Metal bird cage
- Object Number: STKMG:2011.LH.6.130
- Simple Name: cage
- Summary: Metal bird cage. Formerly used at Silverdale Colliery to take canary underground as an early warning of build-up of toxic gases such as methane, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Fake canary.
- Terms:social history
- Additional Notes: The canary is particularly sensitive to toxic gases such as carbon monoxide which is colourless, odourless and tasteless. This gas could easily form underground during a mine fire or after an explosion. Following a mine fire or explosion, mine rescuers would descend into the mine, carrying a canary in a small wooden or metal cage. Any sign of distress from the canary was a clear signal the conditions underground were unsafe and miners should be evacuated from the pit and the mineshafts made safer. Canaries first used in 1911 and continued until about 1987 when they were replaced by electronic equipment.
- Contact: Potteries Museum and Art Gallery