Of Steam Shovels and Operators


| May/June 1986



Bucyrus steam shovel

225 Bucyrus steam shovel

38120 S.R. 518 Lisbon, Ohio 44432

In this installment, I will give some of the experiences of my first day firing boiler on the 320 Bucyrus shovel.

This shovel was operated by two persons John Duff, the head engineer who operated the digging and the swinging of the shovel and Bill Weigel, the craneman who operated the boom engine with dipper sticks and who controlled the opening of the bucket, and Charlie McCowan was the oiler.

I was told the day before the craneman was going to be off work for a couple of days and the regular fireman, Wayne Martin, was to take his place as craneman. I was to take the place of the fireman. This was an exciting event for me! My regular job at this time was as a pit man along with five other men. This particular shovel ran on short sections of railroad rails about 6 feet in length which had to be moved ahead after the overburden was removed and laced in the cut where the coal was taken out. This shovel had four trucks with two axles each and four double flanged wheels. Two trucks were driven with power from the hoisting engine chain drive, to move the shovel.

On washout day I had always helped the regular fireman wash out the boiler and in this way became familiar with most of the parts of the boiler and the location of the pump, the injector, and most other things necessary to be a boiler fireman. But there were other things to do and learn.

I started my first day with great excitement and anticipation.