Re: Retail coal dealers, brand names and railroads

Ian Wilson

--- In, "Mark Heiden" <mark_heiden@h...> wrote:
Hello everyone,

I've been doing some research on retail coal dealers that were
located on the Unadilla Valley Railway in south central New York.,
In the process I have come up with a number of general questions
concerning coal dealers, brand names and what railroad's hoppers
would serve those dealers. Ian Wilson's articles on retail
provided some answers, but also generated question. These articles
can be found at:

So, my questions are:

1. Did dealers tend to carry a single brand, or was it common to
carry more than one?
Mark, I'm going to use Barrie, Ontario circa 1947 as a case study
for your questions. There were six coal dealers at the time. These
are only the brands listed in the yellow pages; there may have been

Allandale Lumber & Fuel Co.--"Old Company's Lehigh" and "Olga
Barrie Fuel & Supply--local supplier of "Blue Coal" (DL&W
Anthracite), also Cavalier stoker coal
Cameron & Ellis--local distributor for "Lehigh Valley Anthracite"
Lewis & Robertson--Cavalier stoker coal
Sarjeant Co.--"Famous Reading Anthracite" and Cavalier stoker coal
J. G. Scott--"Famous Reading Anthracite"

2. Were there independent coal dealers, who would simply carry
whatever brand gave them the best deal at the time?
The coal dealers cited above were all independent local businessmen
(as the majority of the yards were). However, they could act as a
local agent (some exclusively, it would appear) for one or more

3. What railroads were connected, through ownership, mines located
on-line, etc, with the following brands:

Blue Coal (Glen Alden Coal Company)

Cavalier Stoker Coal
Consol Cavalier
Red Jacket Lump
Famous Harlan Seam Stoker Coal
unknown, off the top of my head

Famous Reading Anthracite

Sterling Coal

Lackawanna Coal
Jeddo-Highland Coal

Lehigh Valley Anthracite

Morgan Anthracite

Old Company's Lehigh

Olga Pocahontas
Patsy Home Stoker Coal
Susquehanna Anthracite
(some of these may be Canadian brands)

4. Did railroads offer incentives to dealers to buy coal from on-
line sources?
Don't know; likely a "non-applicable" here in Southern Ontario

5. Was there any appreciable brand loyalty amongst consumers or
The coal companies did their best to foster this with gimmickry
(e.g. dyed coal and disc-like tags inserted into the coal).

6. Were there any spatial patterns evident in specific brand
distribution (eg - eastern Pennsylvania was mostly Brand A, while
southern New York was Brand B)?
Not evident here in Southern Ontario. Keep in mind that virtually
all our anthracite came from the same small geographical area--
Eastern Pennsylvania.

Whew! That's a lot to ask in one go, but any insights would be

Mark Heiden

A couple more nuggets for you and anyone interested in anthracite
coal traffic. A case study of the local coal dealers in Hespeler,
Ontario shows that 77 carloads of anthracite were received among
them over the year from July 1949 to June 1950. Of these, 41 loads,
or more than half, were received in the warm weather months from May
to September. While hard coal was still a primary residential
heating fuel, the railroads, coal companies and coal dealers did
their best to move the coal year round, as it would be impossible to
move the anthracite during the heating season alone (there simply
were not enough cars).

Want a good origin for CNJ and/or CNP (Central Railroad of
Pennsylvania--same company) hopper car loads of anthracite?
Enter "Huber Colliery, Ashley, PA" on your waybills.


Ian Wilson
Canadian Branchline Miniatures
Box 2565, Orillia, ON L3V 7B1
Publishers of books on CNR steam operations in Ontario during the

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