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Thread: When Homes Were Heated By Coal

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  1. #1
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    Ed

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    When Homes Were Heated By Coal

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ID:	1679833 Back in the 1940's and 1950's many homes were still heated by coal rather than gas or oil. The photo is of the Chappell Coal Company of Norwich, Conn., the town I was born and raised in. my grandfather's home used coal until he converted to oil in the early 1960's. The coal barges would come up the Thames River and dock along side the wharf and the coal would be off loaded with the company's steam powered derrick. The derrick made so much noise it could be heard all over town up to a couple of miles away. Today the coal company is gone and the site is used to dock small privately owned boats.

  2. #2
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    Thank for sharing!

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    In my childhood (50's - 60's) we heated with coal. Delivered by a truck - and we were in a city of 45,000 homes.
    America was founded by tough hell-raisers. Rugged citizens who evaded taxes, spoke strongly against tyranny, grew tobacco, brewed beer, distilled spirits, and smuggled weapons. And it will be saved by those same types of citizens.

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    That's a nice photo. Some folks near me in PA still use coal. I have a friend who used it as a back up until two years ago when they sold their house.

    The Great Smog of 1952 in London was caused by coal use and the associated pollution it caused. They had an atmospheric inversion, and no wind, and the smog settled near ground level and a lot of folks died. The British government then started to look hard at air pollution after that.

    Of course coal is safely used in a lot of industries but with the addition of scrubbers and a lot of other technology, coal burning plants simply do not put out the emissions they once did. Thank God. (I had remembered all this but had to look up the year again.)

  5. #5
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    They still heat with coal, mostly in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 and higher. It's just that they burn the coal hundreds of miles away and wire it to your electric heater.
    Liberty is the Freedom to do the next Right thing.

    In God We Trust


  6. #6
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    One eyed flying purple people eater.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duckshot View Post
    They still heat with coal, mostly in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 and higher. It's just that they burn the coal hundreds of miles away and wire it to your electric heater.
    I know that's right! Every other day, a few very long trains pass my house.. Carrying nothing but coal.
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  7. #7
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    A house I was in in the early sixties burned coal.
    A clinker would cause smoke to rise through the floorboards....

    A house I rented long ago had a steel plate conversion in the "octopus" /coal unit and a gas burner heating the plate and with it the steel dome above it substituted for coal.

    Not overly efficient... and I added a woodstove ,(traded a pair of speakers for it) and then later upgraded it to a more efficient wood stove.
    Miss that wood heat. But not the labor of working wood up ..

    Low lying areas suffered at times when smoke laid low on them.
    Clad2Silver and Rebel - KGC like this.

  8. #8
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    As a kid (early 60's) we had 2 coal stove's for heat. One in the living room and one in the kitchen. They were a short 5' tall and less than 2' diameter. You carried the coal in, carried the ashes and clinkers out and put up with the smoke that came out when you loaded it up. You stayed in bed till the folks had stoked the fire then got out of bed and aimed your backside at the stove and got as close as you could stand it. Every spring, after it got warm enough to quit burning, you had to wash all the walls and everything else in the house.
    I remember going to a small coal operation and shoveling in the coal right out of the pit into a panel truck.
    I remember tearing out the old brick flues when Dad put in a propane furnace about 65'. I think it took 3 days of baths to get clean. I sure
    don't miss those days. Good luck.

  9. #9
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    Grant Brandenburg

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    I remember being sad when my grandpa converted his furnace from coal to natual gas. Throwing lumps of coal in the furnace while he shoved it in was one of the highlights of going to his house. In 1980 I was burning coal in my pot belly stove with an old steel car wheel rim in it for a grate. I'd put a big chunk of coal in it and it burn all night. I actually like the smell of coal smoke on a freezing cold winter night.

  10. #10
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    Ed

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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie P. (NY) View Post
    In my childhood (50's - 60's) we heated with coal. Delivered by a truck - and we were in a city of 45,000 homes.
    The truck would park in the driveway, a ground level window would be opened, a metal chute was lowered into the coal bin and the coal would slide down the chute until the entire ordered amount was delivered.

    Quote Originally Posted by smokeythecat View Post
    That's a nice photo. Some folks near me in PA still use coal. I have a friend who used it as a back up until two years ago when they sold their house.

    The Great Smog of 1952 in London was caused by coal use and the associated pollution it caused. They had an atmospheric inversion, and no wind, and the smog settled near ground level and a lot of folks died. The British government then started to look hard at air pollution after that.

    Of course coal is safely used in a lot of industries but with the addition of scrubbers and a lot of other technology, coal burning plants simply do not put out the emissions they once did. Thank God. (I had remembered all this but had to look up the year again.)
    I recently saw a TV show that told about the smog in London that you mention.

