Coal Breaker – Anthracite Region
The anthracite coal industry in this region was responsible for fueling the growth of America’s Industrial Revolution during the 1800s and into the 1900s. Coal breakers processed raw chunks of mined coal and broke them into various sizes which could be useful for different types of furnaces. Any material which could not be burned, typically slate, was removed and deposited into a culm dump. After many years of mining, culm dumps grew to mountainous proportions. Since some amount of combustible coal was discarded among the waste, culm dumps were prone to catch fire as they grew larger and became more compressed.