Fires of Prometheus


The endless rope (or cable) haulage system was commonly used both underground and on the surface of mines and quarries, often enabling wagons to be hauled up and down inclines. In some locations, wagons were hooked to the rope/cable using a so-called "Smallman" or haulage clip that gripped the rope/cable. There are several of these devices listed in the museum collection, though they were not located during this survey. To avoid the effort and risks involved in manual attachment, “clip wagons” were used. These were small, heavily weighted vehicles with robust couplers. The clip wagon in the collection (RM32) would have been used where the rope/cable was positioned beneath the wagons. Other designs would have been clipped to overhead ropes. The vice-like clip is located in a central well. Once the clip wagon was attached to the rope/cable, a train of wagons would have been coupled to it. Sometimes clip wagons were coupled to both the front and rear of trains of wagons. In some mines the clip wagons ran along narrower tracks within the regular trackway, and at the end of the haulage would descend into a pit allowing the wagons to continue overhead without having to be moved aside.

Last updated 9th November 2019

The Clip Wagon
Clip wagon (RM25)

A Smallman Clip
Smallman clip