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History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania
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COAL MINING OPERATIONS 45
Purposes and coking. It is a large field, embracing the mines at Blossburg, Morris Run, Fall Brook, Arnot and Antrim, and Bache’s and Mitchell’s mines near Antrim. As early as 1834 the Arbon Coal Company was formed, composed chiefly of gentlemen from Philadelphia, James R. Willson of that city being president, Dr. Lewis Saynisch of Blossburg one of the stockholders, and James H. Gulick of New Jersey agent. As soon as the railroad was completed to Corning, in 1840, the Arbon Company began shipping coal by rail. The company was then represented by James H. Gulick, Brown Whitney and Franklin R. Smith, and existed for three years, mining and selling within that period 49,633 tons. Another company or firm was then organized, which mined and shipped, from 1844 to 1857, 405,116 tons.
D. S. Magee was the successor of W. M. Mallory & Co., and concluded the mining at Blossburg for general shipment, after having mined 78,996 tons, making a total of 533,745 mined at Blossburg.
The Tioga Improvement Company opened up mines on the same vein, situated in a direct line eastward two and three-fourths miles, and constructed a railroad from Blossburg to them in the year 1852. On account of the circuitous route which the engineer, Colonel Pharon Jarrett, was compelled to take in order to reach the openings, the railroad is about four miles in length. They are known as the Morris Run mines, and situated on the east and west sides of the narrow valley of a creek known as Morris Run, which discharges its waters into the Tioga River about a mile and a half southeast of Blossburg. From 1853 to 1863 this company placed on the market 323,174 tons,, and then leased to the Salt Company of Onondaga, which from 1863 to 1866 mined and shipped 267,809 tons. The Morris Run Coal Company then obtained possession, and subsequently the Morris Run Coal Mining Company. Up to January 1st 1881 they mined 4,513,120 tons, and during the year 1881 375,000, making a total since 1853 of about 5,480,000 tons taken from these mines, which are far from being exhausted.
The Blossburg Coal Company was incorporated in 1866. Its mines are situated about four miles southwest of Blossburg, on Johnson Creek, a tributary of the Tioga River. From its organization up to the 1st day of January 1881 it mined 2,796,193 tons. The tonnage for the year 1881 was 385,000 tons, making the total 3,181,193.
The Fall Brook Coal Company was organized in April 1859. The mines were opened in that year and a few tons shipped. They are located about two miles east of Morris Run, on the east side of Fall Brook, a rapid stream which forms a tributary of the Tioga River four miles southeast of Blossburg. These mines are very extensive, and produce some of the very best coal in the whole Blossburg region. The production from these mines from 1859 to 1873 was about 2,700,000 tons. In the latter year the company commenced shipping coal from Antrim, and the accounts of shipments have been consolidated. The total amount of coal mined by the Fall Brook Coal Company up to January 1st 1882 was 4,629,887 tons.
This makes the production of coal in Tioga county, exclusive of that mined for home consumption by local coal mines, about 13,290,000 tons since the commencement of the coal trade in 1840. These figures do not include those of Barclay and Carbon Run, in Bradford county, or the McIntyre mines, in Lycoming county, which are in the Blossburg coal field, but only those in Tioga county. Sir Charles Lyell, the celebrated English geologist, in 1841 visited the coal mines at Blossburg, and on returning home published the following account of them:
"It was the first time I had seen the true coal in America, and I was very much struck with its surprising analogy in mineral and fossil character to that of Europe; the same white grits or sandstones as are used for building near Edinburgh or Newcastle; similar black slates, often bituminous, with the leaves of ferns spread out as in an herbarium, the species being for the most part identical with the British fossil plants; seams of good bituminous coal, some a few inches, others several feet thick;
beds and nodules of clay, ironstone, and the whole series resting on a coarse grit and conglomerate, containing quartz pebbles very like our millstone grit, and often called by the American as well as English miners ‘farewell rock,’ because when they have reached it in their borings they take leave of all valuable fuel. Beneath this grit are those red and gray sandstones corresponding in mineral character, fossils and positions with our old red. I was desirous of ascertaining whether a generalization recently made by Mr. Logan in South Wales could hold good in this country. Each of the Welsh seams of coal – more than ninety in number – have been found to rest on a sandy clay or firestone, in which a peculiar species of plant called Stigmaria abounds to the exclusion of all others. I saw the Stigmaria at Blossburg in abundance, in heaps of rubbish extracted from a horizontal seam. Dr. Saynisch, the president of the mine, kindly lighted up the gallery that I might inspect the works, and we saw the black shales in the roof adorned with beautiful fern leaves, while the floor consisted of an under clay, in which the stems of Stigmaria, with their leaves and rootlets attached, were running in all directions. The agreement of these phenomena with those of the Welsh coal measures, 3,000 miles distant, surprised me, and led me to conclusions respecting the origin of coal from plants not drifted but growing on the spot, to which I shall refer hereafter."
