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Old 02-11-2019, 10:29 AM
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Default When Coal Heated Homes

This photo is of the Chappell Coal Company of my home town of Norwich, Conn. Back in the 1940's and 1950's many homes were still heated with coal rather than gas or oil. My grandfather heated his home with coal bought from this company. The boats loaded with coal came up the Thames River and docked along side the wharf and the company unloaded the coal with a steam powered derrick that made so much noise you could hear it all over town even if you were a couple of miles away. When you ordered coal the truck would come to the house and open a window that lead to the coal bin in the cellar, put a chute down into the bin and the coal would slide into the bin. Buckets of coal ashes would be put out on the sidewalk to be hauled away once a week by the garbage truck.
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:53 PM
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I'm sure it still heats many homes - I know plenty of people who heat with wood. It was a big deal when we switched from coal to oil back in the 80's, no more dusty coal bin in the basement!
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Franz View post
I'm sure it still heats many homes - I know plenty of people who heat with wood. It was a big deal when we switched from coal to oil back in the 80's, no more dusty coal bin in the basement!
You're right about the coal bins being dusty plus you could smell the coal which wasn't too nice either.

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Old 02-12-2019, 05:28 AM
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Almost all the homes in my area are indirectly heated with coal, including my home, which is all electric. I directly heat my home with a modern furnace that generates heat from 55 dergree ground water.

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Old 02-12-2019, 06:02 AM
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I heated my home for at least 20 years before switching to oil. I live very close to the mining areas of eastern PA. Yes, the coal was dirty and the ashes created dust too. Just as you said, my coal man opened a basement window and chuted the coal into my coal bin. It's hard to get good coal now because most of the deep mining operations are gone forever. Almost everyone in my location heated with coal in my younger days. Lots on memories, some good and some not so good.

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Old 02-12-2019, 06:21 AM
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When we were kids, our house was a coal fired hot water system with those iron registers hissing away it....it was nice..it gave a kid a good understanding of How things work...

Even Corporate Business! Be prepared to scuttle up the right coal chute or learn how to climb the ladder!

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Old 02-12-2019, 06:40 AM
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My house has always been heated by natural gas. However, when we went to visit some relatives in Washington County, PA, their house was heated by coal, and they had a big coal shed out back. I don't remember any smell, but then, I visited in the summer.

-- Tom

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Old 02-12-2019, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by amc rulz View post
Almost all the homes in my area are indirectly heated with coal, including my home, which is all electric. I directly heat my home with a modern furnace that generates heat from 55 dergree ground water.
Originally Posted by bubbaron View post
I heated my home for at least 20 years before switching to oil. I live very close to the mining areas of eastern PA. Yes, the coal was dirty and the ashes created dust too. Just as you said, my coal man opened a basement window and chuted the coal into my coal bin. It's hard to get good coal now because most of the deep mining operations are gone forever. Almost everyone in my location heated with coal in my younger days. Lots on memories, some good and some not so good.
Definitely had some drawbacks.....coal dust and the ashes being two of the big ones.

Originally Posted by Mud-puppy View post
When we were kids, our house was a coal fired hot water system with those iron registers hissing away it....it was nice..it gave a kid a good understanding of How things work...

Even Corporate Business! Be prepared to scuttle up the right coal chute or learn how to climb the ladder!
Those iron registers were always hissing and don't even think about touching one!!!

Originally Posted by achaios View post
My house has always been heated by natural gas. However, when we went to visit some relatives in Washington County, PA, their house was heated by coal, and they had a big coal shed out back. I don't remember any smell, but then, I visited in the summer.

-- Tom
Back when I was a kid my grandfather and most of the houses on his street which were all built in the early 1900's used coal.

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Old 02-12-2019, 07:48 AM
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About 45% of homes in the US get their electricity from coal.

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Old 02-12-2019, 09:07 AM
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The house that I grew up in had a coal furnace. It was warm central heat but it was dirty. When you blew your nose in the morning the results were black. I remember times us kids would walk the RR tracks and pick up coal that fell from the train.
My Dad eventually bought a gas heater and placed it in the center out the house and we quit using coal

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Old 02-12-2019, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by pan4au View post
The house that I grew up in had a coal furnace. It was warm central heat but it was dirty. When you blew your nose in the morning the results were black. I remember times us kids would walk the RR tracks and pick up coal that fell from the train.
My Dad eventually bought a gas heater and placed it in the center out the house and we quit using coal
My father walked the train tracks but didn't pick up coal....instead he picked up pieces of scrap metal. My grandfather converted to oil in the early 60's because by that time the coal company was ready to go out of business.

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Old 02-12-2019, 10:38 AM
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You gotta wonder, who was the first Human to discover this black rock caught on fire and actually burned! It had to have been an amazing WTH moment!

The guy undoubtedly went back to the village with a fistful of anthracite..would be like "Hey! Have a look at this wouldja! I was just out minding my own business, hunting rabbits, and got a fire going to cook, and this one damn black rock caught on fire! These damn magic black rocks throw off more BTU's than a whole weeks load of firewood!

And thus began the arms race...

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Old 02-12-2019, 11:49 AM
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Growing up in S.E. Michigan I could smell coal smoke from quite a few homes where I lived. Over time that smell went away to gas or oil heat. Now I smell coal smoke three times a year when I go to festivals where my Blacksmith buddy sets up his forge. The smell really brings back some good memories for me.

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Old 02-12-2019, 12:19 PM
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Here in western Pennsylvania coal is still the choice of fuel for heating most homes.

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Old 02-12-2019, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Mud-puppy View post
You gotta wonder, who was the first Human to discover this black rock caught on fire and actually burned! It had to have been an amazing WTH moment!

The guy undoubtedly went back to the village with a fistful of anthracite..would be like "Hey! Have a look at this wouldja! I was just out minding my own business, hunting rabbits, and got a fire going to cook, and this one damn black rock caught on fire! These damn magic black rocks throw off more BTU's than a whole weeks load of firewood!

And thus began the arms race...
If Santa Claus put coal in the stockings of kids who didn't behave I would've gotten enough coal to heat the house for a whole year.

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Old 02-12-2019, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by hoser View post
Growing up in S.E. Michigan I could smell coal smoke from quite a few homes where I lived. Over time that smell went away to gas or oil heat. Now I smell coal smoke three times a year when I go to festivals where my Blacksmith buddy sets up his forge. The smell really brings back some good memories for me.
Anything that brings back fond memories is a good thing. I still have many memories of my grandfather and his coal furnace.

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