Allouez MineMinesScrapbook

A Few More of Allouez No.3

Paul Meier brings us more old-school views of Copper Country mines, this time with a look at the Allouez-Douglass Shaft (Allouez No.3) sitting outside of New Allouez. We’ve seen this particular angle before, as Bruce Groeneveld took a shot from the same vantage point (see his shot HERE. Obviously a popular spot to take photos back in the day. Besides showing the complete No. 3 surface plant, this picture is also very interesting to me for what you can see in the background.

Peeking out from behind the rock-house can be seen the roof of the Allouez/Ahmeek Methodist Church. The church continues to stand today along the highway, but I think its just used for storage and its grounds as a summer camping ground for some snowbirds.

Over to the left of the rock-house we have a few more interesting structures visible in the background. First up is the New Allouez School, which is the large two story structure sitting just to the left of the rock-house. Last time we were here the school was gone and only its front stoop remained. Today even the stoop is gone, as someone has built a new house atop the old school’s foundation.

Next in line we have the Sacred Heart Church of Ahmeek, known today as the Our Lady Of Peace Church. To the left of that we have the skyline of Mohawk along with what I believe to be the Ahmeek No.3/4 surface plant. At first I thought the structure next to the stack was the hoist house, but after I could’t find the rock-house nearby I know think that structure is actually the rock-house, seen from the front. I could be wrong, but I don’t know what else that smokestack would belong to over there but the Ahmeek No.3/4 (unless it belongs to the Seneca, but it doesn’t seem like the right location for that).

Before leaving I’ll leave you with another shot of the Allouez No.3 thanks to Paul, this time in color. This view is the reverse of what we saw up top, looking up at the Allouez’s rock-house from the ground level. Though built in the same cheap manner as the Iroquois, this guy looks to be in a tad bit better shape. Or perhaps its just the addition of color that’s making the difference….

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  1. These photos were taken c.1970. By that time the Ahmeek 3&4 shafthouse was gone. The building marked is the #3 hoisthouse which was built in the late ’30’s when they moved one of the big 4 cylinder Nordberg hoists from Tamarack 5. About the time these photos were made, that hoist was up for sale. Noted C&H historian, the late Al Henning, almost bought it, the building, and the land. According to Al, the QMHA people (at that time) weren’t real thrilled to have the Quincy Hoist’s older brother on display which factored in to Al’s decision to let it go to the scrapers. What might have been!
    The Tamarack/Ahmeek hoist was a bit smaller with less depth capacity than the Quincy Hoist, but it was a 4 cylinder simple that was much faster and had a higher over-all capacity within its depth limits.

  2. That would have been great if they would have kept one of the Tamarack #5 Nordbergs.I read the #5 had two 6500 horsepower Nordbergs to run two sets of balanced cages.The 24 foot diameter drum held 6500 feet of cable.How many horsepower was the Quincy #2 hoist? To reach the same vertical depth, being on an incline, wouldn’t the Quincy need a lot more cable and require a bigger diameter drum that would take more horsepower to lift the same load the same speed?

  3. The Quincy hoist has a depth capacity of 10,000 feet. It has a 30′ diameter drum 30′ wide. The top design speed was 3200 ft/min. Nordberg listed the horsepower at 2500. The Quincy #2 shaft reached an incline depth of ~9,300 ft.
    Tamarack #5 is 5,300 ft. vertical. I don’t know the rated horsepower of the two Tamarack hoists but they were much faster at 6,000 feet per minute. I have to believe they were high horsepower but not 6500, it doesn’t look like Tamarack 5 had that much boiler capacity. The two hoists were designed for high capacity.
    Note these top speeds are when winding on the cylindrical portion of the drum, one has to remember that the speed will be less than that while winding on the conical portion of the drum.
    Basically, the Quincy hoist was designed for efficiency. It is a compound condensing engine which, by the nature of steam is going to be slower. The upside is it used less steam. Costs were a major concern at Quincy when the big hoist was designed.
    I used to do industrial line capacity calculations before I retired. Taking the knowns at Quincy and assuming they were filling the skips out of pockets rather than direct from tram cars, the Quincy #2 hoist and surface plant were capable of hoisting and handling 2,000 tons per day.
    I have not run any calculations for Tamarack 5 or Ahmeek 3, but my curiosity is peaked. I will do the calc’s in the morning.