He afterward wrote a letter to Dr. Fitton on the Blossburg coal district Stigmaria, which appeared in the proceedings of the Geological Society of Great Britain, September 2nd 1841. James Macfarlane, A. M., of Towanda, Pa., in his "Coal Regions of America," in speaking of the trade in bituminous and other coals, says:
"Previous to that time (1840-41) the whole sea coast used the Richmond
(Virginia) coal for blacksmithing and the manufacture of wrought iron in
all its branches. The Cumberland (Maryland) coal first found its way to
market over the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1842. The Blossburg region
was therefore developed at an early period in the history of the coal trade,
in fact before coal of any kind was needed in large quantities for any
purpose, there being at that time only 800,000 tons per annum of anthracite
sent to market. (Not far from 24,000,000 tons are now annually mined of
anthracite. J. L. S.) Up to the year 1860 the use of Blossburg coal was
confined, with unimportant exceptions, to black- HISTORY OF TIOGA COUNTY
Smithing and the use of three rolling mills at Troy, N. Y., wood being the fuel used for steam purposes, and that in a small way only, in the State of New York. In 1861 the tonnage amounted to 112, 712 tons, besides 40,835 tons from the Barclay region. From that period, being the commencement of the war, manufacturing of various kinds requiring the use of coal sprung up in the interior of the State of New York, especially rolling-mills. The railroads commenced to use coal instead of wood in their locomotives, and the salt manufacturers at Syracuse also substituted coal for wood in their salt blocks."
He further says:
"The general geological section in the Blossburg region consists of 333 feet of strata, including five workable seams of coal, four of which have been worked at various times in the district. The lowest, or Coal A., known among the miners as the Bear Creek vein, is from three to three and a half feet thick, and was worked, as well as the Bloss seam, at the old Blossburg mines by W. M. Mallory previous to 1858. It produced a good steam coal, but it frequently thinned out. The most important seam, and which is worked at all the mines, is B, which is called the Bloss vein, which is from 13 to 29 feet above A. From this seam most of the coal of the region is produced. It is sometimes interlaid with a thin seam of slate, and when this occurs an allowance is made to the miner of a certain sum for each inch of slate, added to his usual price per ton for mining. This system is a very just one, on account of the additional labor. At other localities in the same mines this slate disappears, and the seam presents a clean bed of pure coal from four and half to five and a half feet in thickness."
Since the above was published the Fall Brook Coal Company at Fall Brook has opened on this vein where the coal is seven feet thick. Mr. Macfarlane continues:
"The next seam, which is worked to a limited extend, is 25 to 30 feet higher, and sometimes less, and will be called Coal b, but on account of the heavy bed of fire clay on which it rests it is commonly called the Fire Clay vein. It is a variable seam, from one and a half to three and a half, and sometimes five feet thick when impurities occur in the middle. It appears to be a ‘rider’ or satellite of seam B. It produces good coal, and when it appears in its best form it is a valuable seam. It is being mined only in a portion of the field.
"Coal C occurs from 17 to 18 feet higher, and produces a species of cannel coal. In western Pennsylvania this seam C is the great deposit of cannel coal wherever that variety is found; but cannel coal is always liable to become degraded into bituminous shale, and that is its character at Blossburg. This seam is always stigmatized in this region as the Dirty vein or the Slate vein. It is regarded as worthless and has never been mined.
"Next in the ascending order, at an elevation of from seven to twenty feet above the last, is a small seam, only useful as a geological landmark – Coal c, or the Monkey vein as the miners call it, on account of its small size, it being only from one and a half to three and a half feet thick. It has never been opened for mining purposes.
