The history of underground mine lighting

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 75, No. 838, 1982

D.A. TROTTER, Associate Professor of Mining Engineering McGill University Montreal, Quebec

This paper traces the main advances in mine lighting from neolithic times to the 1960s. The earliest lights consisted of reeds or strips of wood soaked in grease. As man's knowledge increased, the oil lamp, the candle, kerosene, acetylene and finally electricity have allowed him to see where no natural light could penetrate. These advances in technology, however, did not come easily. Many false starts were made and great dedication was required by a few lighting pioneers to overcome the many technical difficulties that were encountered. The lighting of coal mines in particular caused unique problems, as there was the ever-present threat of methane explosions. Advances in mine lighting will continue, but these advances are only possible because men like Davy, Wolf, Marsuat and Edison paved the way.
Keywords: Underground mining, Lighting, Mine lighting, History, Oil lamps, Safety lamps, Carbide lamps, Electric lighting.