Keys to the Past

Glossary

Coke; Coke oven

Coal contains large amounts of Sulphur (S). This cannot be used to create cast iron as it will cause the metal to become impossible to work. Coke is coal that has been partially heated to drive off the Sulphur. This happened in coke ovens or just in the open, where the burning process could be specifically controlled by covers (sometimes completely) and wetting.

Coke ovens were introduced in 1763AD. These ovens had a chamber filled with coal dust, a chimney and a door that sealed the chamber after staring the burning. The coke was formed by slow, but complete combustion. Removal of the coke was achieved by breaking the seal and using a small crane and scooped shovel. Coke ovens were built in rows, which could be served by waggonways. The gases produced could be used elsewhere, such as heating boilers for making steam. The Whinfield, (County Durham), coke ovens generated heat for a copper oxide plant specifically built nearby in 1915AD.
Coke oven

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