Beastly adversity

If they were completely out of luck miners had to pull the tram, the heavy cart loaded with ore or mine waste. Only those whose work was insufficient were forced to drag and push these carts – called “Hunte” or “Hunde” – on wooden rails through the narrow galleries. Yet this was a considerable improvement compared to the baskets, troughs and handcarts used until the 16th century. Maybe the “Hunte” even was a precursor of the railroads.Why these carts were named “Hunt” or “Hund” (dog) is not clear. The great Renaissance scholar Georg Agricola writes that these vehicles make a sound like barking dogs when pushed along the rails by the miners – particularly in curves. The term “Hunte” may even be referred to by the German saying “vor die Hunde gehen” (“to go to the dogs”).