Registered: December 2004
No. 52 — 201 x 302 cm. Pen and ink.
What the text says:
Iron pipes for exhaust water were installed on the floor of the drive, and on the side or ceiling of the drive iron pipes carried steam to power equipment. As time went by and the mines got old, the heavy geological pressure and the natural aging of the pit timbers lead to the collapse of the ceiling, and the steam pipes were distorted and steam leaked from rubber packing of the flange connection of pipes. Hence, the workers needed to change the rubber packing in the joint constantly. Otherwise the pumps at the lower drive would not be able to be worked.
Kamimio coal mine is one of the hottest mines with the temperature up to 50º centigrade at the
top of the drive. At the time they used the Fahrenheit measurement and it was rumoured to go
up to 120 Fahrenheit. Whenever the coal mine was closed for a day, the steam supply could be
stopped and the repair engineers could work on pipe repair. Other mine engineers also supported
the work. Even with the steam turned off the pipes were very hot, and spanners and other tools
became hot and burned the hands. Miners sweat badly and some even took off their Fundoshi
underwear, as even towelling was uncomfortable. No matter how masculine miners were, they
could not work on the pipes for 20 minutes at a time.
A few miners often waited for orders near the door in the drive, where a cool breeze blew in.
They lay on the ground naked without any talk. The drive is narrow and the ceiling low and no
more than one person at a time could approach the pipe to repair it. The miner has to handle the
replacement and repair of the pipe in a matter of seconds. Unless they worked swiftly, pipes
would become cool and steam blew out from many other joints when the stop-cock was opened.
It is a big painstaking job.
It was worse if the leak was discovered on the flange connection, as they had to replace the whole pipe. Even though the pipe engineers were well prepared, this was a big engineering
At Kamimio mine pit ventilation was through a drive, which also carried pipes. Thereby, heat
from the deep mine and steam pipes was dissipated in the air by the bleeze.