"Coal D is called at Blossburg the Seymour vein, in honor of ex-Governor Seymour, who was a land owner where it was first wrought. It is from three to four and a half feet in thickness, always free from slate, and produces a bright, beautiful-looking coal, of a columnar structure, and an excellent blacksmith coal. It is worked in a portion of the region. Its elevation above the last-named seam is from 30 to 67 feet, but like all the other intervals of rock this is sometimes much less. Its elevation above the Bloss vein is from 114 to 162 feet.
"About fifty feet above the last is Coal E, commonly called the Rock vein on account of the heavy, coarse rock over it, which is sometimes conglomoratic. This seam is from two and a half to three feet thick and in a few localities it is of a better size, but it has never been worked. Fifty-six feet of rock has been measured over this seam, but without coal; and it is not improbable that the foregoing series embraces the whole of the lower coal measure of Pennsylvania.
"Several smaller seams of coal, of about one foot in thickness, sometimes occur, of which no mention has been made. The sections at various places in this and neighboring districts prove what has been before noticed, the remarkable uniformity of the coal seams from mine to mine; even the very small ones all preserving their characteristics everywhere sufficiently to be identified by the miners after a very little examination. On the contrary the intervals of rocks undergo constant and rapid changes, both in their size and the materials of which they are composed. Sandstones, shales and conglomerate are substituted for each other in the same geological horizon, so that no enumeration that could be made of them would be of much value. If they are governed by any law, the strata of rock seem to thicken up in passing along the basin from northeast to southwest, and the materials of which they are formed must have been carried by numerous currents running across the basin northwest and southeast, so as to form a variety of rock formed of sand, mud and pebbles on the same geological level in going from northeast to southwest, or down the present basin."
We now have given the reader a general idea in regard to the relative situation of the various coal seams in the Blossburg coal basin. These veins generally pitch toward the southwest or rise toward the northeast.
An analysis of a specimen taken from the Bear Creek or A vein at Fall Brook was made by A. S. McCreath, of the second Pennsylvania geological survey, and may therefore be relied upon as correct. In describing the specimen Mr. McCreath says:
"The specimen consists of bright columnar coal, with numerous thin partings of mineral charcoal and some iron pyrites; and compact resinous cannel-like coal, having a conchoidal fracture. Water, .790; volatile matter, 20.965; fixed carbon, 65.465; sulphur, .725; ash, 12.055; coke, per cent., 78.225; color of ash, gray."
A specimen of the B or Bloss vein at Fall Brook contained bright crystalling, tender coal, with columnar structure and cubical fracture; also bright, resinous, slaty, cannel-like coal, having a somewhat conchoidal fracture. The constituents were: Water, 1.050; volatile matter, 18.540; fixed carbon, 69.934; sulphur, .661; ash, 9.815; coke, per cent., 80.41; color of ash, gray.
Mr. Platt in his geological report (G) of the Blossburg coal basin, in speaking of the Seymour bed at Morris Run, or Coal D, says: The Seymour bed has
THE COAL OF THE BLOSSBURG FIELD 47
Only been opened up on the crop, and is not shipped to market. As it underlies a considerable area in this region, and is usually of workable thickness, it was deemed advisable to ascertain its character. A specimen of the coal was taken from under good cover and forwarded to the laboratory at Harrisburg. The coal has a deep black lustre, is very tender and contains an unusually large number of thin partings or iron pyrites. These are generally nothing more than mere knife edges, but the number present in the specimen examined is very unusual. It contained (McCreath): Water, .950; volatile matter, 19.830; fixed carbon, 60.759; sulphur, 6.856; ash, 11.605; coke, per cent., 79.22; sulphur left in coke, 4.375; percent, sulphur in coke, 5.522; percent, of iron in coal, 5.558; sulphur taken up by iron, 6.352; free sulphur, 504; percent, sulphur volatilized by coking, 36.180" Mr. Platt continues: The above analysis is a striking example of how easily the use of a single specimen for analysis may lead into grave error. The analyses of the Seymour vein from Fall Brook, Arnot and Antrim all show that the Seymour coal carries much more sulphur than the Bloss coal, but is regular in its character, not exceeding two per cent. of sulphur. There is no reason to believe that the average character of the bed at Morris Run is materially different; but it appeared that the lump selected for analysis contained numerous small scales of iron pyrites, not visible save by close examination under a strong glass. It is therefore a totally unfair representation of the character of the Seymour coal bed in the region between Fall Brook and Arnot, and is only reproduced here to show that the analyses, though perfectly accurate for the specimens forwarded, must be closely scanned in connection with all the other features of the case before they can be accepted as conclusive of character."
