Until the introduction of electricity, steam was the only source of power for winding, haulage, water pumps and ventilation fans.
Electrical power was first introduced, on a small scale, into the industry in 1879, but its adoption in mines occurred much later. The first completely electrified mine in Scotland was opened in 1903 by the Oakbank Oil Co., at Duddingston, near Winchburgh.
By 1938 all plant (except a few winding engines) in Scottish shale mines was electrically operated. As the result of the consolidation of the industry, power stations at retort works distributed electricity to mines and other retort works through a common grid.
In 1904 the first electrical winding motor in Scotland was installed at No. 1 Pit, Cobbinshaw, Tarbrax. This was a 200 hp motor, using direct current and was connected directly to the winding drum shaft. The design was known as the Ilger system, comprising a 3000 volt induction motor, a variable voltage D.C. generator, an exciter and a heavy fly-wheel.
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