Perhaps the most interesting invention that powered the Industrial Revolution was the Steam Engine.
The 1775 invention by James Watt, the steam engine, began to be used in many industrial settings. Watt later formed an engine-building and engineering partnership with manufacturer Matthew Boulton. The partnership of Boulton & Watt became one of the most important businesses of the Industrial Revolution and served as a kind of creative technical center for much of the British economy. The partners solved technical problems and spread the solutions to other companies.
From being first deployed in mining, used to pump water from deep workings, steam engines found many uses in a variety of industries. The introduction of steam engines improved productivity and technology, and allowed the creation of smaller and better engines. After Richard Trevithick’s development of the high-pressure engine, transport-applications became possible, and steam engines found their way into boats, railways, farms and road vehicles. Steam engines are an example of how changes brought by industrialization led to even more changes in other areas.
Railways became an integral part of world transport during the early 1900’s and steam locomotives started being deployed to drive the Railway wagons. Not just for ferrying passengers, steam engines were used in a wide variety of industries. Coal Mining was one such industry. These steam locomotives were used to drive the coal tubs from the mining site to coal dump grounds. The British had deployed these engines across their colonies and the industrial output of these colonies started to grow exponentially.
Once such British colony famous for coal mining was at Makum Coalfields (now called Margherita) in Assam, India. The steam engines were deployed at these mining sites for transportation of coal. The Engines deployed here were built during the late 1800s and early 1900’s by renowned locomotive manufacturer from Stafford, England W. G. Bagnall. The likes of the locomotives includedJOHN (1924), SHELLY (1930), HASSANG (1897), DAVID and 796. Though these magnificent British marvels were built more than a 100 years ago, some of them are still operational at the Tipong Colliery, North Eastern Coalfields Ltd. (subsidiary of Coal India Ltd., under Ministry of Coal, Govt. of India) while the others have been put up on public display at India’s only Coal Museum at Margherita in Assam.
It’s truly said in one of the Billboard which you get to see when you enter the coal mining area “Industry runs of many ‘wheels’ and Coal is the prime mover.”
The State of Assam in India has been bestowed with a vast reserve of Fossil Fuels. Assam has huge hydrocarbon potential, large quantities of low ash coal resources, limestone and dolomite deposits as well as a few other unexplored minerals in addition to a wide forest covers and abundant rivers. Coal mining is an important source of livelihood for the people in the state and the largest coal producing company in the world Coal India Ltd. has its operations in the state of Assam under its subsidiary North Eastern Coal Fields Ltd. (NECF).
Situated very close to the office of the General Manger of Coal India Ltd. at Margherita in Assam is India’s only Coal Museum. The brain child of the Ex. Chief General Manager of NECF Mr. A. K. Bora a coal mining professional and a war history enthusiast (he has never missed to watch any movie/documentary on the World Wars I & II), this museum of International standard was inaugurated on 29th October, 2012 and is opening for public viewing.
The Prime attraction of this museum are the century old Steam Locomotives. The State of Assam was once a British colony famous for coal mining at Makum Coalfields (now called Margherita). These steam locomotives were deployed at these mining sites for transportation of coal. The Engines deployed here were built during the late 1800s and early 1900’s by renowned locomotive manufacturer from Stafford, England W. G. Bagnall. The likes of the locomotives included JOHN (1924), SHELLY (1930), HASSANG (1897), DAVID and 796. Though these magnificent British marvels were built more than a 100 years ago, some of them are still operational at the Tipong Colliery while the others have been put up on public display at India’s only Coal Museum at Margherita in Assam.
Another important attraction of the museum is the practice of coal mining depicted in the form of real time models, a demo structure of an underground coal mine, necessities to be carried to the underground mines by the workmen like underground coal mining boots, cap lamps, shovels and other tools of mining, vintage underground telephones, etc. The museum depicts the history of coal mining at Namdang in Assam. It also contains actual models of transformers, haulages and Circuit breakers manufactured by Crompton Parkinson and Manchester & Sheffield, England.
Other important attractions here at the Coal Museum are the Memoirs of World War II (rare pictures of construction of Stilwell Road, Pangsau Pass and Ledo airstrip, empty shells of bombs used in WWII), the history of the Assam Railways & Trading Co. Ltd (AR &T Co. Ltd.), a rare collection of stamps from over the world, vintage Cyclostyle machines, etc.
This Coal Museum is must to see place for people in the coal mining industry and history enthusiasts. Post you visit to the museum you can savor a sumptuous meal of traditional cuisine at the Singpho Villa Restaurant at Singpho Ecotourism Lodge at Margherita and experience open cast coal mining at Tirap Colliery.
Jungleideas welcomes you to India’s North East to witness the first hand experience of the”British Marvels” Steam Locomotives and India’s only Coal Museum – Tipong Colliery & Margherita, the State of Assam, Incredible India!