Typhanie (typhanie) wrote in world_tragedies,
Typhanie
typhanie
world_tragedies

The Monongah Mining Disaster of 1907

I grew up listening to "The New York Mining Disaster, 1941" by the BeeGees. In fact, for awhile when I was really little, it was one of my favorite songs. I've been trying to find out what disaster that song referred to, but I've had no luck so far. As far as I can tell it's not a real disaster. But the lyrics were very striking.

Here they are:

~In the event of something happening to me,
there is something I would like you all to see.
It's just a photograph of someone that I knew.

Have you seen my wife, Mr. Jones?
Do you know what it's like on the outside?
Don't go talking too loud, you'll cause a landslide, Mr. Jones.

I keep straining my ears to hear a sound.
Maybe someone is digging underground,
or have they given up and all gone home to bed,
thinking those who once existed must be dead.

Have you seen my wife, Mr. Jones?
Do you know what it's like on the outside?
Don't go talking too loud, you'll cause a landslide, Mr. Jones.

In the event of something happening to me,
there is something I would like you all to see.
It's just a photograph of someone that I knew.

Hvae you seen my wife, Mr. Jones?
Do you know what it's like on the outside?
Don't go talking too loud, you'll cause a landslide, Mr. Jones.
~

If anyone can tell me anything about this, I'd be eternally grateful. So far I've only been able to check online, but even Wikipedia didn't have anything on it.

However, in the spirit of mining disasters, I will relate The Monongah Mining Disaster.

It was the worst mining disaster in US history, and it took place in Monongah, West Virginia on December 9, 1907. That day at around ten o'clock - after the men and the breaker boys (young boys who worked in the mines) had started their shift - an explosion collapsed two mine entrances, trapping within the mines 380 workers, fire, and poisonous gas fumes caused by the disruption of the ventilation system. Of the 380 men and boys, only 18 made it out of the cave alive. Even some of the rescue workers were severly injured.

The cause of the explosion is still unknown, but it was thought to have been started by a carelessly open lantern or a dynamite blast gone wrong, igniting the coal dust in the mines. Thirteen days after the accident, the New York Times reported that these types of accidents were steadily increasing because upholdable safety regulations were too scarce, but little was done about it right away. Eventually this and other incidents caused people to admit that there was a serious problem, both as a health risk and a sheer lack of efficency.

In 1910 the government was forced to establish the US Bureau of Mines, who were supposed to look into improving the safety problems, but weren't given the power to do much of anything about the problems they were finding.

Overall, there was little good that came out of the Monongah Mining Disaster. It did raise awareness to the serious risks of the mining industry, but nothing was really done to improve the situation of these miners.
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