  4. I soon found it was pointless to do rate comparisons between the hoist at Tamarack 5 v. Quincy 2. Tamarack 5 used a cage and tramcar system where the loading and unloading times would too different to make any meaningful comparison. This is probably why Tamarack 5 had 2 hoists.
    Doing a “what if” comparison of the two hoists operating with 10 ton skips and hoisting from 6,500 feet, the Ahmeek 3 hoist could hoist more rock. I ran this as a “Maximum demonstrated rate” situation assuming a perfect world skip dump and fill time of 2 minutes total per trip, 6,500 feet of rope on the drums, and finally, no spotting was need at the loading plat. Under those conditions the Ahmeek 3 hoist could raise 1,320 tons per 8 hour shift while the Quincy 2 hoist could raise 1,020 tons. The Quincy hoist gives away even more speed in this situation since it does not have the full use of the cylindrical portion of its drum.
    The real world was much different. The nature of these hoists is that when one skip is at the top dumping, the other is all the way down. Any hoisting from levels above the lowest level required extra stops and starts to load the skips at the desired level. No clutching and un-clutching as Joe Dase describes with the modern two drum electric hoists. The model I used also assumes that the skips are loaded from pockets and there is always rock available. If the mine was loading skips directly from tram cars (which was very common) you have to have a tram car at the plat and ready to dump when the skip arrives, a condition that largely relies on the human factor.
    This is all based on what I think are valid assumptions. Some one who is an actual mining engineer like Joe may differ or some one might have actual data on these hoists. In either case, I yield to the better data.

  5. I got the 6500 HP number from the book Tamarack Town by Paul Steele.He gives a good discription of the Tamarack shafts,buildings and machinery.The #5 boilerhouse there held six 25-ton Burt Boilers.The shaft-rockhouse there was built of 800 tons of steel.56×102 feet by131 feet tall.Looks to be the biggest and deepest shaft in copper country.

  6. Paul, I think you hit the nail on the head. The only other real delay which would be hard to quantify would be the cage change out at shift change. Having to chair the skip, bring in the run off rails, lower the skip, unshackle the thimble from he cross head, crane the man car on, re shackle, take up slack in the hoist, pull the run off rails and then lower to start hoisting men out. The top landers would have been busy at shift change!

    Also throw in things like powder delivery (explosives even back then were not lowered with men), any supplies, equipment (If you want a tram car, or locomotive down its a special cage and the shaft is effectively useless during that time), etc and there are serious delays.

    If I remember right the capacity at s shaft was sized for 1500 tons per day, which at the time was very impressive. I imagine Tamarack 5 could easily out pace Quincy No. 2, as they could divide and conquer with the two hoists. They were also a 4 compartment shaft, so while you were caging men in and out, and changing the cage, one hoist could continue hoisting. Same situation if you were hoisting materials.

    In modern high capcity shafts, we force it into a hoist only situation. No materials, no men, just 4 compartments with 4 skips. Usually we will also automate it so it can work 24/7, it will hoist form only 1 level and the hoist it self will usually be a keope friction hoist for efficiency. Some projects are too high capcity for hoists, so you have to convey. I worked on one project that we were predicting 265,000 tonnes per day from an underground mine, all through 2 72″ wide conveyors 7 kilometers long!

    On a side note, when members of the UP section of SME started the QMHA (after it was decided that a steam powered surface plant should be preserved) two sites were considered, Quincy No.2 and Ahmeek 3&4. Quincy was chosen as it was in the best shape, Ahmeek was pretty worn out. I imagine two tourist mines would have probably been the death of both mine sites!

  7. The Tamarack used a lot more timber than Quincy.How did they get all that down the vertical shaft?Did Quincy have a special tram just for timbers?

