Breaker Boy Ben's Dictionary

Anthracite - a hard natural coal that burns slowly and gives intense heat

Ash - The grayish-white to black powdery residue left when something is burned.

Black Lung - A chronic disease of the lungs caused by inhaling coal dust over long periods. Common among coal miners, black lung is an examle of an occupational disease.

Boss - Any member of the managerial ranks who is directly in charge of miners (e.g., "shift-boss," "face-boss," "fire-boss," etc.).

Breaker - a building where coal delivered from a mine is broken up and sorted or a machine that reduces large lumps of coal or ore to a size that can be accommodated by a conveyor belt.

Colliery - The place where coal is dug; a coal mine, and the buildings, etc., belonging to it.

Door boy - An employee, normally an apprentice, used to open and close mine doors. Also called trapper boy; nipper; door tender; doorman.

Drill - A machine utilizing rotation, percussion (hammering), or a combination of both to make holes. If the hole is much over 0.4m in diameter, the machine is called a borer.

Dust - The inorganic residue after burning, esp. of coal. Ignition generally alters both the weight and the composition of the inorganic matter.

Energy - The capacity for producing motion. Energy holds matter together. It can become mass, or it can be derived from mass. It takes such forms as kinetic, potential, heat, chemical, electrical, and atomic energy, and it can be changed from one of these forms to another.

Fire Boss - A person designated to examine the mine for gas and other dangers.

Fuel - A substance that can be economically burned to produce heat energy for domestic or industrial purposes. Fuels include compounds of carbon and hydrogen and exclude other substances that can be burned. Fuels can be subdivided into recent plant fuels, fossil fuels, such as peat and coal, and products of distillation of plant or fossil fuels. According to their state of aggregation, fuels can be subdivided into solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels.

Furnace - Structure in which materials are exposed to high temperatures. Fuels used to maintain this include alcohols, paraffins, gas, coal, hydrogen, electricity, wood, and sulfur.

Gangway - A passageway or avenue into or out of any enclosed place, as in a mine.

Growler - A miner's lunch can.

Inside Boss -

Mucking - The operation of loading broken rock by hand or machine, usually in shafts or tunnels.

Mule - A small car, or truck, used to push cars up a slope or inclined plane.


Prop - Coal mining term for any single post used as roof support. Props may be timber or steel; if steel--screwed, yieldable, or hydraulic.

Pump - A mechanical device for transferring either liquids or gases from one place to another, or for compressing or attenuating gases.

Rails - Specially shaped steel bars which, when laid parallel on crossties and fastened, form a track for vehicles with flanged wheels.

Shift - The number of hours or the part of any day worked.

Shovel - There are two types of shovels, the square-point and the round-point. These are available with either long or short handles. The round-point shovel is used for general digging since its forward edge, curved to a point, most readily penetrates moist clays and sands. The square-point shovel is used for shoveling against hard surfaces or for trimming.

Slate - A miner's term for any shale or slate accompanying coal. Geologically, it is a dense, fine-textured, metamorphic rock, which has excellent parallel cleavage so that it breaks into thin plates or pencil-like shapes.

Stove - A large steel furnace or oven connected with the blast furnace to preheat the blast before it is introduced into the furnace proper.

Strike - The direction of the line of intersection of a bed or vein with the horizontal plane. The strike of a bed is the direction of a straight line that connects two points of equal elevation on the bed.

Timber - A collective term for underground wooden supports.

Trip - A train of mine cars.

Union - A shop or mine run according to the requirements of a trade union.

Other Coal Mining Dictionaries:

Pennsylvania Bureau of Mine Safety
Kentucky Coal Education: Glossary of Mining Terms