A specimen of the B or Blossburg vein at Morris Run, representing the average run of mines, on analysis by McCreath showed the following: Water, 1.120; volatile matter, 18.570; fixed carbon, 72.097; sulphur, .583; ash, 7.630; coke, percent., 80.33; color of ash, gray.
The coal is generally bright, tender, columnar, and shows a few thin seams of cannel-like coal. It carries some mineral charcoal and a very small amount of pyrites in thin partings. Mr. Platt remarks that "it is scarcely necessary to call attention to the analysis given above; it shows that the Morris Run coal possesses all the attributes of a steam coal, and is very free from injurious impurities."
The Seymour coal bed, says the report of the second geological survey, is opened and worked for shipment by the Blossburg Coal Company at Arnot. The bed has a slate roof with ½" to 3" of iron ore enclosed, and a fire clay floor; runs with considerable regularity in the mine and will average two feet eight inches in thickness. An average specimen of the coal was forwarded to the survey laboratory and yielded on analysis (McCreath): Water, 1.180; volatile matter, 21.586; fixed carbon, 71.574; sulphur, .907; ash, 4.753; coke, per cent., 77.234. The coal is bright, shining and very tender. It carries numerous thin partings of iron pyrites and an unusually large amount of mineral charcoal. A coke made from this coal yielded on analysis (McCreath): Water, .220; volatile matter, .625; fixed carbon, 90.650; sulphur, .850; ash, 7.655; color of ash, gray with red tinge.
The Bloss coal bed furnishes the greater part of all the coal which has been in the past and is now being shipped from Arnot. It is of its usual excellent character and is very regular in average thickness. There are of course numerous local pinches and swellings in size as there are in all mines, but on an average it yields about three feet six inches of clear coal, or over 5,000 tons to the acre. The coal is divided into benches; the partings being very persistent and recognizable under their change in thickness. The coal separates cleanly from the parting slates usually, except that the coal from the middle bench shows a tendency to stick to the top of the bone coal under it. This, however, is picked clean outside the mine.
Specimens of the coal from the three workable benches were forwarded to the laboratory of the survey for analysis. The upper bench yielded (McCreath): Water, 1.190; volatile matter, 20.755; fixed carbon , 71.697; sulphur, 1.023; ash, 5.335; coke, per cent., 78.955; color of ash, gray. This upper bench averages twelve inches of clean coal. Though a little higher in sulphur it is very low in ash, and is the purest and strongest bench of coal in the whole bed. The middle bed yielded on analysis (McCreath) of water, .940; volatile matter, 20.640; fixed carbon, 64.306; sulphur, .914; ash, 13.200; coke, per cent., 78.420. This bench only averages about eight inches in thickness. It is a good coal, though higher in ash than the upper bench. The lowest workable bench of the coal yielded on analysis (McCreath): Water, 1.110; volatile matter, 18.790; fixed carbon, 63.428; sulphur, .602; ash, 16.070; coke, per cent., 80.100.
The points of difference between the coal measures at Antrim and those of Arnot, Morris Run and Fall Brook are very striking. Some coal beds are absolutely lacking and the interval distances are amazingly changed. The small one-foot vein overlying the Seymour or Cushing bed by 33 feet has not been opened. The Seymour bed at Antrim is given by A. Hardt as five feet six inches in thickness. The coal has a bright black lustre, is very tender, and carries numerous thin partings of mineral charcoal and knife edges of iron pyrites. A specimen analyzed at the State Laboratory was composed as follows: Water, 1.460; volatile matter, 21.600; fixed carbon, 65.120; sulphur, 2.820; ash, 9.000; coke, per cent., 76.940; color of ash, reddish gray.
