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LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL.
STATE OF MISSOURI,
OFFICE OF STATE MINE INSPECTOR. To the Hon. HENRY BLACKMORE, Labor Commissioner, Jefferson City, Mo.:
SIR-I have the honor to submit this the hth annual report on tbe coal mines of Missouri, for the year ending June 30, 1894.
The past year has been the most disastrous to the business and to the miner ever experienced by the coal industry in this state. The alarming and serious conditions growing out of the business stagnation, and the prolonged, universal and unprecedented strike, are too well known to you to justify me in further mention of them. I desire, however, to thank you for the timely and lively interest displayed and exercised by you during the season of unrest, uncertainty and alarm, and for the personal aid and assistance rendered me in many of the trying and perplexing situations which we passed through. I am, above all things, truly thankful that the troublous times passed witb so little of violence, and that the miners of the State have acted so wisely and prudently. Mr. J. W. Marsteller deserves special mention in connection with this report. Se has at all times shown a deep interest in everything pertaining to tbe mining industry. He is accurate in calculations and adept as a draughtsman, and to his fidelity and capability much credit is due for the statistical presentation, and his suggestions bave been valuable in other directions; all of which I take pleasure in acknowledging. I thank you, and through you your office assistants, for very many favors shown me.
State Mine Inspector.
During the fiscal year ending June 30, 1894, I have made over 300 inspections, with reference to the safety, sanitary condition and ventilation of mines, and to sacure an escapement for the miners in case of danger.
The mines have been visited as often as the condition seemed to require. Where a deficiency in the ventilation was found, or the safety of the miner neglected, instructions were given to have the evils remedied at once; and with very few exceptions, where orders have been given, they have been complied with in a reasonable time, although some of the mines had to be visited the fourth time to enforce a com. pliance. The hardest and most difficult task I had to contend with during the past year was to secure an avenue of escape for the miners in case of accident, and was compelled to close down several mines for non-compliance with the law.
My experience with quite a number of the coal companies of the State, within the last year, in the matter of escapement shafts, has been a very trying and annoying one.
The beginning of the fiscal year found many coal companies in the position of having already, and for too long a period, violated the law with reference to the time when escapement shafts should be sunk.
Feeling that I had no discretion in the matter, but must obey the law, I determined that all coal mines requiring escape-shafts, in accordance with law, must either be supplied with such escape or be closed. With this in view, every effort has been made to have an escape-shaft sunk where required.
A glance at the table on improvements in this report will show more escapement shafts sunk during the past year than the record of any two previous years. Out of 365 mines operated last year, there is but one mine which has neglected to comply with the demand made for an escape-shaft, and in this case suit has been ordered against the operator. Among the many shafts ordered sunk, there were a number that had to be sunk from two hundred to nearly five hundred feet deep.