The Sibley breaker, Pennsylvania, 1866

When we think of large architectural structures, our thoughts tend to oscillate between cathedrals of the Middle-Ages and modern structures made of concrete, steel, and glass.

In between these two very contrasting eras, at the end of the 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th, some big structures have been built out of wood in rural America. Coal breaking is much easier with the help of gravity, which explains the need for tall buildings for this task.

Although these buildings have a dark history made of child labor and death at the workplace, pictures of the buildings are fascinating, mainly because nothing remains of these. They are a good reminder that no building is left of ancient civilizations that built out of wood, not matter how great they were.

Storrs Breaker, Steamtown, 1905
The Bast Colliery breaker, 1920
Coal Breaker, Forty Fort, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, 1905
Duryea Coal Mines Breaker
Coal breaker, Plymouth, Pennsylvania, 1901

About the Author

author photo

Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.