The Oregon daily journal. (Portland, Or.) 1902-1972, August 18, 1907, SECTION THREE, Image 29

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

i.iacazincjsectioii tii:
lCl America's history onfof ZA . I . . ; " V
. -.rf o the ' IF- 7 II : '
Americas history one' of
its most romantic chat- -
ters. A century ago the
'' anthracite trade rose in
- curious manner, and flourished increasingly
until it became one of the greatest forces
rf an time. now n is sata to oe aoomea:.
to extinction in seventy-five years. ;"'
was just a century ago this year that
'Abijah Smith took from a jagged hole ,,.
I the ground at Plymouth, Pa., the first
?blackstone"-j-that's what they called it
then for industrial consumption; arid it
was on February r, i8o8hat Judge Jesse
Fell, at JPilkes-Barre, Pa., placed I some
chunks of the stone, in a grate and discov
ered that it would turn without a bellows.
The first year's anthracite trade
amounted to fifty tons; that of 19OK was
(9, $39,1 S2 long tons, with a sfot value of
1 $141,879,000. Th production of last
year was 63,643,010 tons. '. 0
Anthracite coal has made one of the
busiest industrial regions in the world ,
." that portion of Pennsylvania where almost
tthe entirchard coal product of the earth is
mined; has given employment to hundreds
of thousands of men, has made immense
. fortunes,' has given to mankind warmth and :,
comfort such as had never' been "attained
before, has contributed to the development ;
of railroads,', electricity and manufactories:
v -has, in short, been a potent handmaid of
progress. . v ...-" : . "':
has also brought about the greatest
labor strikes inyAmerican history, has been
'.j 'developed at the expense of thousands, of
lives, has caused suffering anddistress to '
workers. - No other industry so directly
affects the livesHterjilly. the firesides- -of
iall classes of Americans: One can hardly
..conceive of. a: condition of life with hard
' coal eliminated. ? i l : '. 'f- v s
- And yet in seventy five years i mart
"hard coal' may be but a memory. ; One of
the most, interesting lines of conjecture re
valves about the question, what is to keep :
us warm once thu fuel is gonef ; . ;
- Fortunately, ingenious minds art r ae- ,
the along this tine, and there i: little likeli-
, hood that we of today or those who suC-:
ceed us on this planet shall have to freeze. ,.
of Jit
'i ;
J rrJ
barring th miraculous,1 thi cannot be. i ' 1
. Amntfihosa atudent of the aubject yrho
hare recently plaoed aerenty-five years as : the
limit of antbracite'a life ia Sear Admiral Itobley .
D. Erans, of the United States Navy. ; Another,
ia Edward "W..' arker the. coal "expert of
United States Geological Surrey -. ;: . v :
; , Perhaps. one. of. .the highest authorities. on ,
coal mining in the United States is William Jasr
per Nicholls, M.'Am,' Soe,' O. E.,1 of Pennaylfa-.;
. nla, who has written the only hiatory of Amerl
, can eeals and other works bearing on the subject.
, Mr. Nicholls was asked to give, for this article,'
. his opinion as to the future of anthracite.
"Baaed upon the present rate of conaump
. iion,"" he said, "the supply cannot last over
seventy-five years. " This is not guesswork. v
' "Jt is not like the soft coal aituation. Bitu
minous coal exists in many states of the union,
. and in' other countries. The supply may last f oa
' centuries. ' : ' "''- ..
,".s, ; ."But the only bit of real anthracite coal, ofi
commercial value although there are othec
coals miscalled anthracit lies in a long, nar
row strip extending across a part of Jrennsyrra '
nia. ' We have drilled.'under and over it hava
poked drills all through it and all around it, .
We know just where every vein is located, its
.. length, depth and composition. In fact, we have 1
practically, accounted for every pound tha '
.1 i j '. -. . . . :
remaina in vue gTouuu. t . . . . r ,-
; Mt is estimated that less than 5,000,000,00(J.
