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Cannel coal

Cannel coal

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Cannel coal, also known as candle coal, is a type of coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

, also classified as terrestrial type oil shale
Oil shale
Oil shale, an organic-rich fine-grained sedimentary rock, contains significant amounts of kerogen from which liquid hydrocarbons called shale oil can be produced...

, with a large amount of hydrogen
Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

, which burns easily with a bright light and leaves little ash.

Cannel coal consists of micrinites, macerals of the exinite
Exinite
Liptinite is an umbrella term used in coal geology, referring to the finely-ground and macerated remains found in coal deposits. It replaced the term Exinite as one of the four categories of kerogen. Liptinites were originally formed by spores, pollen, dinoflagellate cysts, leaf cuticles, and plant...

 group, and certain inorganic materials. Cannel coal usually occurs at the top or bottom of other coals. The excess of hydrogen in a coal, above the amount necessary to combine with its oxygen to form water, is known as disposable hydrogen, and is a measure of the fitness of the coal for use in gas-making. This, although of very small value as fuel, commands a specially high price for gas-making. Cannel is more compact and duller than ordinary coal, and can be wrought in the lathe and polished. In the Durham coal-field (and possibly elsewhere) carving cannel coal into ornaments was a popular pastime amongst the miners.

In 1540, an antiquary named John Leland reported that Sir Roger Bradshaigh
Bradshaigh
Bradshaigh may refer to:* Bradshaigh Baronets* Sir Roger Bradshaigh, Father of the House...

 had discovered a plentiful shallow seam of smooth, hard, Cannel Coal on his estate, near Haigh, Greater Manchester
Haigh, Greater Manchester
Haigh is a village and civil parish of the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan in Greater Manchester, England. Historically a part of Lancashire, it is located next to the village of Aspull. The western boundary is the River Douglas which separates the township from Wigan. To the north a small brook...

. The deposit came to be known as the Great Haigh fault. The shallow depth of the Cannel meant that it was suitable for the simple surface mining methods available at that time. It could be worked and carved, and was an excellent light fuel which burned with a bright flame, it was easily lit and left virtually no ash.

Cannel coal was used as a major feedstock for the historical manufactured gas industry
History of manufactured gas
The history of manufactured gas, important for lighting, heating, and cooking purposes throughout most of the nineteenth century and the first half of the 20th century, began with the development of analytical and pneumatic chemistry in the eighteenth century...

, as the gas produced from it was valuable for lighting due to the luminosity of the flame that it produced. Cannel gas was widely used for domestic lighting throughout the 19th century prior to the invention of the incandescent gas mantle
Gas mantle
An incandescent gas mantle, gas mantle, or Welsbach mantle is a device for generating bright white light when heated by a flame. The name refers to its original heat source, existing gas lights, which filled the streets of Europe and North America in the late 19th century, mantle referring to the...

 by Carl Auer von Welsbach
Carl Auer von Welsbach
Carl Auer Freiherr von Welsbach was an Austrian scientist and inventor who had a talent for not only discovering advances, but turning them into commercially successful products...

 in the 1880s. Following the introduction of the gas mantle, cannel coal gradually lost favour as a manufactured gas feedstock as the gas mantle could produce large quantities of light without regard for the flame luminosity of the gas burnt.

On October 17, 1850, James Young, of Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

, Scotland, patented a method for the extraction of paraffin
Paraffin
In chemistry, paraffin is a term that can be used synonymously with "alkane", indicating hydrocarbons with the general formula CnH2n+2. Paraffin wax refers to a mixture of alkanes that falls within the 20 ≤ n ≤ 40 range; they are found in the solid state at room temperature and begin to enter the...

 ("kerosene
Kerosene
Kerosene, sometimes spelled kerosine in scientific and industrial usage, also known as paraffin or paraffin oil in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Ireland and South Africa, is a combustible hydrocarbon liquid. The name is derived from Greek keros...

" in North America) from cannel coal.

See also


  • Ampelite
    Ampelite
    Ampelite, in natural history, is a black, bituminous substance that dissolves in oil; perhaps cannel coal. Historically, it was used to blacken eyebrows and hair....

  • Kukersite
    Kukersite
    Kukersite is a marine type oil shale of Ordovician age, found in the Baltic Oil Shale Basin in Estonia and North-West Russia. It was named after Kukruse settlement in Estonia in 1917 by Russian paleontologist Mikhail Zalessky....

  • Lamosite
    Lamosite
    Lamosite is an olive-gray brown or dark gray to brownish black lacustrine-type oil shale, in which the chief organic constituent is lamalginite derived from lacustrine planktonic algae. In minor scale it also consists of vitrinite, inertinite, telalginite, and bitumen.Lamosite deposits are the most...

  • Marinite
    Marinite
    Marinite is a gray to dark-gray or black oil shale of marine origin in which the chief organic components are lamalginite and bituminite derived from marine phytoplankton, with varied admixtures of bitumen, telalginite and vitrinite. Marinite deposits are the most abundant oil-shale deposits...


  • Tasmanite
    Tasmanite
    Tasmanite is a rock type almost entirely consisting of the prasinophyte alga Tasmanites. It is commonly associated with high-latitude, nutrient-rich, marginal marine settings find in Tasmania. It is classified as marine type oil shale. It is found in many oil-prone source rocks and, when present,...

  • Torbanite
    Torbanite
    Torbanite, also known as boghead coal, is a variety of fine-grained black oil shale. It usually occurs as lenticular masses, often associated with deposits of Permian coals. Torbanite is classified as lacustrine type oil shale....

  • Oil shale geology
    Oil shale geology
    Oil shale geology is a branch of geologic sciences which studies the formation and composition of oil shales–fine-grained sedimentary rocks containing significant amounts of kerogen, and belonging to the group of sapropel fuels. Oil shale formation takes place in a number of depositional...