Historically, underground methods were used to mine coal.
When a coal seam was to be mined a tunnel was driven to access
the coal. Branching off this main tunnel were smaller- tunnels
that ran in the coal seam and allowed it to be mined. As time
and mining progressed each name consisted of many miles of these
workings. The earliest mines were usually worked largely by
hand; the miners' using picks and shovels to dig and load the
coal into one ton coal cars. "Pit ponies" pulled trains of coal
cars on rails to surface, though in some, the miners pushed the
coal cars themselves. These techniques were inefficient and by
the 1900s, mechanization was becoming common in coal mining
although in some mines, to reduce chances of sparks and
explosions, hand mining continued for several more years.