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When Pocahontas coal was $7 a ton

1937 advertiser of the week

The words of coal today sound as foreign phrases to anyone who grew up before a coal furnace warmed Bluffton homes.


Pocahontas, mined in West Virginia and Virginia, as the price indicates, was among the best and cleanest burning coal. Note the advertisement says “dust treated.”


One wouldn’t want to shovel a coal furnace while wearing good clothing, thus the “dust treated” assured the home-owner that the job would be somewhat clean.


Black Wonder and its various grades were dirtier, but cheaper.

Stocker coal was used with an automatic feeder unit and an attached coal hopper. This meant that several days' worth of coal could be stored in the hopper allowing a furnace to continually burn.

Otherwise, coal furnaces needed to be hand-fed by shovel by the homeowner.


Bluffton had several coal yards, all near its railroads because the coal was delivered to the yards by rail. 


This ad is from the Bluffton Fuel Company from a 1937 Bluffton News. The prices listed are “as delivered, with an important note stating “Owing to raise in miners’ wages, coal prices will advance this summer.”


To order coal in Bluffton, when the operator asks, “Number, please,” say 444-W.


One final note. Where was the coal stored in a house? Naturally, in the basement coal bin. Older homes may still retain a coal bin door near the building foundation. It’s easier to find these small doors on Main Street buildings, if you know what to look for.


Simply, open the door and pour in the coal from a dump truck.

We are unaware of the Bluffton Fuel Company's location or owner, although it could have been Howard Stager. We are aware of other coal yards at this time in Bluffton.

• Bluffton Stone Co., East Kibler St., 142-W

• Bluffton Milling Co., 241 E. Cherry St., 110-W

• Farmers Elevator, 310 E. Cherry St., 109-W

• Steiner Coal Yard, North Main St., 265-Y

1937 Bluffton News ad from the Bluffton Fuel Co.

Simply, open the door and pour in the coal from a dump truck.



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