In this 1925 photo, B.F. Snook is shown explaining to visiting members of the Seattle Parent-Teacher Association just how the Gibbs breathing apparatus is employed by mine rescue workers.
The event, which included over 400 ladies, was held at the Newcastle mine following an earlier tour of the Renton Briquet Plant. Warren Roderick is wearing the scuba-like gear designed to allow rescuers the necessary equipment to access areas of an underground coal mines in the event of fire or explosion.
The metal cylinder hanging from Roderick’s belt was a methane detector, an important tool for discovering explosive gasses in underground coal mines. Roderick was captain of the Newcastle Team, while Snook previously led the Black Diamond Mine Rescue squad, which captured third prize at the 1923 international contest held in Salt Lake City.
Snook, who appeared in last week’s column, was a contract miner working for Pacific Coast Coal Company at the time. Efforts like this helped showcase precautions undertaken by Washington coal operators to safeguard the lives of miners working underground.
This image #97.1.35 comes courtesy of the Black Diamond Historical Society and originally appeared in the June 11, 1925 issue of the Pacific Coast Bulletin.
Research information was provided by JoAnne Matsumura, an Issaquah historian.