  8. Roc,
    they probably slung it down the shaft. Some skips and man cages would have lifting eyes on the bottom of them. You would use a choker on the timber, and a cleavis throught he lifting eyes and pick it up with the hoist. once its out in the shaft then you very slowly lower it down, at the shaft station a bottom lander would put another chocker on the end of the timber, and use a tugger to pull it onto the shaft station from the shaft and onto a waiting timber truck. The timber truck would then be tramed to the stope where it was needed.

    they may have had a special cross head to acomplish this as well, but either wayit would take a hoist out of comision while doing it.

    Quincy may have had a special timber car, I imagine they would have had to have a materials cage to transport things like tram car frames, mucker frames, air line, etc. The quick and diry way in their case though would have been to have the top landers put the timber in a skip and lower it down that way. Bottom lander would then put a choker on the top of the timber and using a tugger and shackle lift it out at the shaft station. You would then choke the bottom, and use a tugger to pull it over onto a timber truck. Most stations had multiple winches and tuggers, because you never knew how you may have to rig something to pull it out of the shaft and onto a level.

  9. ROC,
    I saw the data in the Steele book on the Tamarack Mine. I did some digging here and found the formula for calculating cylinder horsepower for steam engines. This formula confirms Steele’s 6500 HP if we use his quoted cylinder dimensions (36″ x 72″) and assume Tamarack was supplying 130 psi steam. However, Nordberg’s “standard” hoist cylinder was 32″ x 72″. Plugging that into the formula with a more common 160 psi steam also produces 6500 HP. Obviously, I under estimated in thinking 6500 was a bit high!
    The formula also confirms the 2500 HP for the big Quincy hoist. It used 160 psi steam in cylinders taking fewer and shorter strokes per minute. Quincy was definitely looking for efficiency rather than brute force.
    And this all started with the Allouez-Douglas shaft!

  10. Thanks Paul and Joe that kind of information is hard to find.6500 HP hoist and to think #5 had two of those brutes under one roof, 13000 HP to the shaft.WOW.
    Joe,I see how the timbers were brought down and loaded on to a cart but what then.I read that the timbers were set in place by some very strong men but I can’t imagine trying to set the massive timbers you see in the Tamarack and C&H photos by hand.What did they use to lift those timbers in place.I take it the timbering followed right behind the drifting so it seems like it would take some good cordination between laying rail and bringing timbers in and taking rock out and blasting while keeping everybody productive.And as far as sinking a vertical shaft that deep,the timber sets must have been put in place the same time the men were below sinking the shaft.What did they have some kind of a safety net in case a timber or tool or man was dropped.

  11. Some timbers were set by men, but a majority of the big timbers were set using tinches, tuggers and blocks. The crappy part about timbering is getting the timber square and then wedging it into place. Most mines had a timber crew who would perform this task, as it was somewhat of a skilled job.

    In shafts, there was no safety net. You would carry the timbering a set distance, usually no more than 50 feet back from the bottom of your shaft. The timber work in some of these old shafts is beautiful, I can’t imagine doing this, as all of hte final fitting was done by hand as everything has to be plumb and square!

    Even today, in shafts you are working under a suspended load (The gallowaydeck or sinking platform) You have allot more safety now than back then but simlar precautions must be taken, and extra care and attention to detail. Gravity is your worst enemy iin a shaft, and a dropped hammer can quickly become a lethal projectile if your not careful.

  12. Thanks Joe
    Those timbermen must have been very skillfull.I would imagine an experienced timberman would have been in high demand.BTW what’s a tinches and tuggers?Is that like a block and tackle?

  13. Its a typo, no spell check on my browser. I meant to say winches and tuggers. Either air powered winches, or hand winches both with block and tackles

  14. I see some mines drove their shafts and drifts in the lode and others under it.Whats the advantage or disadvantage of either system?Also at the Quincy underground tour there is a stope there that keeps going up out of sight.I know I was looking at the finished product but how did they keep going up like that?Did they use the blasted down rock as a platform and only remove enough rock for clearence, but they would have had to make some kind of chutes for access that way or did they just scaffold the whole thing somehow?I didn’t see any stulls up there that they could have planked across.Any kind of scaffold system seems like it would be destroyed when they blasted the rock down.

