Re: Retail coal dealers, brand names and railroads


The anthracite coal companies (and railroads) constantly worked on the
problem of the seasonal fluctuations in the market for coal. The main incentive was
price, it being much cheaper to buy coal during the summer months.

I can recal my Dad building a coal bin under the front proch in Scranton that
would hold 20 tons of anthracite, so he could buy it in the summer at low
prices and have enough for the whole winter.

During the summer months the miners were laid off as well as railroad crews.
Every siding and yard was crammed with empty hopper cars (which I thought was
great since us kids got to climb all over and explore them).

The railroad compnies invested large sums into coal storage facilities where
the material could be stored until demand picked up but this was expensive and
really never worked out. Not could industrial customers be convinced to
invest in coal storage facilities.

Truly amazing the amount of capital invested by today's standards. The real
book on the coal industry has yet to be written; whether for the anthracite or
bituminous industry. It was every bit as complex as the perishible fruit
indutry although in a different way. The popular concept of you dig (dug) the
stuff out of the ground and dump it into hopper cars is way off the mark!

Chuck Y
Boulder CO

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