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Northwest Improvement Company coal boring machine

Washington State Library
  • Coal Mining
  • Mining Equipment
  • Drilling & Boring Machinery
  • Men
  • Agriculture & Natural Resources
  • Business
  • Labor & Commerce
  • Design
  • Engineering


The men responsible for designing and building N.W.I. Co.'s boring machine (left to right): Superintendent Frank Badda, General Manager Thomas Murphy, Dick Caldwell, and Master Mechanic Jack Caldwell. The chief inspiration for the project, however, came from Murphy looking for cost-cutting solutions to make their coal production more competitive in the fuel industry.“[Thomas] Murphy... earned recognition from engineers throughout America and other countries for his genius in coping with the problems of steep-pitch mining in the Roslyn Cle Elum Field,” wrote Cle Elum’s Miner Echo. “A boring machine, first put on paper about 1940 and finally constructed in the Roslyn shops about 2 years ago, was one of his pet projects. Employed at the No. 3 Mine, the machine has eliminated the expensive upkeep of ordinary main airways by boring them 42 inches in diameter through the coal. A picture of the 42 inch bore appeared on the cover of the March [1951] issue of Coal Age Magazine (Cle Elum Miner Echo, 6 April 1951).”

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