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Eleven Year Old Coal Mine Worker, 1908.
Courtesy of The Library of Congress archives, this photo was taken at the Turkey Knob Coal mine in West Virginia by Lewis Hine in 1908. The disheveled boy in the photo was identified as being Otha Porter Martin who was born on July 3, 1897, making him only eleven years old at the time the photo was taken.
The lamp on the boys head is a carbide lamp. Solid carbide was used in the lamp body and when water was added it gave off a gas which could be lit.The title of the photo Tipple Boy refers to the machinery in which the boy worked with. A “tipple” is a structure above ground that housed the draw works (hoist engine, cable drum, gear head etc) and the conveyor that took the ore away when the ore cart was tipped when it reached the surface.
The photographer behind this photo, Lewis Hine (1874-1940), worked as an investigative reporter for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) documenting the working and living conditions of children in the United States between 1908 and 1924. If this sort of history interests you, I suggest checking out the massive archive of over 5000 photographs in the archives found here.
You may have noticed that the colorization of this photo is quite a bit more detailed than the original. Once I began restoring the photo and making lighting adjustments, I was able to pull out some of the definition that had previously gone unseen. The worn threads in the clothing and dirt smudges became all the more apparent and really brought the photo to life in my opinion. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.
Below is the original black and white photo as well as my full size colorization.