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Coal Usage In The Victorian Era

695 words - 3 pages

Coal Usage in the Victorian Era

Coal was an essential of life, especially concerning warmth and food preparation, for Victorians. The use of coal has a longer history than many suspect; predates the Victorian Era by hundred of years. The Victorians spent a great deal of time not just using various coal products, but also spent a long time thinking and disagreeing about a wide range of issues that concerned such an essential product for their way of life.

The Victorians used various different kinds of this product, plant products buried underground in deposits of sedentary rock for millions of years. Some of the coal product that the Victorians utilized were, coal gas: illumination gas and cook-oven gas; coal-dust; and coke: bi-product of illumination gas production (Jackson).

Some history of London’s coal use
First used by the Romans, and noted as used in Europe around the 13 th Century. The demand of coal increased in the 18 th Century. In 1709, coke was first used in place of wood and charcoal. The first use of coal for lighting purposes occurred in the year 1786 (Everett). Since it was the most popular supply of fuel, coal was in immense demand. The coal mining industry was a very profitable one, when production went well (Everett). However, the burning of coal, especially in factories, led to a great deal of environmental problems and pollution.

Legislations concerning coal mining

* 1842: The Mines Act forbade the mining industry from employing anyone, boys or girls, under the age of ten years old for underground mine work (Bloy)
* 1850: Coal Mines Inspection Act dealt with safety inside the mines, requiring inspectors to enforce the Mines Act and file reports on the conditions and safety inside the mine sites, many mine owners opposed such regulations (Bloy)
* 1872: Coal Mines Regulating Act insisted on the integration of safety measures in the mines (Bloy).

Labor and Conditions
It was extremely dangerous to work in a coalmine; those poor souls unlucky enough to do so had to contend with coal-dust inhalation, cave-ins, explosions. Coal dust and carbon monoxide, a toxic gas, would get into the lungs of mineworkers causing lung damage, even asphyxiation. Cave-in posed a hazard to workers, putting them in danger of serious injury or death, and production. By 1847, child labor, as well as adult labor was limited to ten hours a day, however, there were only four inspectors (Cody). Not all...

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