The Silver Spade

The Silver Spade was a giant power shovel used for strip mining in southeastern Ohio. Manufactured by Bucyrus-Erie, South Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the model 1950-B was one of two of this model built, the other being the GEM of Egypt. Its sole function was to remove the earth and rock overburden from the coal seam. Attempts to purchase and preserve the shovel from Consol to make it the centerpiece of a mining museum exhibit for $2.6 million fell short, and the shovel was dismantled in February 2007.

1950-B "The Silver Spade"
The Silver Spade 07 1974 001.gif
The Silver Spade working near Cadiz, Ohio in July, 1974
TypeElectric power shovel
Length79 m (259 ft)
Width18 m (59 ft)
Height67 m (220 ft)
Weight6,400 t (14,100,000 lb)
Propulsion8 x caterpillar tracks
Gross power13,500 hp or 10.1 megawatts
Speed0.25 mph or 0.4 km/h
Blade capacity105 cubic yards (80.3 m3) or 28.35 short tons (25.72 t)

Facts and figuresEdit

Bucket and cab of The Silver Spade at Harrison Coal and Reclamation Park on Stumptown Road.
  • Began operations - November 1965
  • Speed - 1/4 mph (400 m/h)
  • Bucket capacity - 105 cu yd (80 m3)
  • Operating weight - 14,000,000 lb (7,000 short tons, 6,400 metric tons)
  • Height - 220 ft to top of boom (67 m)
  • Boom length - 200 feet (61 m)
  • Width - 59 ft (18 m)
  • Height of crawlers - 8 ft (2.5 m)
  • Length of crawlers - 34 ft (10 m)
  • Maximum dumping height - 139 ft (42 m)
  • Maximum dumping radius - 195 ft (59 m)
  • Rating on A.C. motors - 13,500 hp (10.1 MW) peak
  • Entire operation of the shovel is controlled by two hand levers and a pair of foot pedals.
  • Digs 315,000 lb (143 metric tons) of earth in a single bite, swings 180° and deposits the load up to 390 ft (119 m) away from the digging points at heights up to 140 ft (42.5 m).
  • Machine's four 2+58-inch-diameter (67 mm) hoist ropes total 3,000 ft (914 m) in length.
  • Fourteen main digging cycle motors are capable of developing a combined peak of 13,500 hp (10.1 MW) at peak load.
  • Automatically leveled through four 54-inch-diameter (1,400 mm) hydraulic jacks.
  • Swings a 105 cubic yard (80 m3) dipper from a 200 ft (61 m) boom and a 122 ft (37 m) dipper handle.
  • The "GEM of Egypt", the other large shovel, has similar statistics concerning size and weight, etc. The primary difference is the bucket and boom. The GEM is a 130 cubic-yard (99.4 m3) bucket and 170 ft (52 m) boom, while the Spade sports 105 cubic-yard (80 m3) bucket and 200 ft (61 m) boom.

Dipper armEdit

The design is unusual, as it uses a Knee action crowd,[1] and only these two Bucyrus-Erie 1950-B's were fitted with this technology. The technology was a requirement of the owners and had to be licensed from Marion Power Shovel, with Marion being allowed to use Bucyrus-Erie's cable crowd system[2] in return.

See alsoEdit


  • Information about the Preservation Effort
  • Extreme Mining Machines, by Keith Haddock, Pub by MBI, ISBN 0-7603-0918-3

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 40°11′24″N 81°03′15″W / 40.19000°N 81.05417°W / 40.19000; -81.05417