    Quote Originally Posted by uglymailman View Post
    As a kid (early 60's) we had 2 coal stove's for heat. One in the living room and one in the kitchen. They were a short 5' tall and less than 2' diameter. You carried the coal in, carried the ashes and clinkers out and put up with the smoke that came out when you loaded it up. You stayed in bed till the folks had stoked the fire then got out of bed and aimed your backside at the stove and got as close as you could stand it. Every spring, after it got warm enough to quit burning, you had to wash all the walls and everything else in the house.
    I remember going to a small coal operation and shoveling in the coal right out of the pit into a panel truck.
    I remember tearing out the old brick flues when Dad put in a propane furnace about 65'. I think it took 3 days of baths to get clean. I sure
    don't miss those days. Good luck.
    My grandfather had a coal furnace and you had to keep shoveling coal into it or the fire would go out. He'd fill it late at night just before going to bed. He used a metal crank to shake the ashes to the bottom of the furnace where he shoveled them out into buckets which were put on the sidewalk and hauled away by a garbage truck.

    Quote Originally Posted by tamrock View Post
    I remember being sad when my grandpa converted his furnace from coal to natual gas. Throwing lumps of coal in the furnace while he shoved it in was one of the highlights of going to his house. In 1980 I was burning coal in my pot belly stove with an old steel car wheel rim in it for a grate. I'd put a big chunk of coal in it and it burn all night. I actually like the smell of coal smoke on a freezing cold winter night.
    When I was a young kid I visited my grandfather regularly and we'd pass the time in the cellar while he was tending the furnace by playing checkers or cards. The house and the cellar were as warm as toast when that coal furnace was going.

  11. #11

    Dec 2003
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    there are plenty of coal Companies, and mines here.
    & homes that Burn Coal.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Guaranteed You can't Drive 5 Miles here without Passing or Getting behind a Coal Truck.
    Most are Local, But also Large Tractor Trailers From New York,
    And Train Cars loaded going Who knows where

    Coal is Still a Very Big part of America
    Last edited by jeff of pa; Feb 12, 2019 at 02:15 AM.

  12. #12
    us
    Jan 2019
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    A HUGE part...I still heat my house with coal here in Maine, and I am hardly alone. In fact there is an entire Forum just for people who heat with coal.

    Heating with coal is probably the cheapest way to heat a home in my opinion, and I have plenty of forest and forestry equipment to do firewood (shudder).

  13. #13
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    Ed

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff of pa View Post
    there are plenty of coal Companies, and mines here.
    & homes that Burn Coal.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Guaranteed You can't Drive 5 Miles here without Passing or Getting behind a Coal Truck.
    Most are Local, But also Large Tractor Trailers From New York,
    And Train Cars loaded going Who knows where

    Coal is Still a Very Big part of America
    No more coal around here. the company in the picture went out of business many years ago and I haven't seen a coal truck more than 50 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by OreCart View Post
    A HUGE part...I still heat my house with coal here in Maine, and I am hardly alone. In fact there is an entire Forum just for people who heat with coal.

    Heating with coal is probably the cheapest way to heat a home in my opinion, and I have plenty of forest and forestry equipment to do firewood (shudder).
    How much is a ton of coal nowadays? How long does it last in a typical winter?
    releventchair likes this.

  14. #14

    Dec 2003
    Western Schuylkill County
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clad2Silver View Post
    No more coal around here. the company in the picture went out of business many years ago and I haven't seen a coal truck more than 50 years.

    How much is a ton of coal nowadays? How long does it last in a typical winter?
    Last Time I Bought coal prices were about $50 a Ton. Pea Coal is now $170 Per Ton.
    and 3 to 5 Ton would keep the House Toasty All fall,winter& Spring if necessary.
    Downside was hauling buckets up the Cellar steps. a Heatrola something like this

    Click image for larger version. 

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    was in my Living room. and Coal Sulphur. Like Propane Fumes Can put ya to Sleep Permanently. Many Mornings I'd get up & the house was so Thick with Sulpher I Could Taste it. Of course I Was immune to Death by Sulphur From being around it from Birth, Thru at least my 40's

    Doing Propane now, Less work but heat not the same


    costs $700 to $1000 per year for Propane.
    Coal , could probably get by on Half That with coal.
    so would save a little

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    Schuylkill County, PA > coal retail in Schuylkill County, PA |
    38 results. with competitive prices of course.
    and even cheaper with your own Truck & Knowing a Miner
    to buy direct from, probably $100 today.
    Last edited by jeff of pa; Feb 12, 2019 at 08:37 AM.

  15. #15

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    I delivered the morning paper in the mid 60's. Before school, in the dark, in freezing temperatures. There were a few families that burned coal. I always liked the smell of burning coal on those frigid mornings. To this day I like the sulfur smell of coal burning. My family hates it.

 

 
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