Women working at the coal dressing belt (“Shitemo Sento Koku”).
At the beginning of the Taisho Era, coal dressing machines were introduced at small and middle sized collieries. Women washed coal at coal dressers and the powder from the coal dressers went into, and blackened, the clear waters of the Onga River. Male coal miners were also needed at coal dressing belts to handle large chunks of coal.
The iron belt to carry the coal along the dressing table was called a “Yoroi” (armor)” or
“Band”(belt). It was approx. 10 meters long with a width of 1.2 meters, and consisted of three
belts of 40 cm wide iron plates, overlapping. The speed of the belt was the walking speed of a
man. Coal was placed on the side belts, and reject coal was placed on the central belt. Second
quality coal was dropped on the floor temporarily.
(Left Lower Picture) The working shift was 12 hours long, day and night. Workers were required to use both hands for sorting.
(Centre Picture) Coal is delivered by a coal truck which tips the coal onto the end of the table, which is then directed into the side belts.