Jones, John E., (1883-1957.) | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
Name: Jones, John E., (1883-1957.)
Historical Note: John E. Jones was born in 1883 and came to the U.S. from Wales with his parents and two brothers when he was eight years old. In 1898 he went to work at a mine outside of Oglesby, Illinois, and became the seventh generation of his family to work in the coal mining industry. He later attended Valparaiso, Indiana University where he graduated with a civil engineering degree in 1910. He worked in various positions at the J.K. Dering Coal Company in Danville, Illinois, and was appointed to a position as an Illinois State Mine Inspector on January 1, 1915. He began to study and propose solutions to the dangers involved in coal mining. He became a safety engineer at the Old Ben Coal Corporation in 1917. It was here that he fully developed a variety of safety practices including rock dusting, that for which he is best known. Under his guidance Old Ben revolutionized the safety features of mining. During the early days of rock dusting, commissions from every coal mining state in the U.S., and every coal mining nation of the world visited the Old Ben mines of Franklin County, Ill to learn about rock dusting. Although a patented technology, Jones distributed it freely in an attempt to save miners' lives everywhere. In 1924 Jones was "borrowed" by the U.S. Department of Mines to serve as an ambassador of rock dusting, inspecting mines during the day and lecturing at night. Jones was appointed as the Mine Safety Consultant to the Secretary of the Department of the Interior in 1943, and coauthored the U.S. Coal Mine Safety Code in 1946. John E. Jones died on June 30, 1957 at his Benton home. He was survived by his wife and his two sons John Jones Jr. and William Jones.