This is the Marion 8900 Walking Dragline, first of only two ever built. The other was at Peabody's Moura Mine in Australia. This machine was built in 1968 at the Dugger Mine. It mined there until 1985. It was the world's largest for only a brief time until Big Muskie was completed in the same year. The machine was walked about 10 miles to the Hawthorn Mine in 1985, where it worked until it suffered a fatal swing circle failure in 1998 or 1999. Some say it was welded shut the next day and left for dead. It wielded a 150 cubic yard bucket on a 250 foot boom. Critics say it couldn't spoil far enough away, but champions of the machine say that it's huge bucket made up for it's short swing. In it's final years, it worked in a mile long pit opposite the Hawthorn 2570w, equally famed and criticized for it's 360 foot boom with a 95 cubic yard bucket. Perhaps they were considered "the odd couple". I have met operators from both machines and they both say they were great machines. The 8900 also suffered a catastrophic boom failure early in it's career, but apparently no one was seriously injured. There was one man who fell to his death from the operator's cab walk way, about a 30 foot drop. The machine sat abandoned until 2005, when it was cut up for scrap. The operator's seat and controls, a sign from the top of the machine, and several chain links were preserved at the Dugger Coal Museum. Some of the fan units from the top now adorn the top of the Bear Run 2570 (Old Glory 2570 from Farmersburg) and one of the staircases is still in Bear Run's posession as a set of extras. One of the last pics shows a friend of mine standing next to the actual machine for scale. Kind of scary to think that it was only the world's 5th or 6th largest machine at one time! RIP Marion 8900.
As a life long resident of Marion, Ohio, the Marion and Bucyrus machines greatly interest me. Having said that...does ANYBODY know if any machines from these two companies are still in existence??? I have this wild dream of one of these beasts returning to Marion, on display beside the freeway for all to be amazed by the sheer size and awe. There has to be something still available somewhere in the world.
I well remember the guy who lost his life on that machine, name was Jim Miller. I happened to go down to the mine that day to take some photos and nobody was being allowed on the dragline until the mine inspectors arrived. Can you tell me exactly when construction on the 8900 began. I'm thinking it was late 1964 or early 1964. Went down to see it and a guy I had worked with previously in CO was operating the crane, name was Shorty Hollingsworth.
I don't know where you got your information, but the 8900 didn't suffer a casatrophic swing failure. I was the 3rd shift oiler on the 8900 until they parked it in December of 1999 when Hawthorn Mine was shut down. The reason they didn't walk it out of the pit was because the big brass bushing in the right rear propel crank was spinning and they didn't want to chance walking up a ramp with that bushing problem. We did seal the machine, mostly to keep birds out. And the person that fell to his death at Dugger Mine fell out of the front window of the operator's cab. He was an electrician and he was working on the operator controls and the front window was open.