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Virtual Museum of Coal Mining in Western Pennsylvania

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The 20th Century Society of Western Pennsylvania
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Shoaf: Coal Company Patch Town, Shoaf, Georges Twp., Fayette Co., PA


Coal Miners Memorial, Shoaf Mines & Coke Works, Shoaf, Georges Twp., Fayette Co., PA


History of the Shoaf Mine & Coke Works, Shoaf, Georges Twp., Fayette Co., PA


Shoaf Mine & Coke Works in Ruins, Shoaf, Georges Twp., Fayette Co., PA


Shoaf Mine & Coke Works, The Coke Ovens & How they were Built, Shoaf, Georges Twp., Fayette Co., PA


Coal Mines of Fayette Co., PA MAIN INDEX

Map of H.C.Frick Coke Co. Mines
Shoaf Coke Works in Operation,
Shoaf,
Georges Twp.,
Fayette County,
Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

A Tribute to the Coal Miners that mined the Bituminous Coal seams of the Shoaf Mines, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Compiled & Edited by
Raymond A. Washlaski

Raymond A. Washlaski, Historian, Editor,
Ryan P. Washlaski, Technical Editor,

Updated Dec. 28, 2009

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The Coke drawer at work pulling the quenched coke from the bee-hive coke ovens.  After he pulls the coke, he will then use the coke fork to shovel the coke into a waiting railroad car.
(Drawing courtesy of the HABS/HAER, Historic American Building Survey / Historic American Engineering Record, National Park Service, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.)

The watering pipes have been inserted into several of the bee-hive coke ovens at the Shoaf Coke Works, about every other oven is being watered down at the same time, this was done to cool the coke, so it can be drawn from the ovens.  By watering every other oven, the bank of ovens remained hot from the ovens that were still burning, thus ready to be charged for another burn.
(Photo courtesy of the Collections of the "Coal & Coke Heritage Center," Penn State University Fayette Campus, Uniontown, PA.)

Watering the coke ovens to be pulled, to cool the burning coke.  After the coke was cooled down the coke machine in the background would pull the coke from the oven and load it into a waiting railroad coke car.
(Photo courtesy of the USX Resource Managment Division, Uniontown, PA, & John K. Gates' Book, "The Beehive Coke Years." and the photo collections of Coal & Coke Heritage Center, Penn State University Fayette Campus, Uniontown, PA.)

Knowing where to direct the watering pipe and for how long to keep it in that position was important.  Not only was it skiiled work, it meant statring about 3:30 a.m.  Tis was necessary to get a head start, seven to nine ovens, on the coke drawing machine.  The Shoaf bee-hive coke ovens were large ovens, measuring fifteen feet across by ten feet high and used about eleven hundred gallons of water to quench each charge.
(Photo courtesy of the USX Resource Managment Division, Uniontown, PA, & John K. Gates' Book, "The Beehive Coke Years." and the photo collections of Coal & Coke Heritage Center, Penn State University Fayette Campus, Uniontown, PA.)

Water was still poured on the coke as it was being loaded into the railroad cars.  This was a precautionary measure against the reignition of the coke.  The piles of coke ash seen here contained very fine coke that remained after the bigger pieces had been drawn. It was hauled to the ash dump and was considered waste in the early years.  Later in time, it became a valuable asset and was screened for size and sold to the steel companies.
(Photo courtesy of the USX Resource Managment Division, Uniontown, PA, & John K. Gates' Book, "The Beehive Coke Years." and the photo collections of Coal & Coke Heritage Center, Penn State University Fayette Campus, Uniontown, PA.)

The coke drawing machine draws the finished coke out of the oven and feeds the coke into a waiting railroad car. Water is being applied to the coke, to prevent its catching on fire in the railroad car.  The coal charging larries wait on top of the ovens to charge the hot oven with a fresh supply of coal.  At the Shoaf Coke Works, the ovens were usually charged with coal within thirty minutes after the coke was drawn.
(Photo courtesy of the USX Resource Managment Division, Uniontown, PA, & John K. Gates' Book, "The Beehive Coke Years." and the photo collections of Coal & Coke Heritage Center, Penn State University Fayette Campus, Uniontown, PA.)

A coke yard switcher engine moves in to pick up one of the last railroad hopper cars of bee-hive oven coke at the Shoaf Coke Works.  This was March, 1972.  It was the ninth day of the month that the last bee-hive coke oven was charged with coal and five days later that was the last coke oven to be drawn.  This was the last of the bee-hive coke ovens in operation, ending a segment of industrial America, the bee-hive coke ovens are no more.
(Photo courtesy of the USX Resource Managment Division, Uniontown, PA, & John K. Gates' Book, "The Beehive Coke Years." and the photo collections of Coal & Coke Heritage Center, Penn State University Fayette Campus, Uniontown, PA.)

"Shoaf: Coal Company Patch Town,
Shoaf, Georges Twp., Fayette County, Pennsylvania"
"Coal Miners Memorial, Shoaf Mines & Coke Works,
Shoaf, Georges Twp., Fayette County, Pennsylvania"
"History of the Shoaf Mine & Coke Works,
Shoaf, Georges Twp., Fayette County, Pennsylvania"
"Shoaf Mine & Coke Works in Ruins,
Shoaf, Georges Twp., Fayette County, Pennsylvania"
"Shoaf Mine & Coke Works,
The Coke Ovens & How They were Built,
Shoaf, Georges Twp., Fayette County, Pennsylvania"

Support the Coal & Coke Heritage Center, a non-profit research center and museum.
Want to know more about the women who lived in the coal patch towns?  You need this book.  One of the few studies done on the women of the coal & coke era.
Common lives of Uncommon Strength:
The Women of the Coal & Coke Era of Southwestern Pennsylvania 1880-1970
Complied, written and edited by: Evelyn A. Hovanec, PhD   227 pages.
Voices of the women tell unique stores of the coal and coke era, plus vintage photographs, documents, maps, and newspaper articles.  Hardcover $35.00  Soft cover $25.00  Add $5.00 shipping / handling.
Send Check or money order to:
Coal & Coke Heritage Center, Penn State University Fayette Campus
P.O. Box 519, Uniontown, PA  15401
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