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Big Muskie Bucket

Located in McConnelsville, Ohio, this historic piece of mining equipment was once the biggest earth-mover in the world.

Coal mining in Ohio started around 1800. Production started slowly with around 100 tons coming from Jefferson County. To date, Ohio has produced over 3 billion tons of coal.

No power tools or machinery were involved when mining first began. Miners cut and loaded the coal and other workers would transport the coal from the mines into the cities by hand, wagon, or flatboat. No power tools or machinery were involved when mining first began. As Ohio underwent an industrial transformation, demand for coal grew. Before long, it became one of the largest coal-consuming states in the nation.

To streamline the coal mining process, construction began on Big Muskie, a drag-line excavator, in 1967. Two years later it began its work stripping the earth above rich veins of coal. It could move 39 million tons of earth in just one hour, which was one of the reasons it was known as one of the seven engineering wonders of the world at the time. Big Muskie had a boom length of over 600 feet. The vertical height of the machine was over 20 stories, with the operator seated five stories above the ground.

Big Muskie operated on electricity, enough to power a small town. It didn't have tracks like most excavators, but instead moved thanks to hydraulic feet. This made transporting the behemoth extremely time-consuming. It took days to move the machine a single mile. Big Muskie was in operation between 1969 and 1991, when the cost of operation outweighed its benefits. It was eventually dismantled, but the Big Muskie bucket, the centerpiece of Miner's Memorial Park, stands as a witness to the tenacity and ingenuity of the early Ohio miners and remains an important part of Southeastern Ohio's rich history.