerking twist to which he howls with laughter)too much air, the machine jumps like a horse. The rock falls out of the spoon and everyone breaks their leg”.
This photo is of one of the mine dumpers used in Cobalt. The air power came from a condenser at the nearby Ragged Chutes. This kind of equipment is scattered all over the town of Cobalt. It is on the surface above, hidden in the bush and moonscape of the mine dumps. A great many old relics are also said to lie untended in the tunnels beneath the town.