Who Else Still Burns Coal?

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Mr.Mike

Senior Member
Nov 11, 2019
410
744
Pennsylvania
Now that it's heating season up here in the north east, I've fired up the coal stoker. I live in North east Pennsylvania so basically the coal capital of the world, so clean burning anthracite is easily accessible to me. Anyone else out there still burns coal for heat?

EDIT: Fixed Capitalization in Title - Bob
 
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ron123

Senior Member
Jan 28, 2015
339
314
Park Ridge, IL
That's pretty interesting. TBH, I didn't know burning coal for heat was still done anywhere in the US. Our previous house had a steel door that opened from outside, into the basement...pretty sure loading coal into the house was its purpose. It had been welded shut long before we bought the house, though.
 
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mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
29,622
9,429
I grew up with coal, adults going down to the coal scuttle and shoveling it into the furnace. In my folks first small house, the furnace was free-standing over a wooden floor, and I discovered the floor burning in a game of hide and seek, but someone else had to report the fire alarm because I thought maybe that was how it worked ... at about age 4. The house is still there, with a second story added, and presumably a new furnace, but our family moved out about a year later. I haven't lived in a coal burning residence since. I think it would be hard to get delivery in my N.C. city. My first house had oil heat, but we went to natural gas and had to petition the utility to get a gas line to our house which was right in the middle of town. The line installers thought we must have been related to the governor. We weren't.
 

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Mr.Mike

Senior Member
Nov 11, 2019
410
744
Pennsylvania
I grew up with coal, adults going down to the coal scuttle and shoveling it into the furnace. In my folks first small house, the furnace was free-standing over a wooden floor, and I discovered the floor burning in a game of hide and seek, but someone else had to report the fire alarm because I thought maybe that was how it worked ... at about age 4. The house is still there, with a second story added, and presumably a new furnace, but our family moved out about a year later. I haven't lived in a coal burning residence since. I think it would be hard to get delivery in my N.C. city. My first house had oil heat, but we went to natural gas and had to petition the utility to get a gas line to our house which was right in the middle of town. The line installers thought we must have been related to the governor. We weren't.
Cool story, glad to hear the house didn't burn down! I've seen those old furnaces, they were huge!
 

condorlover1

Preferred Member
Dec 22, 2013
4,465
4,344
New York
My old house in the UK was totally coal heated. Each bedroom had a fire place, the front and back rooms had the old cast iron grates. My kitchen had a Nuttal No.1 cast range with water jacket that provided hot water for bath night - I jest not. I used to buy from Charrington Fuels in Victoria Road 1.5 tonnes of coal every autumn and have it delivered to the coal bunkers on the side of my cottage. I loved coal, you could burn all your rubbish from the kitchen and it was cheap as chips. Used have the chimneys swept every September and the house always had a nice warm welcoming smell to it. The down side was having to clean out all the grates in the morning and lay out a new fire and making sure the range was stocked with enough coal to burn whilst I was away at work. Happy days!
 

Mr.Mike

Senior Member
Nov 11, 2019
410
744
Pennsylvania
My old house in the UK was totally coal heated. Each bedroom had a fire place, the front and back rooms had the old cast iron grates. My kitchen had a Nuttal No.1 cast range with water jacket that provided hot water for bath night - I jest not. I used to buy from Charrington Fuels in Victoria Road 1.5 tonnes of coal every autumn and have it delivered to the coal bunkers on the side of my cottage. I loved coal, you could burn all your rubbish from the kitchen and it was cheap as chips. Used have the chimneys swept every September and the house always had a nice warm welcoming smell to it. The down side was having to clean out all the grates in the morning and lay out a new fire and making sure the range was stocked with enough coal to burn whilst I was away at work. Happy days!
Thanks for sharing condor, those older hand fires stoves were tricky to keep going, it definitely was an art. My stove is a modern stoker, which has a grate with forced air to burn the coal, and a feeder mechanism that keeps the fire stoked.
 

condorlover1

Preferred Member
Dec 22, 2013
4,465
4,344
New York
The trick was tightly rolled up balls of newspaper, kindling wood, unburnt coal from the ' Cinder Sifter' and small pieces of coal. Once its gets going you add larger pieces of coal and the rest is easy. I had a heater brick which was a copper covered brick that sat next to the grate with a kettle on it so you had hot water to wash in first thing in the morning. Coal fires work in old house since the windows, floor and everything else had a steady draft from cracks. I used to go to bed about 8.30 in the winter and since I only had gas lighting I used to read with candle with a mirror behind it to throw out more light. The only issue was waking up about 1.30 in the morning and having to add more coal to the fire since the bedroom had got chilly!
 

Mr.Mike

Senior Member
Nov 11, 2019
410
744
Pennsylvania
The trick was tightly rolled up balls of newspaper, kindling wood, unburnt coal from the ' Cinder Sifter' and small pieces of coal. Once its gets going you add larger pieces of coal and the rest is easy. I had a heater brick which was a copper covered brick that sat next to the grate with a kettle on it so you had hot water to wash in first thing in the morning. Coal fires work in old house since the windows, floor and everything else had a steady draft from cracks. I used to go to bed about 8.30 in the winter and since I only had gas lighting I used to read with candle with a mirror behind it to throw out more light. The only issue was waking up about 1.30 in the morning and having to add more coal to the fire since the bedroom had got chilly!
Neat info about the brick
 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
19,955
5,542
Outer Space
I don't heat my home with it, but when I have to forge new specialty tools or get a specialty job that involves iron, I still use coal in the forge. There's an abandoned coal mine past the farm, where I can load up as many buckets as I want for free. Wait... I mean that I load up as many buckets as I want and then drive really quietly out of there, without being seen. puffy
 

btp79

Member
Jan 27, 2018
232
27
I would if I could find any. Our deer lease in Gatesville Texas has an iron stove that would be perfect. Instead someone has to wake up every few hours to toss a log on or we wake up freezing lol
 

mortonbriar

Preferred Member
Oct 25, 2013
1,141
535
My old house in the UK was totally coal heated. Each bedroom had a fire place, the front and back rooms had the old cast iron grates. My kitchen had a Nuttal No.1 cast range with water jacket that provided hot water for bath night - I jest not. I used to buy from Charrington Fuels in Victoria Road 1.5 tonnes of coal every autumn and have it delivered to the coal bunkers on the side of my cottage. I loved coal, you could burn all your rubbish from the kitchen and it was cheap as chips. Used have the chimneys swept every September and the house always had a nice warm welcoming smell to it. The down side was having to clean out all the grates in the morning and lay out a new fire and making sure the range was stocked with enough coal to burn whilst I was away at work. Happy days!
Now I know why you have seemed vaguely familiar all these years, you are a character out of a Dicken's novel!
 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
3,292
4,557
Grew up in a rural area in Southern Indiana. We had a coal furnace until I was around 12 years old. We also had electricity, running water (hot and cold), etc..
 

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