2005 Mining History Association Field Trip
Anthracite Region Tour
Huber Anthracite Breaker, Ashley, PA
June 20, 2005Tour Host: Huber Breaker Preservation Society
|The Huber Breaker in Ashley, PA, is the last of the great anthracite coal cleaning and processing plants. It was built in 1939 to replace the earlier Maxwell Breaker. Run-of-mine coal arriving at the breaker was washed and cleaned to remove impurities, principally slate. It was crushed and screened to specific sizes desired by customers. Considered an ultra-modern plant when constructed, it used Menzies Cones to separate coal from waste. The breaker was operated by the Blue Coal Corporation, a subsidiary of the Glen Alden Coal Company. It processed 7,000 tons of coal per day. The final product was sprayed with a blue color and sold as “Blue Coal.” Railcars were loaded underneath the breaker and shipped to markets. The long decline of the anthracite industry after World War II caused Blue Coal to declare bankruptcy in 1976. The Huber Breaker Preservation Society is trying to preserve the facility; however, in 2011, prospects for success appeared to be dimming.|
Layout of the Huber Colliery and Breaker ca. 1939 (From Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), Report PA-204, 1991)
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PHOTO GALLERY 1
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Central section of the Huber Breaker, Ashley, PA, 1939-1976. Last remaining anthracite coal breaker.
Northern section of the Huber Breaker, Ashley, PA, 1939-1976.
Our Tour Leader from the Huber Breaker Preservation Society explains the history and function of the plant.
A chain conveyor carries the run-of-mine coal to the top of the breaker. MHAers walk the gangway along side the conveyor.
Workers at the picking tables separate large pieces of slate from the coal.
Several stages of vibrating screens separate the coal into various size fractions.
Roll crushers reduce the size of coal and waste particles.
Menzies Cone separates waste from clean coal.