GLOSSARY OF MINING TERMS(M)

Machine runner, -see Runner.

Maggie, an inferior or stoney coal; or an inferior sandy ironstone. (Scot.).

Maggie blaes, an inferior sulphurous ironstone. (Scot.).

Maiden country, an area of unworked coal, or an area of unexplored coal-bearing country side. (Som.), also maiden field and maiden ground. –see Virgin ground.

Main bord gate, a heading that was driven to the rise side of the shaft. It was usually larger than an ordinary bord gate. (Yorks.).

Main and tail, a double drum reversible haulage system, the main rope pulls the loaded journey outbye with the tail rope attached to the rear. To take the empties inbye the roles are reversed. (S.Staffs.).

Main buntons, strong buntons for hanging pumps in the shaft or for scaffolding.

Main fan, the principal mechanical ventilator installed at the surface usually exhausting air out of the mine via the upcast shaft. Sometimes ventilation was effected by blowing air in.

Main gate, the principal roadway from a longwall face and main access to the face, along which coal is usually transported and is the intake roadway for the ventilation of the face. Also sometimes called the ‘mother gate’or ‘Loader gate’.

Mainer, a set of runaway tubs. (Leics.).

Main mine, the main underground haulage road. (Scot.).

Main roads, -see Winning headings.

Main suit, a large feeder of water. (S.West.).

Mainway, the main passage or gate. (Yorks.).

Makings, small coals made when kirving or nicking. (N.East).

Man dook, a road used for transporting men. A travelling road. (Scot.).

Mandril, -see Pike.

Manhole, a refuge place in the side of a haulage or locomotive roadway where the men could step in to allow a run of tubs to pass.

Man hudge, a fore-runner of the cage. The man hudge was specifically designed for winding men in the shaft. Similar to the coal hudge the man hudge had a cover to protect the men from anything falling down the shaft and there was a hole cut in the side to allow the men to get in and out. (Som.), (Gloucs.).

Man-of-war-pillars, small extra pillars of coal left in place when working a thick seam, usually where the coal is heavily faulted. (S.Staffs.).

Manrider, a locomotive or rope hauled train or conveyor belt used for transporting men.

Man-riding, men riding on the front tub of a set of tubs; or men riding in or out of the pit in a purpose-built train; or men riding on a conveyer belt to and from the face. At each end ther would be a ‘man-riding station’. When the cage is being used to wind men as opposed to coal it was said to be ‘man riding’.

March, a boundary. A line marking the limit of the workings underground. It could be a wall, a hedge or any other feature on the landscape. It was usual to follow the line of a fault, or it could be an imaginary line drawn on a map. (Scot.).

Marine Band, a distinctive thin layer or stratum with fossils of a marine affinity, used by mining geologists to correlate the coal measures.

Marl, beds of hardened clay, frequently thick and unlaminated, free from calcareous matter, and specially suitable for brick and tile manufacture.

Marlhole, a quarry for the working of marl. (N.Staffs.).

Marrow or Marra, a mate, a butty or a partner. Pronounced ‘marra’.(N.East).

Marsaut lamp, a lockable safety lamp made by Richard Johnson, Clapham amd Morris.

Mash, a double-headed or two faced hammer used for setting props or breaking coal or stone. (Scot.).

Mash axe, a double-headed hammer with one side of the head forged into an axe. The mash axe was used for chopping out broken timber props on the coalface. -see also Radge. (Scot.).

Master’s coal, coal mined by a man who was paid by time as opposed to by the ton or the score.

Match, a piece of touch paper or lamp cotton twisted straight and oiled, fixed to one end of a straw or squib to light a blasting charge.

Maul or Mell, a large hammer. (N.East); or wedges for breaking up stone or hard rock in shaft sinking.

Mealy, soft and friable, as in ‘a mealy roof’.

Measure head, a short heading or drift. -see also Crut.

Measures, strata of different kinds.

Meco-Moore cutter loader, a coal cutter with an undercutting jib and a mechanically operated loader combined. The prototype was installed in 1934 in Chisnall Hall Colliery, Wigan Coal Corporation.

Meet, the point in the shaft where cages pass each other; or the place in a roadway where tubs pass. (S.Staffs.).

Meetings, another word for underground roadway junctions; or where the cages pass in the shaft, or the tubs pass on a haulage.

Men-of-war, small additional coal pillars left to support the roof where necessary in ‘square work’ in the S. Staffs. Thick Coal.

Merry-go-round trains, trains specifically designed to deliver coal directly to the power stations from the coalmines. Some were loaded and unloaded automatically.

Metal or Metal-stone, claystone and shale.

Metal drift, a heading driven in stone as opposed to coal. (Lancs.).

