“The Mine Mule Affected by the European War” – 1914

Wynning History

In October 1914, war raged on the European continent. In what was then called the “Great War,” industrial-scale war was waged on a massive scale for the first time. Americans were paying attention.

A commentator for the Pottsville Republican noted a curious thing about the suddenly mechanized armies smashing each other to pulp on the battlefields of Europe: horses and mules were being replaced by trucks with internal combustion engines for military purposes.

A truck used by the German Army during World War I. (Imperial War Museum)

In the Coal Region, mules had long been used for much of the grunt work and hauling within the mines. But just as the commentator noted the gradual replacement of mules on the frontlines of war, they also noted that the same phenomenon was happening in the anthracite mines of Eastern Pennsylvania. The mule was being quickly replaced by electric motor cars for…

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