Burning Coke in Coke Ovens, Pennsylvania

Special Collections > Keystone Slides
tiff scanned file from original glass slide
If you have ever seen bituminous (b-t´ m-ns) or soft coal burn in a furnace or stove, you know that it produces a great deal of smoke. This is the reason most large cities will not allow it to be used for fuel. Again, it is so powdery that if a great deal of it is put into a furnace, the dense smoke and dust choke out the fire. It has been found, however, that from soft coal, a substance can be made that makes a very hot fire with a small amount of smoke. This product is coke. Soft coal is put in great ovens where it is heated so that the gas is driven out of it. It is a row of these ovens that are here seen. You will observe the great volume of gas driven out of the coal by the heat of the furnace. After the gas is driven off, the coal cools in hard lumps, called coke. The soft coal of Pennsylvania produces a very fine grade of coke. In 1915 the total coke production of the United States amounted to almost 31,000,000 tons. Two-thirds of this was made in Pennsylvania. You will recall that in reducing iron ore to iron, and in changing iron into steel, a very high degree of heat is needed. Coke is the best producer of this heat. It therefore follows that most of the coke produced in our country is shipped directly to the great iron and steel centers such as Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Youngstown, and Chicago. On the left of the view you see the switches on which stand freight cars that are being loaded with the product of the coke ovens. Recently there has come into use a new kind of coke oven. This oven collects the gases from which are extracted various chemical products, such as tar and ammonia. This is only another illustration of the economy of modern industry. Keystone ID: 6365 Note: All titles, descriptions, and location coordinates are from the original Keystone Slide documentation as supplied by the Keystone View Company. No text has been edited or changed.
Copyright by the Keystone View Company. The original slides are housed in McConnell Library's Special Collections.