About horses and horse winds.
In the mine museum the use of horses
is told. Photoes is taken in the mine museum.
Sala mine last horse wind..
winds were used to bring up ore, rest stones and water from the
depth of the mine. This last horse wind parts at Sala silver mine was
once placed beside the market shaft Stens Bottom south east end
during 1700-1800. It was saved from beeing burned by Hedvig
Samuelsson. She was married to Bengt Samuelsson, mine forman
for Bronäsgruvan active 1945-1962.
The Avesta Iron works supervisor, Sten
Sandlund had decided that it would be demounted and put on fire.
This was done and petrol was poured on the wooden parts. After
this the clerk left. But in this moment Hedvig came with two
buckets of water and put out the fire
When the clerk came back to control Hedvig
was standing there and said that it was not for any use to set
it on fire again.
The clerk was angry and tryed another time
but again Hedvig came with water and put it out. He now understodd
that it was no meaning to force his orders and went to
"I tried to set the wind on fire but a
woman came every time and put out the fire!" he declared
for Sandlund. Now Sandlund became angry and went straight down to
the fire place. But Hedvig was here and when Sandlund met her
eye to eye he understood that he had lost. Now he changed his
decision and the horse wind was saved for the coming world.
Note. But why isn't this wind mounted on the
boring yard in front
of mine reception.
Horse winds were used already during the
Middle Ages in mines. From early 1800 there were several winds
around at Sala silver mine. There were winds for two to four
horses working, but sometimes the number could be eight.
The horse winds primerly aim was to bring up the ore in barrels.
During almost 400 years since the time of Gustav Vasa in the
1600th century, up to the break through of industrialism
1900, where horses used to give power to the hoist system. These
horse winds hoisted up a bucket from the shafts with the help of
horses. When the horses above the earth pulled a
stock to rotation in the horse wind, the rope in which the
bucket was fastened started to move. One bucket went down and
one was pulled upwards. In this way the weight was balanced and
the silver ore could be hoisted up. Very strong ropes were
required made of hamp or bullocks skin. The 150-200 m long hamp
ropes were impregnated with tar and could weigh more than 1000
Many horses were needed.
To make these horse winds function a great
many horses were nedeed. During 1500 there were often 8 horses
ready for every wind. As horses couldn't work for 24 hours
changes were often made. One must realize that there were
several shafts to hoist rock, workers and also water. In
the end of 1500 there were at least 5 winds in the shafts area
and during 1650 the number were 9. This make quit many horses
for every day work. The rock owners and city burghers from 1624,
which were part owners in the mine planned for this reason large
meadows areas to feed horses.
Horse winds were used for a long time.
water pumps and horse winds were started to be driven by water
power during 1600, the need for horses decreased, but still
they played an important roll. There were always lack of water
and the winds must always be ready to start working, specially
for Christina's shaft. Not until 1900 were horse driven machines
out of date. Steam and electricity took over the heavy work. The
wind at the shaft of the market place was not demounted until
1950. (Picture show a wind at moss mine in Norberg.)
Horses were used 200 m down in the mine. Horse harness.
be able to bring a horse down in the mine a special kind of
harness was needed. It was difficult to bring the horses down in
the mine, like in Queen Christina's deep and broad shaft A horse dresssed
in a leather harness was hoisted down and also brought up. Above
all the horses must be kept calm when the harness was mounted on
the miserable animals would be hoisted 200 m down in a deep
chasm. The horses got their eyes covered and were calmed down by
their keeper. One problem arose when a horse would go to a level above bottom. In this case several miners
hade to pull the horse to enter the landing-stage by using a
boathook. From natural reasons these horses very seldom were
taken up to the sun shine. This was made only twice a year for
the dozens of horses which lived in the mine. The stay on ground
was limited to some weeks every time.
picture shows a
swedish farmer horse. A photo from the
An old harness.
old harnes which is shown in the exhibition has been used to
transport mine horses down in Sala Silvermine. It is dated from
at least 1800.
(The picture show a harness used in Sala silver mine.)
Horses below ground level.
It took a rather long time before horses
started to be used at Sala silvrmine in underground. It was
difficult to bring the horses down into a mine. The question was
also if a horse would accept the environment. The first main
problem was to produce a rope strong enough to wear a horse.
