There will almost certainly be a party on East Virginia Street, in West Chester, and soon.

But not last night - not yet.

Employees of a once-obscure drilling-equipment manufacturer in the Chester County seat were glued to their television sets last night more closely than anyone else in the Philadelphia region, thanks to the critical role that Schramm Inc., has played in the historic rescue of the 33 trapped Chilean miners.

It was Schramm that manufactured the T-130 drilling rig that methodically bore through 2,000 feet of rock to reach the miners, who've been trapped underground for 69 days. The West Chester firm was enlisted by local contractors because of its experience with some 30 to 50 drilling rigs used in the Chilean copper industry, the world's largest.

Two Schramm employees - a Chilean-based engineer and a technician from West Chester - have been on the scene at the mine for days to assist in the laborious drilling project. At times, company officials said, the work ground to a halt for the arduous task of using magnets to retrieve drill bits that had shanked off.

The most nerve-racking moments came at the end of the drilling this past weekend, when the drillers were in radio contact with the trapped miners to make sure that the rig didn't break through too quickly.

"They were telling us how much more we had to go," Schramm's Chilean employee, Claudio Soto, told the New York Times. "In that way it was a very, very controlled operation."

Still, company employees won't breathe easily until all 33 of the miners emerge later this week. "Nothing has been accomplished yet," company president Edward Breiner said.