San Jose, CA Brickyard Accident, Aug 1906


Employe[sic] of San Jose Brick Yard Falls Into Dangerous "Pug Mill."

Horror of the Situation Causes John Bernard to Faint Away.

John Bernard, an employee of the San Jose Brick Company, had a miraculous escape from death Thursday and only the reversing of the power saved him from being ground to mince-meat by the sharp knife-blades of a revolving shaft. When Bernard was rescued he was within two inches of the shaft, his right ankle was broken and he was unconscious. He has sunk to his neck in the soft clay and he was taken from his position with considerable difficulty. Still unconscious he was removed to O'Conner's sanitarium, and a report from his bedside last night states that he will recover.

Bernard is about 35 years of age and he had been employed a the brick yards for the past four years. He came here from Honolulu, where his relatives reside. At the time of the accident he was working in what is known as the "pug mill." The device is shaped like a funnel, narrowing down to a hole at the bottom, with a width of about three feet.

In the hole, which is easily large enough to admit a body, are the knife blades. Each blade is about a foot in length, and they are set about a foot in length, and they are set about two inches apart. The blades are fastened to a revolting shaft, which is attached to a belt that is constantly in motion. The knives are used to cut the mud and clay into small bits.

Bernard was employed in throwing soft clay into the "plug mill" to be ground by the knives. He was working on one of the clay banks Thursday, and while attempting to throw down some clay the bank caved in and he fell with the mud into the funnel of the "pug mill," in the fall Bernard broke his right ankle.

He was slowly sinking towards the knives, and he raised a cry for help. The horror of the situation and the pain in his broken ankle caused him to faint away, and he knew no more until he awakened at the sanitarium.

A workman who was busy above the "pug mill" heard the cry and looking down he took in the situation at a glance. He promptly turned off the power, and with other workmen rushed to the rescue of Bernard. They found him unconscious with his feet within a few inches of the hole and the deadly knives.

San Jose Mercury, San Jose, CA 4 Aug 1906