Dox Thrash, Coal Breaker

Dox Thrash: Coal Breaker (c. 1943) Carborundum mezzotint and etching
Coal Breaker
c. 1943
Carborundum mezzotint and etching
Credit Line
Museum purchase, 2007
9 7/8 x 6 7/8 in.

Pennsylvania was home to nearly all coal breakers or coal processing plants in the United States. Coal breakers were an indispensable part of the Commonwealth’s economy, but they also caused the premature death of many workers. Here the coal breaker is fortress-like in its size and sinister appearance. Dox Thrash produced this print using his innovative carborundum technique: he used a flatiron to rub carborundum powder on a copper plate. The process yields dark tones ranging from soft blacks in the shadows to lighter hues on the facade of the complex.

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