With the passing of the Mines & Collieries Act in 1842 (Miners Act 1842), English Parliament, which put an end to women, girls & boy under the age of 10 working in the underground mines, pit ponies were “harnessed” in to service.
Approximately 45 years later in 1887 the Coal Mines Regulation Act issued a “national” protection for horses working in the underground mines.
Of course England wasn’t the only country using “horse” power to mine the much needed coal to heat homes, cook meals and run the industrialized manufacturing.
Germany, Australia & Nova Scotia, to name but a few also used “Pit Ponies;” however, in America, mules were more plentiful than ponies, so were found in the coal mines in far greater numbers than the ponies.
According to the British National Coal Board, only 55 ponies were still in service in 1984, chiefly in the Northumberland area – Ellington Pit, down from 70,000 (yes, seventy thousand) in 1913. One of the last surviving ponies was called “Tony” who was reported to have died in 2011 at the grand ole age of 40, but “Robbie” who was thought to be the last colliery horse to work underground, retired in May 1999!
When the Centerville Pit, Iowa, closed in 1971, it was reported to be the last mine in the USA to have used pit ponies, whereas “Wharrier,” & “Mr. Ed,” of the Collinsville Coal’s No 2 Mine, Australia retired in 1990.
Nox Blending, Established in 2009 with the goal of contributing to the improvement of the environment around us. With a core focus on environmentally compatible products we seek to reduce the pollutants in our air and water from the ever increasing demand of new development and recreation opportunities.