Metal man, a man who repaired underground roadways. (Lancs.).

Metal ridge or Metal rig, the floor of a mine forced up by the action of creep. (N.East).

Methane drainage, the capture and drainage of gas out of the mine by means of boreholes and suction.

Methanometer, a hand-held instrument for testing for methane, firedamp.

Middles. In a compound seam of coal or ironstone consisting of three separate portions, the middle layer is usually termed the ‘middles’.

Middle sets, props set down the middle of a roadway for additional support. Also called ‘catch props’.

Midgies, an open-flame lamp used in restricted areas of the mine. (N.East).

Mid stone, a layer of stone separating two coal seams, often so thin that the two seams could be classed as one.

Mine car, a modern version of the old coal tubs with a capacity up to 6 tons. The mine car is usually hauled underground by a locomotive.

Mine earth, an early term used for ironstone. (N.Staffs.).

Mine dust, The fine dust or powder of calcined ironstone which is left on the calcining ground and which cannot be used in the blast-furnace unless briquetted or otherwise solidified. (N.Staffs.).

Mine rucks, heaps of raw ironstone, (usually 200 feet by 100 feet by 6½ feet high), prepared on the surface for calcination in the open air. (N.Staffs.).

Mingles, an old name for the framework that carried the pullies of the headgear. (Scot.).

Minge or Mingy coal, coal of a tender nature or friable; or dirty coal, often fusainous.

Minings, very soft coal. (Lancs.).

Miracle, a fossils.

Miss the tow, to be late in getting to the shaft and missing the last man riding draw before the beginning of coal winding time. If a man arrived late at the pit he would be sent home and lose a day’s work.

Mistress, a cover for the sinkers in a wet shaft; or a cover for a sinkers lamp when working in a wet shaft. (Scots); or an oblong box with the upper half of the front opened. There was a round hole in the base for a candle. The candle could then be raised as it burned down. The mistress allowed the candle to be carried in a strong current of air. (N.East).

Moat, to puddle, to make a seal using wet clay.

Moat or Mote, a straw filled with black powder and used as a fuse.

Mobby, a leather girdle and chain used by the drawer for pulling the tubs. (Staffs).

Moggies, In Lancashire ‘moggies’ was the miners name for mice that infested the mines.

Monkey, a device set between the rails at the head of an incline. It allowed the ascending wagons to pass over, then lifted to form a barrier to stop the wagons if they broke loose from the haulage rope. (Leics.), (Scot.); or a permanent device fitted to one end of a hutch to attach it to the haulage rope.

Monkey clip, a clip with a tongue that bites on the haulage rope. It has a screw with a pin that is used to tighten the screw onto the rope. This prevents the tubs from slipping back or running away. It was used on overhead haulage ropes in conjunction with a dog clip. The dog clip was at the front of a run and the ‘monkey clip’ was at the rear. (Scot.).

Mopping, the burring or fuzzing of the ends of tapered props due to the strata pressure.

Mosh, to crumble, to break down. Coal which was nesh or tender was liable to ‘mosh down’ if treated roughly during transportation, or left exposed to the weather. (Leics.).

Moss box, a cast iron open-topped box or ring which was set in water-logged ground when sinking a shaft using the ‘Kind-Chaldron’ system of sinking. The box filled with dry moss was lowered into the pit with, or suspended from the tubbing. The weight of the tubbing settled down and compressed the moss to form a perfect watertight seal. Mother of coal,a smutty, spongy, soft type of coal usually found underlying the coal on top of the seatearth. Known in Somerset as ‘motheram’ and in the North East as ‘dant’. Mother of coal could be used for polishing tin and burnishing copper and brass.

Mothergate, the continuation of the rolleyway beyond the flat into the workings. At a later time these could be converted into a rolleyway. (N.East). -see also Double unit face and Main gate.

Motty, a pay ‘check’ or token. (Lancs.), (Yorks.). -see Check, Tally and Token.

Mouth, the surface opening of a shaft, adit or drift.

Mouthing, an entrance to a seam partway down a shaft.

Mudds, small nails used for pinning brattice cloth. (N.East).

Mudstone, claystone and siltstone.

Mush, the crumbled, crushed or weathered fragments of shale beds. (N.Staffs.).

Mushy coal, a soft, sooty type of coal; or when the coal is crushed. (Lancs.); or soft and friable coal and shale found near a fault. (N.East).

Mussels, typically brackish-water lamellibranches of the genera: Carbonicola, Anthracomya and Naiadites. – see ‘Mussel band’.

Mussel band or bed, a band containing, or chiefly composed of, mussel-like shells. The mussel bands give valuable information in the correlation of the Coal Measures, or strata. –see Cockle bed.

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