A steam hoist. used in underground mining since 1800, uses cables wound around its drum to raise and lower skips, buckets, or cages. One cable is used for lowering, while the other is used for raising the cables up and down the shaft -- located directly below the headframe. Hoist production factors include; winch type, bucket capacity, lifting hieght, and lifting speed.

A steam hoist operator controls the hoist by moving levers and pedals in response to the Mine Bell Signal System. A signal is given from underground giving the steam hoist operator the indication to lower or raise the cage, skip or ore bucket to a certain level within the mine depending on the level marker.

The steam hoist at the Quincy mine in Michigan -- first operational in 1920, is the largest in the world. It was produced by the Nordberg Mfg. Co for the Quincy Mining Company. The 30' drum held 10,000' of 1 5/8" wire rope (almost 27 tons) and could hoist 10 ton skips at the rate of 3.200' fpm or (34 mph).

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