Though the Boeing 757 continued its 3,700-mile journey from Reykjavik, Iceland, to Denver, it wasn't until the plane landed that passengers and crew were aware of a gaping hole in the nose of the plane.The depth, the dark, and the dangers inherent in mining created a uniquely dangerous working environment for the miner.Miners faced death from collapsing mines, oxygen deprivation, and haulage accidents, with the specter of fatal lung disease remaining even after the miner had left the mines.But the most instantaneous and catastrophic loss of life was caused by explosions due to miner’s lamps igniting methane gas. Without light there was no sight, no work, and no wages. Open flames could ignite the inflammable gas especially prevalent in coal mines and mining explosions with hundreds of casualties was a common occurrence in the late 19Before 1850, miners would use candles or small lamps that were hung from crevices or hammered into timbers near their work.From 1850 until around 1915, miner’s headgear generally consisted of cloth or canvas hats with leather brims and metal lamp brackets on the forehead that allowed them to hang a source of light on the front of their cap.Caps served the ancillary use of protecting the miner’s eyes from smoke or soot and their head from small bumps, but its main purpose was as a mount for their lamps.
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The oil-fueled flame was exceedingly smoky, and could easily ignite flammable gasses (mainly methane) found in coal mines.These lamps were worn on soft caps that offered little in the way of protection and were mainly worn for the convenience of having a light source in front of the miner's face. Invented around 1910, the small carbide cap lamp had several advantages over an oil-wick cap lamp.The acetylene gas that powered the flame burned cleanly, relieving the miner from the smoke and soot from oil lamps.Also, the flame from the acetylene gas burned brighter than oil-wick cap lamps.
Carbide lamps often came with a reflector, allowing this brighter flame to be directed and giving the miner a wider range of light.
The drawback of the carbide lamp was that its open flame was still capable of igniting methane gas in mines.