Big Muskie - Side View

Big Muskie in February 1999.

Big Muskie was a coal mining Bucyrus-Erie 4250-W walking dragline owned by the "Central Ohio Coal Company" (formerly a division of "American Electric Power"), weighing nearly 13,000 metric tons (13,000 long tons/14,000 short tons)

and standing nearly 22 stories tall. It operated in the U.S. state of Ohio from 1969 to 1991. Big Muskie was the world's largest dragline, and one of the world's largest mobile earth-moving machines after Marion Power Shovel built the 6360 stripping shovel called The Captain at the Captain mine in Illinois and the German bucket wheel excavators of the Bagger 288 and Bagger 293 family.[1]

Big Muskie cost $25 million in 1969, the equivalent of $150 million today adjusted for inflation.[2] Big Muskie removed more than 608,000,000 cubic yards (465,000,000 m³) of overburden, twice the amount of earth moved during the construction of the Panama Canal, uncovering over 20,000,000 metric tons (20,000,000 short tons) of coal. Its bucket could hold two Greyhound buses side by side. It took over 200,000 man hours to construct over a period of about two years.

Big Muskie was powered by electricity supplied at 13,800 volts via a trailing cable, which had its own transporter/coiling units to move it. The electricity powered the main drives, eighteen 1,000 horsepower (750 kW) and ten 625 horsepower (466 kW) DC electric motors. Some systems in Big Muskie were electro-hydraulic, but the main drives were all electric.[3] Big Muskie used the equivalent of the power for 27,500 homes. The machine had a crew of 5, and worked around the clock.

Big Muskie was scrapped in 1999, despite calls that it be preserved as a museum. The bucket was relocated to a newly constructed Miners Memorial Park in Morgan County at 39°41′57″N 81°43′52″W / 39.69917°N 81.73111°W / 39.69917; -81.73111.

A wildlife park called The Wilds, which opened in 1994, was created from 10,000 acres (40 km²

) of the land stripped by Big Muskie for coal extraction and subsequently reclaimed. It is home to numerous species of African, Asian, and North American fauna.


The Big Muskie was a model 4250-W Bucyrus-Erie dragline (the only one ever built). With a 220 cubic yard bucket, she was the largest single-bucket digging machine ever created. Here are some of the specifications:

  • · Weight: 27 million lbs., or 13,500 short tons
  • · Bucket Capacity: 220 cubic yards, 325 tons
  • · Height: 222 ft., 6 in.
  • · Length of the boom: 310 feet
  • · Length of machine with boom down: 487 ft., 6 in.
  • · Empty bucket weight: 230 tons
  • · Width: 151 ft., 6 in., comparable to an eight-lane highway
  • · Cable diameter: 5 in
  • · Electrically powered: 13,800 volts
  • · Mobility: hydraulically driven walking feet

See alsoEdit


  1. For details see the table on the German Wiki.
  2. Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2008. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  3. Extreme Mining Machines, by Keith Haddock, pub by MBI, ISBN 0-7603-0918-3

External linksEdit

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Coordinates: 39°41′57″N 81°43′52″W / 39.69917°N 81.73111°W / 39.69917; -81.73111

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