May 3, 2010

Big Brutus Dragline Excavator

Big Brutus, a steam shovel towering sixteen stories high and weighing eleven million pounds, is one of the largest attractions in Southeastern Kansas. Located in the small town of West Mineral, Big Brutus, now retired, brings in thousands of tourist yearly. This gigantic steam shovel was constructed between 1962 and 1963, taking eleven months and costing approximately 6.5 million dollars to construct. Built to strip mine the dirt, or overburden, form the coal layer, Big Brutus cleared the way for other equipment and machines too come in and mine the coal in the surrounding area. According to Janet Britt, a local volunteer since the opening of Big Brutus as a tourist site, three people were required to operate Big Brutus at all times: The grounds man, an oilier, and the operator, each with their own specific tasks. The grounds man took care of the driving of Big Brutus, while the operator controlled the bucket or "scoop" of the steam shovel that dug up the soil and earth. Meanwhile, the oilier took care of checking the oil barrels to make sure they were kept full and that the automatic oiling system of Big Brutus was working.

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Although retired now, Big Brutus serves as a reminder of an era passed in Southeastern Kansas coal mining history. Britt, who as a child was able to watch Big Brutus at work, was amazed at its size and capabilities. "To see Big Brutus at work during the night with all the lights on was just spectacular," Britt said. Amazed by it then and still amazed today, Britt encourages visitors to walk around the museum located at the entrance of Big Brutus as wells as the steam shovel itself.

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It is high and weighs 11 million pounds. The bucket holds or 150 tons. Maximum speed is 0.22 MPH. It cost $6.5 million in 1962.

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1 Responses to “Big Brutus Dragline Excavator”

Anonymous said...
July 9, 2010 at 9:11 PM


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