Re: hopper loads

Norman+Laraine Larkin <lono@...>

Coke was a byproduct of the manufactured gas process,and as this process evolved, the coke was, in-turn, burned to create additional forms of manufactured gas. Beginning in the early 20th century, large volumes of coke were produced in specialized by-product coking ovens close by (or a part of) integrated steel mills.

Coke was used as the basic fuel in blast furnaces, along with iron ore and limestone, in the manufacture of molten iron. Coke ovens essentially baked bituminous coal in an oxygen free environment at high temps (~1800- 2200 degrees F.) depending on it's end use, for a period of 16-22 hours. While baking, coal released large amounts of impure gas which was routed to a by-products plant where it was refined into useable chemicals (benzene, ammonium sulfate, etc.), ammonia liquor and coal tar was separated out. The clean gas was rerouted to heat the coke ovens and blast furnaces, or to private manufactured gas companies for sale to consumers. Once cooked, the white-hot coke was pushed from the oven into a "hot car" was quenched under a water spray, then dumped into a coal wharf where it continued to cool. A conveyer would move the coke up into a screening plant where it was separated by size, or to a crusher for additional sizing. From the oven, coke ranged in size from 3- inch pieces to 8-10 -inch chunks. .

The coke plant (where I worked one summer back in the mid 50s) produced up to 2.5 M tons of coke/year in the 40s and early 50s. Some went to a nearby blast furnace, some to Boston Gas Co. for gas manufacturing, some home heating fuel, and after WWII, coke was exported to Europe. Two solid coke trains per day shipped out over both the Boston and Albany (~50 cars) and Boston and Maine (~25 cars). Coke weighs considerably less than coal, so a coke loaded standard hopper car carried no where near its maximum weight. In general, specialized high-sided hopper cars were used in dedicated coke service between coke plants and the user mills. One of the most familiar is the Pennsy H22 made by Bowser. I believe the so-called rust belt saw much coke traffic, probably in any open topped car available when the mills were in full operation.

Norm Larkin

----- Original Message -----
From: ed_mines
Sent: Wednesday, August 15, 2007 12:21 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: hopper loads

--- In, "Dennis Storzek" <destorzek@...> wrote:
> Coke is flat black to dark gray in color.

How about particle size?

Was there much coke being shipped? I recall it was a byproduct of
illuminating gas and some utilities burned coke in special plants.


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