Barrowman's Glossary of Scotch Mining Terms
Please click here to view a complete transcription of "Glossary of Scotch Mining Terms" by James Barrowman, 1886. This work contains definitions of occupations, words commonly used by miners and technical terms. James Barrowman (c1849 to 1933), was a mining engineer, mineral factor on the Duke of Hamilton's estate and later secretary of the Mining Institute of Scotland.
For some useful fuller descriptions of various colliery occupations, see the Special Rules on the Colliery Rules page
Some definitions for terms used in this site:
After-damp gas left after an explosion containing a large quantity of carbon monoxide
Bing - a heap e.g. of coal, debris or colliery waste
Blaes - mudstone or shale not containing much bituminous or carbonaceous matter, but generally sufficient to give a dark blue ('blae') colour
Blind pit, or bore - a shaft or bore drilled upwards or downwards from an underground position, and not reaching the surface of the ground.
Bottomer - person who loads and unloads the cages at the bottom or intermediate landings in a shaft
Brattice - partition in mine to regulate ventilation or support sides or roof, brattice cloth- canvas sheet for regulating ventilation in mine
Brush - to remove part of the roof or pavement by blasting or otherwise in order to heighten the roadway, hence brusher
Brushing - strata above or below a worked seam taken out in the making of roads
Buntin or bunton - wooden cross-stay in a shaft; a support for shaft slides
Cousie – a self-acting incline on which one or more full descending hutches pull up a corresponding number of empties- cousie-wheel - the drum or pulley on a self-acting incline
Cuddie - A weight mounted on wheels; a loaded bogie, used to counter-balance the hutch on a cuddie brae, Cuddie brae- an inclined roadway, worked in the same manner as a self-acting incline, the cuddie serving as a drag on the full hutch running down
Cundie - the unfilled space between the pack walls after the coal has been removed, in steep long-wall workings, a narrow roadway without rails, down which mineral is rolled to be loaded into hutches at the bottom; a small roadway or aircourse
Dook - an inclined roadway
Downcast shaft - The shaft down which the clean air descends to ventilate the underground workings
Firedamp - methane gas naturally found in coal seams - highly inflammable and explosive.
Holing - the excavation of a thin layer of soft material beneath, above, or in centre of a coal seam, as a preliminary to working it; or the layer so excavated.
Hutch - receptacle in which coals are conveyed from the face, formerly a type of basket, now a box-like wheeled truck
Hutch pin - a miner’s tally put on a hutch to indicate the hewer who filled it
Hutch pinning - to substitute dishonestly one’s own tally for another’s on a more fully loaded hutch
Hutch road - line of rails on which hutches run
Kettle - cylindrical or barrel-shaped vessel of wood or iron, used to raise and lower materials and men during the sinking of a pit
Lipe or lype - a small intrusion or irregularity in the joints of a coal-seam
Longwall - a system of mining by complete excavation at one working
Oncost - charges for labour and maintenance additional to the payments to the colliers and their bearers for the actual production of coal
Oncostman- a time-worker
Parrot Coal - a term for gas coal, often but not always restricted to such as is of inferior quality. This name has probably been derived from the crackling noise made by this type of coal in burning.
Pavement - the layer immediately underlying a coal or other workable seam
Putt - to propel a loaded coal-hutch from the coal-face to the pit-bottom by means of a series of shoves or pushes
Putter - person who does above - man or boy who assists a drawer to take his hutch along a difficult part of a drawing-road
Race - a group or train of hutches coupled together
Redsman - man employed to clear debris or rubbish from the workings in a coal mine
Road - a passage in an underground working in a mine
Roadsman - mine official responsible for the making and maintenance of haulage roads
Roof - the layer immediately overlying a coal or other workable seam
Scree - an arrangement of parallel bars arranged on a slope over which coal is passed at a pithead to remove dross, scree-man - the worker in charge of the riddling of the coal at a pit-head
Sinking pit - pit or shaft in the process of being sunk
Splint coal - hard coal with a dull lustre, which does not cake or break up in a furnace
Stoop - A broad pillar of coal or any other mineral left in to support the roof of a working
Stoop and room - A system of working a seam by a network of galleries, separated by broad pillars or stoops
Tree - to provide with supporting timbers or props, as the roof of a coal working
Tub - a hutch or small truck into which the cut coal is filled, a measure of coal of varying capacity
Upcast shaft - shaft up which the air returns to the surface after having ventilated the underground workings
Waff - to direct a current of air at, to fan
Waste - old workings; or the debris from workings
These definitions were mainly extracted from "Concise Scots Dictionary" 1999 (see Links for an on-line Scots dictionary) and "Economic Geology of the Fife Coalfields"