Another was that a rope lengthen itsef under heavy weight. During 1600 the possibilities were improved by skilfull
german engineers. Big roomy shafts were built, effective pumps
were installed and systamatic breaking lowered the risk for
slides. The big and broad shafts made that the smoke from all
fires more easy could be let out.
The first horses in the mine 1675.
The mine authority decided to make trials with
horses in underground. On the 24th of February 1675 the first
horse was hoisted down, dressed in a special harness, down into
the Queen Christina's shaft. The horses would pull heavy
brackets from deep levels loaded with silver ore to hoisting
place. It was of course an unpleasent feeling for the horse to
hang in this harness and hoisted down to 190 m level. The result
of this trial went well - 10 years later the number of
horses were increased to 12. When Charles XI went down into the
mine 1687 a horse wing was used to bring the king down to the
bottom of the mine - 250 m level.
Under ground stable.
horses had a stable like resting place prepared down in the
mine. One at 190 m level. Certain horse keepers handled these
stables and fed them with food and water. They were also responsible
for their care. These keepers followed the horses when they
worked with pulling silverminewagons to the big shafts.
Horses also wotked in undergorud with horse winds for transport
of rock from deeper levels.
(Note the harness on the horse.)
in the sun twice a year.
The horses were forced to stay down in
darkness of the mine for long times.One or twice they were
hoisted up in the special harness. Itr was only about to rest,
fresh gras and sunshine. During this "vacation time" some weeks
every summer because they were needed to help with cleaning all
Accidents with horses involved.
Very little informations about accidents
with horses exist. This don't exclude that it happened - in
judge protocol and other documents unknown stories can hide.
Horses died when Sandrymningen
Some occurences connected to mine
horses can be mentioned. When Big Mine Sandrymningen collapsed
1640 were horses shut in their work places. It was tent like
buildings where they pulled a wind. They followed down in the
depth. Super visor of the mine Hans Ranie described the accident
as follow 1711.
sunday afternoon when evening church service was held. The whole
roof above horse winds, water flat rods and buildings fell
down and sank to the bottom, all at the place lived didn't
escaped with life..."
Ranie also desribed that the rumble from
this collapse was so powerful that the walls and vaults in
Christine Church in Sala was trembling. Some horses must hav died in
this great accident. A photographer Bjorn Carlander found parts
from a horse cranium, when he investigated the rocks from this
Sandrymningen collapse, for some years ago (around 2000). It is
possible that this horse rests belong to one of those killed in
this 1640 collapse.
One mine horse fell down in a shaft
Another accident handle about a mine horse
working under ground and fell further down into a rock shelter
at the end of 1600. The minehand worker and the boy who trreated
the horse were punished as they had not had enough
control of the horse and in this way caused the death. Brun was judged to sit 12 hours in prison (bin) and the
boy was forced to sit on the punishment tool wooden horse sharp
place. This accident show that is was not dangerous for horses
to work in the mine and specially near deep rock walls and
Pitponies in Great Britain.
doubt those in Great Britain are the most famous mine
horses. Those ponnies - so called "pit ponnies" - who pulled
wagons in English and Welsh coal
mines, created the picture of a mine horse. Already 1790 the
first horses were down in britsih mines, but during 1900th
centure the number increased heavily. One cause for this
was a law 1842 which forbid women and children under ten to work
under ground. In this case strong horses were needed to transport
coal in the mines. More than 70000 horses worked in the mines
during 2000th century. The horses lived in under ground stables
- only during longer stops the horse hoisted up. The last under
ground horse in Great Britain were left till 1999.
mine horses in Germany and China.
Even in the German coal mines where there a
quit many mine horses working. At least 20000 horses were hard
working in the mines of Germany during 1910th. Horses were
terminated during 1950th and 60th. One of the last ponnies in a
coal mine of Ruhr was Tobias and came up for the last time 1966.
In Japan horses were used to pull wagons till 1920th, when
electrical locos took over in the larger mines. Mine horses have
been used in different places in Poland, such as the Polish
salt mines like Wielicka, Kongsberg silver mine in Norway and in