The Bloss bed at Antrim is depended upon for the coal shipped to market. An average specimen representing all the benches together just as the coal goes to market was forwarded for analysis and yielded (McCreath): Water, 2.260; volatile matter, 20.240; fixed carbon, 71.847; sulphur, .548; ash, 5.105; coke, per cent., 77.50; color of ash, gray. The coal has a deep black lustre, generally with seams of bright crystalling coal running through it. It is rather tender, is free from slaty HISTORY OF TIOGA COUNTYCoal, and carries only a small amount of iron pyrites.
The above analysis represents a coal of most superior character – low in ash, low in sulphur, and with every requisite for a most efficient and valuable fuel. The percentage of combined water runs curiously higher than in the average of specimens of Bloss coal mined in this basin.
West of Antrim, says F. Platt, of the geological survey, is Wilson’s Creek, a large stream which cuts down six or seven hundred feet below the hill tops which hold the coals. Coal has been opened up and is now worked on the west side of Wilson’s Creek, opposite Antrim; and the Bloss bed on the west side appears to be fully 30 or 40 feet higher than the level of the same bed at Antrim. There is no railroad communication at present to afford an outlet to market for any coal west of Wilson’s Creek; but some few mines are opened, and one or two thousand tons of coal are mined yearly and hauled away, mainly on sleds in winter for use in Wellsboro and the adjacent country. The region is entirely undeveloped except these few openings; and it is therefore impossible to obtain more than a very incomplete section of the measures as they exist. At the Bache mine the coal is worked for local supply. The mine runs in south 50 degrees west, and the workings are carried to the south, the coal rising in that direction. In working this coal some of it is hard, breaking up into blocks, while the balance of the coal is only moderately compact. These coals were analyzed separately. The hard coal from the Bache mine (Bloss vein) yielded on analysis (McCreath): Water, 2.380; volatile matter, 20.005; fixed carbon, 70.055; sulphur, .565; ash, 6.995; color of ash, reddish gray. The coal is considerably coated with an orange yellow silt, is usually firm and compact, and has a deep black lustre on clean fracture. It shows numerous thin partings of mineral charcoal, and has a decided tendency to break up into blocks.
The softer coal from the Bache mine on analysis (McCreath) yielded: Water, 2.240; volatile matter, 20.045; fixed carbon, 70.357; sulphur, .588; ash, 6.770; coke, per cent., 77.715; color of ash, gray with a red tinge. The coal, clean looking generally, has a deep black lustre. It is moderately firm and compact, and shows numerous thin partings of mineral charcoal. It breaks with irregular fracture. These coals from the Bache mine, therefore, so unlike in appearance and physical structure, are almost identical in chemical composition. If the analysis of the specimens forwarded from the mine will represent what would be afforded as an average of extensive workings the coal of the Blood bed west of Wilson’s Creek is fully equal to any coal from the same bed now worked in the Blossburg coal basin.
About a mile northeast from the Bache mine the Bloss bed is opened and worked at Mitchell’s mine, on the west bank of Wilson’s Creek, opposite to the Antrim mines. The mine is worked on a small scale, only to supply one or two thousand tons for local use. It has no railroad communication and its yield is hauled away by teams. The Bloss bed here makes a beautifully defined bench around the hillsides. The mine runs in north 10 degrees west. The drift has been run in far enough to secure clean, bright, hard coal, with good roof and floor; and some fair average specimens were taken from the run of mine coal and forwarded to the laboratory of the survey at Harrisburg. They yielded on analysis (McCreath): Water, 1.810; volatile matter, 20.350; fixed carbon, 68.126; sulphur, .569; ash, 9.145; coke, percent., 77.84; color of ash, reddish gray. The coal, considerably coated with silt, has a dull, dead lustre on fresh fracture. It is generally compact, carries numerous thin partings of mineral charcoal, and seems in the main free from iron pyrites. The analysis shows that the Mitchell and Bache are almost identical in composition.
Since the above was examined the Bear Creek coal bed has been opened at Mitchell’s, nineteen feet below the Bloss vein; it contains about two feet of workable coal.
