1 A Jimmy is a railroad freight car used for carrying coal. Coal Jimmies date to the start of railroading and continued in service until the end of the nineteenth century.
A coal tipple was typically used at a bituminous coal mine, where removing impurities was important but sorting by size was only a secondary, minor concern. Coal breakers were always used (with or without a tipple) at anthracite coal mines. While tipples were used around the world, coal breakers were used primarily in the United States in the state of Pennsylvania (where, between 1800 and the mid-twentieth century, nearly all the world’s known anthracite reserves were located). Prior to entering the breaker, the coal would be crushed and sorted in a coal tipple and, if necessary and if water was available, washed. All coal was screened in the tipple as it came out of the mine so that steam-sized or smaller pieces could travel immediately to the coal washer and/or coal breaker. Chunks of coal which were too large were then crushed (sometimes several times) in the tipple until it passed through the screen (e.g., was of acceptable steam size or smaller).
2 The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. It is widely thought to have been an outbreak of plague caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. The Black Death is estimated to have killed 30% – 60% of Europe’s population, reducing the world’s population from an estimated 450 million to between 350 and 375 million in 1400. This has been seen as having created a series of religious, social and economic upheavals which had profound effects on the course of European history. It took 150 years for Europe’s population to recover. The plague returned at various times, killing more people, until it left Europe in the nineteenth century.