MY GRANDFATHER’S COAL BUSINESS

 

My Grandfather’s coal truck in front of his garage.  This is the garage that I wrote about in the “I ALMOST BURNED MY DAD’S GARAGE DOWN” post.

My Grandfather, Willard E. Crawford (1873-1950) worked in the *steel mills in Massillon,Ohio as a young man, and eventually worked his way up to foreman. At some point, he decided he wanted to own his own business hauling coal to residents in the Massillon area, and created “The Crawford Coal Company.” He bought a dump truck and drove south to the New Philadelphia, Ohio area five or six days every week to load his truck at the coal mine near New Philadelphia. (Called “New Philly” by local residents.)

Sometimes when Mom and Dad wanted some time alone on the weekends, I stayed overnight at Grandpa’s house on First Street. On Saturday morning, he always woke me up before dawn, and we would get in the old dump truck and head towards New Philadelphia.   I remember watching the coal separation conveyor separate the different sized lumps of coal at the mine, and thought it was pretty neat idea, the way it worked.

The conveyor first fed the coal over small sized openings in the separator, where only small lumps dropped into the small coal lump bin below.  Next were openings in the medium sized separator, where only medium sized lumps dropped through to the medium coal bin, and finally the large lumps dropped off the end of the conveyor. There may have been another size or two in the separator, I don’t remember. There was also a way that the coal mine equipment operators removed the **“slag”, but I don’t remember how they did that either.  (I was only six or seven years old at the time.)

After the coal was loaded, Grandpa drove back to Massillon to the residence of the customer that had ordered the coal for that particular day. When we arrived at the customer’s house, Grandpa backed up the truck to the basement window, removed his coal chute and placed it between the basement window and the back of his truck.  Then he raised the truck bed with the hydraulic lift, and started the coal down the chute into the coal bin in the basement.  Sometimes he made two trips to the mine in one day, but two trips were too much for me, so I stayed at the house with my Aunt Mildred (Dad’s only sister) during his second trip.  I always looked forward to the coal hauling trip, but I was also always glad to get back to the warmth of Grandpa’s house. 

* The steel companies were Republic Steel and Union Drawn Steel when I lived in Massillon, but they may have had different names when my grandfather worked there.

**Slag was something other than coal that apparently didn’t burn, so it was removed.  It may have been used in “coke” ovens.

 

 

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About JUNIOR

I am a 77 year old retired Northrop-Grumman Corp. Facilities Engineer. I worked at Northrop's Pico Rivera and Palmdale facilities for a total of 13 years, and retired 1n 1995. I have been married to my high school sweetheart for over 54 fantastic years, and we have 3 excellent children (all boys) 7 wonderful grandchildren, and 1 great grandchild. My hobbies are playing the piano (actually, more like learning HOW to play the piano) and restoring a 1937 Plymouth, although sadly, I have made very little progress on it in recent years. I drove road race go-karts until the age of 71. I never grew up, I just got old.
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