Andrew Sherwood, a geologist of considerable fame, who resides at Mansfield in this county, and who was connected with the State geological survey, says, in the published reports (letter G) of Bradford and Tioga counties: "It has been the prevalent opinion for many years that no coal, or very little, existed in Tioga county except in the synclinal axis of the Blossburg coal basin;" and continues: "This is clearly an error, for coal beds of the lower productive measures are now opened and worked in Gaines township, Tioga county, in the next great synclinal, north of the Blossburg basin, from which it is separated by a broad anticlinal valley." The exact course of the "Gaines basin" is thus described by Mr. Sherwood, who has carefully followed out the anticlinals and synclinals of Tioga and Bradford counties:
"Its center line enters Tioga from Bradford county near the southeast corner of Jackson township; crosses Tioga River at the mouth of Mill Creek, Crooked Creek near Potter’s hotel, and enters Potter county on the north side of Pine Creek. At the line between Tioga and Rutland townships this basin, on its highest knobs, catches the millstone grit, which is the foundation or bottom rock of the true coal measures. This rock possesses some very marked characters of its own, which serve to distinguish it from every other bed. At some points in this basin it contains pebbles of quartz; at others it is a hard white quartzose sandstone, excellent for the manufacture of glass, and having a very uniform thickness of about thirty feet. The hills have suffered so much erosion from the waters of the Tioga, Mill Creek, Crooked Creek and tributaries that we do not meet with this rock again on going west until after we cross Norris Brook west of Niles Valley, where it again caps the hills; but here again the basin begins to widen and deepen to the southwest, so that on reaching the barrens at Long Run, instead of capping the hills, it is low enough to be itself capped by over 190 feet of coal measures."
A mine is opened on the Knox & Billings coal bed, two miles from Gaines post-office. The coal is picked or blasted down from roof to floor clean. It has no regular and persistent parting. The average thickness of clean coal from where measured was about three feet. It is said to run from that up, sometimes being considerably thicker; but from three feet to three and a quarter
THE COKE BUSINESS 49
Feet is probably a fair average, or 5,000 tons to the acre, taking broad areas into consideration. The coal is much used locally by blacksmiths, and is hauled many miles for the purpose. It makes a hollow fire, with great heat; any welding can be done by it, and it holds fire well in the forge. The coal is screened at the mine and several hundred tons are hauled away annually for use in the valley to the northward. No attempt has been made to test it for coking purposes. An average specimen of the Knox & Billings coal was forwarded to the laboratory of the survey and yielded on analysis (McCreath): Water, 3.260; volatile matter, 27.860; fixed carbon, 60.421; sulphur, 804; ash, 7.655; coke, per cent., 68.880; color of ash, reddish gray. The coal, generally coated with a yellowish white silt, has a deep black shining lustre on fresh fracture; is rather compact, showing numerous partings of mineral charcoal. The coal analyzed seemed quite wet.
It is quite evident from the foregoing extracts, taken from the report of Mr. Sherwood, of the geological survey, that quite an extensive coal field exists in the locality designated by him on the western line of Tioga and eastern line of Potter county. As it is undeveloped to a great extent, and the data in relation to it are crude, we must content ourselves, and await future explorations and examinations. The large amount of known reliable data concerning the coal fields in the Blossburg basin in various sections of the county, operated by individuals and companies, shows an area of about one hundred thousand acres.
