Shown here is part of the interior of the Issaquah & Superior mine plant, a photo of which appeared in last week’s column. The plant was located just west of Issaquah Creek in an area accessed by Mine Hill Road S.W. in Issaquah. Coal seams throughout Washington are interlayered with clay, shale and other geologically stratified materials. As a result, cleaning coal and sorting it from poorer quality impurities was important to prepare the product for sale. A dozen laborers stand along a moving conveyor, using specialized tools to break coal and remove any slag material unsuitable for market. The work space was called the picking table. In addition to visually identifying slag, miners could also test pieces, as coal was considerably lighter than shale, clay or rock. The waste material was then dumped into chutes behind or beside the miners. At some mines picking table jobs were given to new and inexperience help, or older laborers who could no longer handle the grueling work of underground mining. However, the workers in this image appear to be of prime working age. This photo #1978.6585.53d by Frank H. Nowell dates to around 1913 and comes courtesy of the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), located in their new building at South Lake Union in Seattle.