Photo By: Eric Orlemann
The Silver Spade Began her working life in November 1965, near Cadiz,Ohio. Named to commemorate Hanna coal's 25th anniversary, The Spade might well have been named "the machine that was almost never made". (Read on)
The Silver spade was a "First" in several ways. Not only was the Spade the first BE1950 ever made, it was the first to use "Marions" knee action crowd.
Prior to the Spade, all Bucyrus machines used a straight dipper, which ran through a saddle mounted midway up the boom. However, the Spec's laid out by the coal company insisted that the machine be equipped with the knee action dipper. Since this was a patented Marion featured, the two companies worked out a trade. In return for the use of Bucyrus's "Cable crowd" (As opposed to their own rack and pinion crowd), Marion allowed Bucyrus to use the Knee action dipper which allowed more cutting force to be applied to the bucket without putting a lot of stress on the boom.
The result, Hanna got their machine, Bucyrus was able to complete the sale, and Marion gained the use of the cable crowd which was used for years afterward on many different Marion shovels.
I don't know what the result would have been without the cooperative effort between these two "competitors", but as it worked out, the result was a machine which is still in service today. The Spade can still be seen working the coalfields around New Athens,Ohio just a few miles south of Cadiz.
More Interesting facts about the Spade !!!
I tried to get a few pictures of the spade digging on my last visit to the area, but they shut down for lunch just as I arrived. It wouldn't have mattered, my view wasn't too good anyway!