Feb 11, 2009

1808: Anthracite coal is first burned as fuel

(Wikipedia) - ... Anthracite was first experimentally burned as a residential heating fuel in the USA on 11 February 1808, by Judge Jesse Fell in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on an open grate in a fireplace. Anthracite differs from wood in that it needs a draft from the bottom, and Judge Fell proved with his grate design that it was a viable heating fuel.
In the spring of 1808, John and Abijah Smith shipped the first commercially-mined load of anthracite down the Susquehanna River from Plymouth, Pennsylvania, marking the birth of commercial anthracite mining in the United States. From that first mine, production rose to an all-time high of over 100 million tons in 1917. Continued

Top photo: "Coal Brand," taken at the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal Museum in Chesapeake City, Maryland with a Canon EOS 5D. Bottom: Coal breaker (Girard) near Girardville, PA, courtesy of MDRails.