As coke is closely allied with the coal trade in the semi-bituminous coal region, and as it is now being extensively made by the Blossburg Coal Company at Arnot, it deserves a place among the important industries of the county. It is in its infancy, but we confidently look forward to the time when it will become a great industry at Fall Brook, Morris Run, Arnot, Antrim and elsewhere in this county where semi-bituminous coal is found. For many years the writer has been convinced that coke was the fuel for metallurgy of iron, and whenever an opportunity has afforded has tried to impress upon the coal companies of this county the feasibility of entering upon its manufacture. In pursuance of this idea, and to give the people of the State an intelligent conception of the manner in which coke was made and prepared from bituminous and semi-bituminous coal, he went in the summer of 1875 to Johnstown, Cambria county, Pa., and prevailed upon John Fulton, an eminent civil and mining engineer, who was and is now general mining engineer for the Cambria Iron Company, to prepare drawings of the several coke ovens used by that company, and also to write out for publication in the report of the Bureau of Industrial Statistics the results of his experiments in the erection of coke ovens,, and on the methods of coking coal for furnace use; its efficiency and economy as compared with anthracite coal in the metallurgy of iron. This Mr. Fulton did, giving, as he promised, all the details connected with the business. The drawings of the ovens the writer had lithographed, and the text published. No paper or work pertaining to the bituminous coal interest of Pennsylvania was ever more eagerly sought after. In fact the demand was not confined to Pennsylvania, but all over the United States, Canada and Great Britain the work was in demand. Eight thousand copies of the report of the Bureau of Industrial Statistics containing it were gratuitously distributed, and the report was subsequently embodied in the geological survey. The writer placed this paper by Mr. Fulton before the officers of the various coal companies of Tioga county, and urged them to engage in the manufacture of coke. They then had an intelligent guide in the shape of Mr. Fulton’s drawings and experiments. F. N. Drake, president of the Blossburg Coal Company, soon afterward commenced testing the coal at Arnot in open pits, and soon found that the coal was admirably adapted to the manufacture of coke. After this initial fact was demonstrated he proceeded to erect beehive ovens, moving cautiously in the premises, until now he has two hundred ovens in successful operation, with the largest coal washer in the United States, its capacity being about thirteen hundred tons per day of ten hours, or 3,120 in 24 hours. The coke he manufactures is meeting with a ready sale, and is equal in every respect to the Connellsville coke of western Pennsylvania. Coke had been made in an oven at Fall Brook, but Mr. Drake can be justly styled the pioneer in the coke trade of northern Pennsylvania. It is shipped to all points east and west, penetrating into States and territories west of the Mississippi, reaching the furnaces, rolling mills and machine shops in the Atlantic States, and going southward into the anthracite coal regions of Pennsylvania. In 1875 Mr. Fulton in his paper uses this significant language; "It is also manifest that coke is destined to become the leading fuel for blast furnaces, and to retain this position, from its almost inexhaustible source of supply, its calorific efficiency and its continued economy"; and we might add that his predictions are being fulfilled. Not only is coke taking a leading position in the manufacture of iron; but it is invading the household and its presence is welcomed in the kitchen range and parlor stove. It makes a bright, clean, hot fire, devoid of smoke, gas or other offensive element, and is in its prepared form taking in many households the place of anthracite.
A coke made from the Seymour vein at Arnot by the Blossburg Coal Company, of which F. N. Drake is president, yielded on analysis by Mr. McCreath of the geological survey at Harrisburg the following: Water, .220; volatile matter, .625; fixed carbon, 90.650; sulphur, .850; ash, 7.655. This is a splendid showing, and places it in the front rank of fuels in this country.
The Blossburg Coal Company made in the year 1881 56,000 tons of semi-bituminous coke.
Iron ore abounds to a considerable extent in Tioga county. As early as 1825 a furnace was erected at
The quantity of glass sandrock in Tioga county is exhaustless. It enters the county from the east on the line of the Northern Central Railroad, and is to be found in great quantities in all the southern and many of the western townships of the county. Its presence is particularly striking in the coal regions of the Blossburg coal basin. As early as 1847 a window-glass manufactory was erected at Blossburg by William Dezang, of Geneva, N. Y., which has continued in operation since with few interruptions. For the past fourteen years there has been no suspension of business, save what was necessary for repairs. It obtains its supply from the exhaustless quarries near Blossburg. Another window-glass manufactory is in successful operation at Covington, owned and managed by the same parties, Hirsch, Ely & Co., who obtain their sand from the same source.
There is no place in the United States where glass can be manufactured with less expense than in the Blossburg coal basin, for the sandrock, coal and fire clay employed in the business are at hand and convenient, with railroad facilities for shipping to any desired point.
In the Blossburg coal basin are also found immense beds of moulding sand, which is used by our local founders and shipped to points in southern and central New York.
Large beds or veins of fire clay, suitable for the manufacture of fire
brick and pots for glass manufacturers, abound in the Blossburg coal basin.
This is used by the glass manufacturers of Blossburg and Covington. Fire
brick was manufactured to a considerable extent in Blossburg a few years
ago and was considered a first-class article. Shipments of this clay are
also made to various sections of the country. A fine opportunity for the
manufacture of fire brick is awaiting the enterprising person or company
who will institute suitable kilns in the vicinity of Blossburg.
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