; tons of anthracite coal'Tremam unniined, which,
at the present rate- of increase in' mining will
last not, more than seventy-five years. '
, :. "But, in iny opinion," the -demand will no !
keep up. It can only be kept up while people are ,
willing-to f pay the high and growing price for
, anthracite as a luxury in other" words, it can
.only last until the -people of the United States
;'v learn itliat they 'ean burn soft coal at half th
- price of hard coat with just as 'good 'results.
, "Paris is the 'only city I have visited wher
' the people' eat their meals in their yards.' ,'Yet,
in- Paris there ia hardly any hard coal burned.
Smoke-consuming appliances there eliminate. the
. dirt nuisance.' ,l " -. '.. " ,
: 1 ' "Inmr opinion, the price of hard coal ha
' reached the .zenith people will refuse to pay
. - more. Then must come the more general Intro
' , . 'duction of bituminous, which contains the same j
4 number of heat units, pound , for; pound; a
, . anthracite." v . .
, v . -, "And must we all have our stoves, our chim- ,
1 neys and bur-factory furnaces made over so a
' ' t toaocommodate them to the use of soft 'coal 1"
, ' V vot.necpssarilytlt is' contrary -to ordi-
tnary-logio ta suppoae'that fifty: years "from now .
Pint mined (or market.' Plymouth, Pa...... 1807
Fuel utility fuuy r demonatrated, Wilkes-
Barr Pa... tl IT.......... W
Output of mines la 1830.. 6S tons
Output In 1M... O.MS,0U tons
Stlmated amount remainlnc - -
unmlnded In 1U4 5,000,000,000 tons
Supply will end about 1h2
Employes In mines, over 166,000
Annual loss ol life throuch accident. ... SOS .to luO
T Wilkes-Bsrre, Pa, next year,' the cen
tennial of hard coal's entrance into the ,
vrorld'a industrial history will be cele
brated.' For." although coal had' been
used prior to 1808, and was first mined for the .
market ii. 1807, it was not until Jesse Fell's dis-
covery that people learned they: could burn it
without using bellows, .: "
: Very few persons, probably, can find any-
thing comforting in the prospect that, there will
but this one centennial celebration at th Aim.
ry of nard coaL for there will be no celebra
tion, probably, when the coal itself has passed.
Host people would hope' that it might be ,
otherwisethat a bi-centennial and tercenten
nial, and many more might be witnessed. But,
..... V . ..
-" -: vX f v
If - --v'
- I -' ----- ."
It' w-VV -oJ l I ' V,
... - -- -
t - . . r . . . .
we shall be each maintaining our own fireside as
now. " - "-' :-; " ":'
. " "The logical thing ia to have a common gas -plant,
from which gaa for heating and lighting
may be supplied at moderate rates to every house "
in a city. And this gas plant, understand, max
be run with soft coal in such moderate propor
tions that the present known supply may last for
msny centuries." I ' '
Mr. Nicholls was asked about the prospects
of manufacturing electricity at the mouth of the
coal mine and supplying it by wire to the large
cities, as suggested by Thomas A. Edison a
plan which might extend the usefulness of pres
ent anthracite supply seversl hundred per cerit.'
. "That would be impossible,'! he replied, "for
the reason that there isn't enough copper on the
', market to make, the mammoth wires that would
be necessary to convey this power even to the
, nearby large cities of the East. The only alter
native, so fsr aa at present known, would be to
. construct a system of relay storage stations be
tween the mines and the cities, and this would
' prove more expensive than the present system ol
conveying and consuming coaL"
Mr. Parker, the coal expert of the United
States Geological Survey, fully agros with Mr.
Nicholls that the supply of anthracite will be
exhausted in seventy-five years.
" But these matters really do not call for se-
'rious consideration. Nature has had a way of
always supplying heat to mortals in accordance
with their needs and ingenuity, and it my tat"
ly be assumed that when hard coal goes theri w '
be a substitute of even more practical utiJ
' How interesting it would o to ki .
what tliis substitute will be, end !h 1 ' '
Story of its development -i!l 1 r '.
' 89 tragic, as inspiring1, si I? it '