Mining Lights and HatsSoft Caps
|Soft Cap with Carbide Lamp, ca. early 20th century
From 1850 until around 1915, miner’s headgear generally consisted of cloth or canvas hats with leather brims and lamp brackets on the forehead that allowed them to hang a source of light on the front of their cap. Caps served the ancillary use of protecting the miner’s eyes from smoke or soot and their head from dust and small bumps, but its main use was as a mount for their lamps.
These soft mining caps had leather or metal brackets that served as mounts for the miner’s lamp. These soft caps were used for three generations of mining lamps, with oil-wick lamps, carbide lamps, and battery-powered electric lamps. Brackets were often sold separately, so the miner could keep a hat and buy a new bracket to accommodate a new lamp.
"Mining Lights and Hats - Soft Caps" showing 1 items.
- Description (Brief)
- This canvas miner’s cap has a leather lamp bracket secured to its front with six metal nails. Two union buttons attached to right side. A Lehigh Navigation Coal Company label is attached to the front of the cap. The larger button with the American Flag and numbers "11" and "1928" in center reads: "UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA / WORKERS UNION". The smaller button of red, white, and blue reads: "THRIFT ARMY / LIEUTENANT / CARBON CO. / SCHOOLS." The label has writing from the donor that reads “My first mine cap. / before safety helmet / with Working uniform button / to be worn to so[sic] that / member paid dues / that month.” The hat was owned by John Miller who lived on 160 West Church Avenue in Nesquehoning, Pennsylvania.
- Currently not on view
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- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center