Program on Joy Mining Machinery slated Feb. 18

Franklin Preservation will host the program titled “The History of Joy Mining Machinery” at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, at DeBence Antique Music World.

Retired Joy employee Rod Richards will present the story of Joy from the original inventor and founder Joseph Francis Joy to the current Joy Global organization.

Joseph Joy was born in 1883. At the age of 12, he went to work in the coal mines of Cumberland, Maryland.  While lying on his side in mine water for long hours as he labored, this bright young man visualized a “better way” to do the work, according to Richards.

After many trials and tribulations, in 1919, this inventor and engineer was awarded a patent for his first Mechanical Loading Machine.  This invention would begin the transformation of underground mining from “pick and shovel” methods to the totally mechanized remote controlled systems of the present day, Richards said.

In 1924, Joy moved his manufacturing operations from Evansville, Indiana, to Franklin in order to be closer to the rapidly growing coal fields in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, as well as being near sources of raw materials and steel foundries.

At the height of activity in Franklin Joy Mining Machinery employed more than 2,400 people in several plant locations and supported many local businesses, organizations and activities.

For many years and generations of families, Joy Mining Machinery has been an integral part of life in Franklin and the surrounding area.  The company has gone through numerous organizational
changes culminating in the current Joy Global Corporation employing thousands around the world.

Unfortunately, with increased emphasis on environmental issues, growth in the shale gas industry and new ownership; the future of Joy in the Franklin area is very uncertain, Richards said.