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Remembrances > The Coal Man!
The Coal Man!
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48 posts
Apr 22, 2011
1:39 PM
I was born in 1946 when almost everyone had a coal furnace in the basement.Big old iron things with miles(it seemed) of huge octopus tentacles along the ceiling.
The fire had to be stoked morning and evening to ensure the house didn't get cold.It was a dirty job that my older brothers tried their best to avoid!
I remember watching my father use the cinder rake to sift out all the burnt pieces.He would put the cinders in a bushel basket that was put out on the curb for the city to pick up.They used them instead of salt when it snowed.I suppose they gave the cars traction.
At the rear of our basement was the coal bin.Actually a room that was shut off from the rest of the basement with a sturdy door.There was one small window that was used for coal delivery.
It was quite an ordeal for the delivery at our house because we lived on a small hill.The window to the coal bin was on the side of the house so the coal had to be put into wheel-barrows and pushed up the hill from the street.
The "coal man" would first lay long pieces of wood(probably 1x6's)from the sidewalk,up the hill,across the yard to the window.After he had them all placed he would fill the wheel-barrow from the back of the dump truck and push it up the wood path to the window where he dumped the coal into the coal bin.This had to be done many times before the coal bin was full.If there was snow on the ground it took a long time to complete the job.
The worst possible thing that could happen was for the wheel-barrow to slip off of the wood and tip.What a mess that made.I can only remember that happening one time.
After the coal was in the bin there was still the job of picking up all the boards and putting them back on the truck along with the wheel-barrow!
I was only around eight or nine years old but I can remember wondering if the "coal man" hated coming to our house!I know I surely would have.....
Sometime in the late fifties we had our furnace changed over to gas.I never got to watch the "coal man" again!

Last Edited by on Apr 22, 2011 1:43 PM
5 posts
Aug 09, 2012
10:28 PM
I remember the name of the coal was "Red Heart" coal. After the coal man dumped a new load of coal, my sister and I would go thru the coal and pick out all the metal red hearts and keep them or made a game of who could find the most. What were we thinking...
6 posts
Oct 06, 2012
10:35 AM
What I remember about coal is that I grew up during the "Great Depression" and we lived in a 3-room house at the corner of Hulbert Street and Hamilton Avenue in the eastend of Dayton, Ohio, right across from the Pennsylvania railroad tracks. This was in the mid 1930's. On the other side of the tracks were a couple of coalyards. Living so close to them was a great advantage for my mother as she always knew when the trains were delivering a new load of coal to the coal yards. When we kids came home from school, she would always have a bushel basket ready for each of us because there would be a lot of coal that was dropped on the tracks during the delivery process that was free for the taking. She would tell us to pick up the biggest pieces and as much as we could find, before the other neighborhood kids got them. (There were always other kids up there with their baskets) After we brought our baskets home (my older brothers always had to carry mine since I was only seven or eight. I would stand there and guard my basket with my life while I waited for them to return from taking theirs home.) Mom would send us back to fill our baskets with what she called "slack" This, she would save until we ran out of the bigger pieces, because it made alot of smoke. We had a coal stove in the kitchen and the other two rooms were always closed off and so cold in the winter-time. I can still remember how cold it was to go to bed. In zero weather, I remember mom picking up the throw rugs and putting them over the covers on our beds to try to keep us warm. We had no electricity or indoor plumbing. We spent our evenings at the kitchen table with the light from a coal-oil lamp, doing our homework. My dad had a crystal set and would be listening to "Amos & Andy", "Lum & Abner", or "The Grand Ole Opry" My mom was a superb cook and she could feed her hungry children out of nothing. I can remember also standing in the "soup lines" holding onto my dad's hand. When I think back to those lean times, they bring back some of my most cherished memories and I don't ever regret having lived through those tough years. I had great parents who taught us to work for what we expected out of life and that we weren't entitled to a free handout. Even when we were standing in the soup-lines, my dad worked for the WPA to earn that right.

Last Edited by on Oct 06, 2012 10:46 AM
20 posts
Dec 09, 2012
8:46 AM
I lived on Kammer ave near Westwood in the mid-late 50s. We had a coal furnace and a coal chute beside the yard. My dad used to load his trunk up with coal from a coal yard that, I believe was on Dutoit off E.Third...Or near there. I remember one winter the old furnace ran out of heat in the middle of the night and we were out of coal. My dad had to go across town to get coal, come back and light some paper, break up some wood crates and begin shoveling the coal in. I always remember standing on the floor vents in my socks when the coal heat began to rise up through the house...that was the best feeling during winter!
3 posts
Apr 01, 2013
11:23 AM
Lived on Epworth for 8 or 9 years in the late 40's, early 50's and had a coal furnace. Came home from St. Anthony's school at lunch time and stoked the furnace, as my Mom was ill and couldn't do steps. Carried the ashes out for trash day in 5 gallon buckets. Coal bin was under the front porch.
20 posts
Apr 02, 2013
6:31 PM
The only reason I'm putting this down here is due to the topic of COAL.
Everyone's entry deals with memories of the Depression or the 40s or 50s. Not me. The house I am living in I bought in 1996 and when my wife and I moved in there was a coal furnace in the basement. It was a behemoth steam boiler and was put in new in 1939.That was 11 years after the house was built. I can't tell you of the fun I had stoking, shaking the grate, clinkers, ashes and so on. We were working 3 to midnight and when we got home I would go through the routine and 20 to 30 minutes later we would have heat.
Living out here in the middle of nowhere it's only been the last couple of years that we no longer smell the coal furnaces all winter long. It's sad to see that pass away completely but to be honest I really got tired of dealing with that thing. We used it for 4 years until it started leaking between the water jackets. The damn thing was so old that parts were no longer available ANYWHERE! We've moved into modern times with a fuel oil burning replacement. The only thing I miss about coal was, you know its coming, the price. The last year I bought coal I could get it for $58 per ton. I would probably use 3 tons all winter. Ahh, the good old days.

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