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Types of Coal Anthracite is coal with the highest carbon content, between 86 and 98 percent, and a heat value of nearly 15, 000 BTUs-per-pound. Most frequently associated with home heating, anthracite is a very small segment of the U. S. coal market. There are 7. 3 billion tons of anthracite reserves in the United States, found mostly in 11 northeastern counties in Pennsylvania.
Bituminous The most plentiful form of coal in the United States, bituminous coal is used primarily to generate electricity and make coke for the steel industry. The fastest growing market for coal, though still a small one, is supplying heat for industrial processes. Bituminous coal has a carbon content ranging from 45 to 86 percent carbon and a heat value of 10, 500 to 15, 500 BTUs-per-pound.
Subbituminous Ranking below bituminous is subbituminous coal with 35 -45 percent carbon content and a heat value between 8, 300 and 13, 000 BTUs-per-pound. Reserves are located mainly in a half-dozen Western states and Alaska. Although its heat value is lower, this coal generally has a lower sulfur content than other types, which makes it attractive for use because it is cleaner burning.
Lignite is a geologically young coal which has the lowest carbon content, 25 -35 percent, and a heat value ranging between 4, 000 and 8, 300 BTUs-perpound. Sometimes called brown coal, it is mainly used for electric power generation.
http: //www. uky. edu/KGS/coal/webcoal/pages/coalming. htm
“Coke Ovens Burning at Night” Oil on canvas by Roman Verostko
Working the coke ovens was a hot and hard job. This is an oven in PA.
Coal Camps • Life in the coal camps varied, depending on the “benevolence” of the companies and the fluctuations of the coal market. • Lynch KY was build by US Steel in 1917 for its captive mine.
Lynch KY, 1918
Main Street, Lynch KY, 1919
Central office and bath house, Lynch KY
• Benham was built by International Harvester in 1911. • Coal was coked and shipped to the steel mills in Chicago.
Benham KY, 1935
Rows of coke ovens in Benham
• Jenkins KY was build by Consolidation Coal Company after having purchased 100, 000 acres in Pike, Letcher and Floyd Counties. Main Street, 1920
Wise County Coal Camps
Stonega, built by Stonega Coal and Coke
• Labor was the “variable capital” which could be cut during the economic downturns that have always plagued the industry. • Control of labor was of primary concern to the owners and operators. • The company received rent on the housing, and could evict any worker and his family who was “trouble. ”
• Miners were paid in “scrip” which could only be redeemed at the company store.
• They were treated by company doctors and led in worship by company preachers. • They were paid by the amount of coal they dug and loaded. They would be docked for slate or rock found in the load. • Companies also engaged in “cribbing, ” using cars that actually held more coal that the miners were paid for.
• Low pay, cheating on wages due, high prices for goods at the company store, high rents, and poor safety conditions all contribute to the labor wars in the coalfields. • The Knights of Labor, the National Miners Union, the International Workers of the World, and the United Mine Workers of America (founded in 1890) all participated in attempts to organize the Appalachian coal fields.
• In 1902 the UMWA achieved its first success in the Kanawha-New River coalfield. The operators organized and hired Baldwin. Felts to break the union. • In April, 1912, miners on Paint Creek in Kanawha Co. walked off, demanding: • recognition of their constitutional rights to free speech and assembly • an end to blacklisting union organizers • alternatives to company stores • an end to the practice of using mine guards • prohibition of cribbing • installation of scales at all mines for accurately weighing coal • unions be allowed to hire their own checkweighmen to make sure the companies' checkweighmen were not cheating the miners. • the right to organize
• The miners were evicted from their homes. They set up their own tent camp. • Organizers, including Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, came to the support of the miners.
• Several battles ensued between agents of the companies and miners. National Guardsmen were called in three times. • Mother Jones was arrested and placed on trial. • Gov. Henry Hatfield finally issued a resolution that ended the strike, giving the miners a nine hour day, the right to shop outside the company stores, the right to their own checkweighmen, and the end of discrimination against union members.
• The next major battle began in 1919 in Mingo and Logan Counties. Law enforcement, with company paid deputies, harassed suspected union men. • In the Spring of 1920, non-union miners in Mingo Co. went on strike. Union membership grew rapidly. • At the famous Matewan Massacre, chief of police Sid Hatfield stood down Baldwin-Felts.
• The Battle of Blair Mountain followed. • Union membership in southern WVA did not recover until the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933. • The Harlan County mine wars took place from 1931 -39. • There the issues were similar, but the Harlan Co. Coal Operators Association was the most anti-union of the lot.
• The Brookside mine strike against Duke Power occurred 1973 -74. It is documented in Harlan County, USA and celebrated in Showtime’s Harlan Co. Wars. • The last major strike was against Pittston Coal in 1989.
Breaker boys at a PA mine
• The mechanization of mining is the current threat to the continuation of a significant work force. • It is also creating a major threat to the environment of the coalfields.
Shovel and hauler
A mountain top removal (MTR) job in progress.
In MTR, the overburden is dumped over the side of the mountain.
A valley fill created by MTR
• From the 1950’s through the 1970’s opposition to surface or strip mining grew. • The Buffalo Creek Disaster was a turning point. On February 16, 1972, a dam belonging to Pittston Coal Co. broke. 118 persons died. 4000 were left homeless.
http: //www. vcn. com/~wma/coalfrm/coalfrm 1. htm
This surface mine in Wyoming has a 60 -foot seam of coal. http: //www. mine-engineer. com/mining/coalsrf 1. htm