On Thursday, May 15, The Nanticoke Historical Society hosted guest speaker Attorney Charles Petrillo who presented four movies that centered on the coal mining industry and were filmed in Nanticoke and surrounding areas. The Price of Carelessness, a silent movie, focused on the hazards of being under the influence of alcohol on the job. The movie debuted at the Rex Theatre in Nanticoke on June 15, 1915, and as Petrillo pointed out, is a year and one month shy of the first time the movie was viewed by the public. Petrillo also pointed out, the film shot at Truesdale Colliery was probably one of the first times a movie was filmed underground. In it an accident, caused by a miner under the influence of alcohol after drinking at a local well known bar, causes the death of his helper. It showed the helper being transported immediately after the accident in a horse drawn hearse or black Mariah as it was known at the time, to his residence, in Concrete City. The second film, also silent, Mining of Anthracite, is also believed to be from the Nanticoke region and presented an overview of the coal mining process. A third film from the 1960s showed the mining operations at Wanamie and the former railroad there. The fourth film, however, was an additional one Petrillo brought along as an added surprise. produced by Blue Coal Company, the film heralded the assets of coal as an energy source and introduced the company’s new coal furnaces. The film produced in the 1960’s was an attempt to curb the popularity of the new oil burners, that after the decline in the use of coal, would essentially take over as heating units in homes and businesses. Petrillo, added one more surprise, telling those in attendance they were probably the first audience in 60 years view the film. Another wonderful scene from this movie showed the Huber Breaker in Ashley in its heyday. The evening was a wonderful look back at the life of those who toiled to feed their families and was a graphic representation of how dangerous jobs in the coal mining industry were. The men and boys who risked their lives and the women who sustained homes and families under unbearable hardships were truly heroes. The Nanticoke Historical Society would like to thank Mr. Petrillo and the Anthracite Heritage Museum for sharing these informative pieces of history with our community.
Contributed by Judy Minsavage for NHS
Thank you Judy