The CF&I Mine Rescue Car No. 1 was designed by the Wagner Palace Sleeping Car Company in 1882. It remained in service as a sleeping car until 1910 when it was purchased by the U.S. Bureau of Mines and sold to CF&I in 1923. For the next two decades, it served as a rolling classroom promoting mine safety training in an effort to mitigate the dozens of mine disasters that were occurring in mining districts along the Front Range. It later became the Scrapyard Department office at the Pueblo steel mill until the company’s bankruptcy in the early 1990s.
During the company’s 121-year history, CF&I owned over 50 mines in Colorado. Due to the state’s unstable geology, Colorado mines historically had twice the national average of disasters. With thousands of lives in their charge, CF&I felt an obligation to care for and improve their employees’ working conditions with specialized training in dangerous situations. In response to public outcry demanding an increase in mining safety precautions, mine rescue cars were developed to educate miners and those living in mining district about the hazards they might encounter, from minor accidents to major mine explosions.
Dangers inherent in mining create a unique working environment for Colorado’s miners. These include collapsing mines, oxygen deprivation, and haulage accidents, among others. With dozens of local and national disasters recorded, the early 20th century brought to the limelight the need for preventative education in mining operations to prevent accidents from occurring and to save lives. Due to its importance in prevention of mine disasters and as the only known surviving wooden mine rescue car in the contiguous 48 states. It was listed on the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties in 1998.
The Steelworks Center of the West
215 Canal St
Pueblo, CO 81004