On the 6th inst. the telegraph wires transmitted news throughout the land that appalled every heart,-one hundred and ten men, the dispatch informs us, were buried in a mine at Avondale, Pa., the only source of egress from which was cut off by a merciless conflagration, and there was Uttle, if any hope that a single man would be rescued. The worst fears have been realized ; the bodies of the miners have been found huddled together smothered, after making such futile efiOrts as lay in their power to isolate themsolvea from the poisonous gases which filled the mine. The heart-rending details of this sad catastrophe have been given to the public through the daily press, and we will not dwell upon them. Liberal donations have been made for the relief of the bereaved families of the miners with a hearty promptness which E'peaks volumes for the philanthropy of the country. It is due to the Delaware, Lackawana, and Western Railroad Company to say Uiat its action since the occurreaee of the accident has been all that ought to have been expected. We are sorry to say that we do not think the disaster need have occurred, and that it might have been prevented at a less expense than the company has incurred in its efibrts to soften the blow to the afflicted survivors. Common-sense and humanity would seem to demand that men exposed to the perils of coal mining should not be forced to depend upon a single narrow avenue of escape, Uable to be cut off at any mom ont by an accident of this kind. It is evident that the method in which coal mining is conducted is behind the age. Gigantic enterprises in engineering are conducted to brilliant success in other departments, and yet year after year coal miners are forced to go down to suffocate beyond the reach of help, or to be suddenly struck down by some fatal explosion. We are glad to see that the subject of averting these calamities is claiming the earnest attention of scientific investigators and engineers in England, and the heart-rending disaster at Avondale will not be an unmixed calamity if the Idsson it teaches be generally heeded in this country. Our European exchanges inform us that Mr. H. Bessemer, the well-known'improver of the manufacture of iron, has suggested a remedy which seems likely to avert explosions. Gas in incased burners having combustion supported by compressed air will give a very bright Ught for a long distance ; and by these lamps being placed at intervals in the mine, the use of the " Davy " can be dispensed with. The gas is fed from the ground above the mine, and the great air pressure within the lamp will force out the products of combustion, so that the gases in the mine will not be able to enter and explode. In the talked-of tubular tunnel to connect England and France this idea might also be utilized. All that compressed air can do is as yet uncertain; for if it be without and within a man simultaneously, Uf e is supportable, and the brightest light beneath the waters in diving explorations or the laying of submarine foundations is ever desirable. One thing should however be insisted upon, that a single avenue of entrance and exit to a coal mine shall no longer be deemed sufficient, and the miners will be sustained by the public press in demanding that more ample means of escape be provided. A method for preventing explosions in mines, ha ing their origin in blasting, will be found in another column, with an engraving illustrating the apparatus employed.
This article was originally published with the title "The Avondale Colliery Disaster"