  15. ROC
    When the Copper Country was opened, the companies generally opened the lodes by directly sinking the shafts into the lode. This way they made money right away and they could do a better job of following the lode. What was unknown back then was that mines would end up so deep. We know now in 20-20 hindsight, sinking the shaft somewhere below the foot where it was better protected would have been a better long term method. The shaft and haulage levels would have been safer and rock could still have been moved by gravity. C&H’s 81st haulage level was driven below the foot of the Calumet Conglomerate lode.
    Quincy used overhand stopes as you saw in the tour. At a 54 degree dip, scrambling up the stope to get to the face was possible and dangerous. Most of the old photos show the miners working off wood planks and platforms set into chinks in the rock. Once the holes were drilled and charged, all equipment was removed to a safe location before the charges were set off. At that steep of a dip, the broken rock was going to go down the stope and would end up in the drift. In the old wheel barrow days, that wasn’t a big deal, but once they had tramcars with rails etc. they needed to protect the drifts with either pillars and/or chutes . As the mine went deeper, the dip of the lode flattened out, it was not as hard to climb up to the face and the broken rock actually had to pulled down the stope with tuggers and scrapers. The stope you saw in the tour is symptomatic of sins of the past that plagued the Quincy in the 20th century. They were very late in adopting the retreat mining system and had many problems with old stopes collapsing behind and above them. That was a major factor in the closing of the #2 shaft.
    The mines on the Baltic lode used the method you described because the Baltic lode dip was very steep, nominally about 70 degrees. There the miners worked off the broken ground and the rock was drawn out as needed through chutes. One unique feature of the Baltic lode mines was that a guy could get hurt by the footwall falling on him!

  16. Thanks Paul
    That was good and explains a lot.
    Are the miners of today exempt from OSHA?The Iron Workers get away with a lot more than us carpenters.The ten foot fall rule,some jobs six foot,you have to have a handrail or be tied off would really cut down on production especially back in chinks and planks days.
    Now that would really be some bad luck to have the footwall fall on you.

  17. The MSHA is the underground version of OSHA. I don’t know the specific date when MSHA took charge but before that it was the Bureau of Mines which came to be during the reforms of the early 20th century. Before that it was “understood” that miners voluntarily engaged in a dangerous occupation and therefore assumed all the risks. Since they were paid through a contract on the volume of rock broken, they tended to take risks to break more rock. Pretty much in the 19th century management didn’t force any safety rules other than those that protected the mine itself.
    This seems unthinkable in this country now, but that was the way it was. During the 1890-1910 boom years, the Copper Country averaged a death a week underground. As bad as that was, the Copper Country was one of the safest districts to work in. My Great-grandfather worked underground in the Calumet Conglomerate for 39 years and only missed a few weeks for a work related injury. He was very lucky.
    I worked as an engineer for a major chemical company. Iron Workers were/are always a law unto themselves and we ran quite a few of them off jobs because they didn’t like the tie off rules. Sadly, one of the iron workers I knew very well and worked with on projects was properly tied off on and to a suspended platform while working on a bridge, the platform fell and 3 of them died in the Illinois River. Sometimes even OSHA can’t regulate 100% safety.

  18. Paul explained it perfectly, both safety and the development in and out of the lode.

    I will say when it comes to safety, there are a few unique things with MSHA, for example fall protection is very loosely worded ie ‘where there is a risk of falling’ so technically working at 1 foot is working at heights, if an inspector decides so.

    Right now MSHA is more strict than they ever have been. We are seeing more and more citations in the industry for things we never would have thought about 5 years ago, but in a way its good. We’ve come far enough as an industry that agency’s have to go to greater lengths to find deficiencies. Not saying that we got all high risk things covered, but the likelihood of being injured is much less than 100 years ago, or even 10 years ago.

  19. Joe have you ever been down deep in a mine where violent rock bursts accur?I read you can hear popping and cracking before hand and sometimes see flashes of light.They would drill relieve holes in pilars to keep them from shattering.It sounded like the Baltic lode was bad for burst even though the lode was at a steep angle.What do the pilars and walls do explode into fragments?Not good if you happen to be near one.

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