Giant Power Shovels of the Mid 1900s

The dimensions of a power shovel far exceed those of any front shovel. The machine with a large shovel would always need a base heavy enough for balance.

Bucyrus International, Incorporated built one of the giant machines of the 1960s. Its Bucyrus Erie 3850B was specifically built for the Peabody Coal Company. The dimensions of a shovel for the Peabody Coal – River King Surface Mine can be assumed to fall under the super class. Its overall height of more than 200 feet alone makes the machine a towering workforce. The most productive shovel ever built by Bucyrus Erie has a boom length of 200 feet and an overall weight of 9,350 tons. Its 140 cubic yard (107 cubic meters) bucket is capable of removing 44 million cubic yards of overburden a year. The “River King” began operations in 1964. It was scrapped in 1992.

The Marion Power Shovel Company also built a behemoth about a decade earlier. The dimensions of a power shovel like the Marion 5760 supported a 150 feet long boom and a 65 cubic yard (50 cubic meter) bucket. It had a crawler measuring 23 feet long and seven feet high. The 2,750 ton machine, known as the “Mountaineer,” pioneered the center pintle passenger elevator. The elevators could carry as many as three passengers. The 4,650 horsepowered vehicle began work in 1955. It was able to remove 100 ton bites of earth and rock before it ended work for the Hanna Coal Company in 1979. The first stripper to feature the knee-action-crowd system was scrapped in 1989.

The dimensions of a power shovel remained in the super large class during the middle 1900s. Bucyrus brought forth giants such as the 15,000 ton Marion 6360 or “The Captain” of 1965 and the 9,338 ton Marion 5960 or “Big Digger” of 1969. Bucyrus competed with its 6,850 ton Bucyrus Erie 1950B, known as the “Gem of Egypt,” and its 7,200 ton twin, Bucyrus Erie 1950B or the “Silver Spade.”

In 1998, Bucyrus International bought its rival, the Marion Power Shovel Company. One of the union’s largest electric rope shovel is the 495HR2. The dimensions of a power shovel weighing 3,040,670 pounds (1,379,225 kilograms) makes it possible for a payload of 120 tons (109 tonnes). The machine has a dipper capacity payload of 40 to 80 cubic yards (30.6 to 61.2 cubic meters), a dumping height of 33 feet (10.05 meters), and cutting height of 60 feet 3 inches (18.4 meters). The machine moves on track shoes sizes up to 140 inches(356 centimeters).

The dimensions of a power shovel would certainly remain long, large, and tall with two of the mining equipments together. The union could bring in more giants for another phase in mining technology.