MSSU Archives & Special Collections Exhibits: Mining Terminology

Digital exhibits created by the MSSU Archives and Special Collections department.

Throughout the group photos, some people are labeled as “Cokey Herder,” “Tuggar Man,” “Rope-Rider,” etc. These labels were the titles of the job that each man performed.

Ground Boss: Head of the mine

Tuggar Man: Operated the tugger winches in the mine. Tugger winches were mainly used to lift and haul minerals like lead or zinc out of the mine. 

Machine Man: A worker that operated a drilling machine and was capable of operating one or multiple machines. 

Cokey Herder: In training to become ground boss, also acted as time keepers 

Rope-Rider: This worker balanced on the hitches between coal cars as they traveled through the mine, and then signal that it was time to return to the surface when the cars were full. 

Onion Head: The new person working in the mines

Bumper: Uncoupled the trucks that made their way to the bottom of the mineshaft, and pushed them to a spot under the center of the mineshaft to the hooker. 

Hooker: Detached empty buckets coming down from the shaft, and attach full buckets to the hoisting rope to be lifted to the surface. 

Roof Trimmer: Knocked down loose rocks from the roof of the mine in the morning to prevent rocks from falling onto the miners. 

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