Big Brutus

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Note people standing near the bottom "treads" to gain perspective of this 160-foot (49 m) machine (2006)

Big Brutus is the nickname of the Bucyrus-Erie model 1850B electric shovel, which was the second largest of its type in operation in the 1960s and 1970s. It is the centerpiece of a mining museum in West Mineral, Kansas where it had been used in coal strip mining operations where the coal seams were relatively shallow with the machine designed to dig from 20 to 69 feet (6.1 to 21.0 m).[1]


It is 160 feet (49 m) high and weighs 11 million pounds (4,989,516 kg). The bucket holds 90 cubic yards (69 m3) or 150 tons (136 metric tonnes). Maximum speed is 0.22 MPH (6 metres per minute). It cost $6.5 million in 1962 when it was shipped in 150 railroad cars to be assembled in Kansas. It only was used until 1974 when it no longer became economical to mine coal at the site. At that time it was considered too big to move and so was left in place.

Big Brutus, while not the largest electric shovel ever built, is the largest electric shovel still in existence. The Captain, at 28 million pounds, was the largest shovel and one of the two largest land-based mobile machines ever built. It was scrapped in 1992.[2]


The Pittsburg & Midway Coal Mining Company donated Big Brutus in 1984 as the core of a mining museum which opened in 1985. In 1987, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers designated Big Brutus a Regional Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark.[3]

The museum offers tours and camping.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Haddock, Keith (September 18, 2000). Colossal Earthmovers. MBI. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-7603-0771-7. 
  3. ^ "About Big Brutus". Big Brutus, Inc. Retrieved 2009-07-19. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°16′26″N 94°56′20″W / 37.273882°N 94.938827°W / 37.273882; -94.938827