The Big Muskie was a model 4250-W Bucyrus-Erie dragline the only one ever built. With a 220-cubic-yard (170 m3) bucket, it was the largest single-bucket digging machine ever created and one of the world’s largest mobile earth-moving machines alongside the Illinois-based Marion 6360 stripping shovel called The Captain and the German bucket wheel excavators of the Bagger 288 and Bagger 293 family.
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Standing 22 stories tall and weighing 13,500 metric tons, Big Muskie was the world’s largest dragline and the biggest machine that has ever walked on the face of the earth. With the boom down, it was almost 500 ft in length.
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Big Muskie was powered by electricity supplied at 13,800 volts via a trailing cable, which had its own transporter/coiling units to move it. The electricity powered the main drives, eighteen 1,000 horsepower (750 kW) and ten 625 horsepower (466 kW) DC electric motors. Some systems in Big Muskie were electro-hydraulic, but the main drives were all electric.
Big Muskie was a coal mining Bucyrus-Erie dragline owned by the Central Ohio Coal Company. It removed more than twice the amount of earth moved during the construction of the Panama Canal. Its bucket could hold two Greyhound buses side by side.
It cost $25 million in 1969, the equivalent of $167 million today adjusted for inflation.Its bucket could hold two Greyhound buses side by side. It took over 200,000 man hours to construct over a period of about two years.