Looking for sources about Early Modern Charcoal Making

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Bevis Gittens
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Looking for sources about Early Modern Charcoal Making

Post by Bevis Gittens »

I am trying to track down info on charcoal making in the early modern period. So far I have identified the following books as potentially useful:

‘The Pirotechnia’ by Vannoccio Biringuccio, has some interesting illustrations of sixteenth century charcoal making:

Image

‘Woodcolliers and Charcoal Burning’ by Lyn Armstrong

‘Charcoal Burning in the 17th Century: A Brief History and Practical Guide (Living History Reference Books)’ by Malcomb Stratford

‘Handbook of Charcoal Making: The Traditional and Industrial Methods (Solar Energy Research & Development in the European Community)’ by Walter Emrich

‘Charcoal and Charcoal Burning’ (Shire Album) by D.W. Kelley

I don’t have any of these books yet so any opinions on them would be gratefully received.

I have found a few online resources about charcoal making in the Sixteenth century, mainly in passing:
WEALDEN IRON RESEARCH GROUP – History Page of c16th century iron industry, at http://www.wealdeniron.org.uk/hist.htm
There is a nice reconstructed picture of Charcoal camp on this page:

Image

Life & Death in Elizabethan Norton by Jos Kingston. A fascinating analysis of Yorkshire community, including reference to Charcoal makers.
http://www.joskingston.org/LDEN/LDENCONTENTS.html

If anyone else knows of some more books or web pages then I would love to know

Thanks, Bevis
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Bevis Gittens
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Re: Looking for sources about Early Modern Charcoal Making

Post by Bevis Gittens »

I have found some nice photos of a charcoal heap at: http://www.brad.ac.uk/acad/archsci/depa ... evaulx.htm showing an experimental iron smelt at Rievaulx Abbey in 2002
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Christabel
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Re: Looking for sources about Early Modern Charcoal Making

Post by Christabel »

Charcoal Burning in the 17th Century A practical guide covering period sources and instructions on how to go about charcoal burning today in the traditional manner Dr Malcomb Stratford 36p £4.00

http://www.stuart-hmaltd.com/living-his ... ations.php

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Christabel
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Re: Looking for sources about Early Modern Charcoal Making

Post by Christabel »

oops, seems to be similar to one you've already listed! :doh:

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Bevis Gittens
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Re: Looking for sources about Early Modern Charcoal Making

Post by Bevis Gittens »

Christabel wrote:oops, seems to be similar to one you've already listed! :doh:
Nevermind, thanks for looking anyway :thumbup:
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Bevis Gittens
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Re: Looking for sources about Early Modern Charcoal Making

Post by Bevis Gittens »

I have since found a couple of places running courses in Charcoal Making:

Weald and Downland Open air museum, Singleton - http://www.wealddown.co.uk/Courses/cour ... %20burning

and

Bodfari Woodland skills centre - http://www.woodlandskillscentre.co.uk/c ... 8-sep.html

I think I might go for the Weald and Downland as it is close to where I live and they look at "both traditional and current methods", the picture on the page looks a lot like a traditional heap...

Image

Sorry to bore everyone else who doesn't care about Charcoal making :wink:

Bevis
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Re: Looking for sources about Early Modern Charcoal Making

Post by guthrie »

All of those sound like you should get them. De Pirotechnia can be purchased from Dover online without any fuss, thats how I got my copy.

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Bevis Gittens
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Re: Looking for sources about Early Modern Charcoal Making

Post by Bevis Gittens »

You are probably thinking "will this guy just shut up about Charcoal making", I promise this is my last post... for now :D

Found a nice slide show of a heap being built at Dean Heritage Museum, Soudley in the Forest of Dean nice 'how to' animation - http://www.flickr.com/photos/birchampho ... 8006/show/

How to make a charcoal makers hut From The Hainault Forest Website - http://www.hainaultforest.co.uk/3CharcoalBurnersHut.htm

The Working woodlands trust has some interesting pages - http://www.workingwoodlands.info/charcoal.php

I promise to stop now!

Bevis
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Re: Looking for sources about Early Modern Charcoal Making

Post by guthrie »

Carry on if you like, your posts may be of interest to future users of the forum.

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Bevis Gittens
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Re: Looking for sources about Early Modern Charcoal Making

Post by Bevis Gittens »

Below are a couple of shots of Charcoal related stuff going on at the Plimoth Plantation museum in the states, slightly out of Tudor (1627) but still relevant:

Image

Stacking cord wood to season to make charcoal with. Like the chaps very practical leather breeches!

Image

Stack underway, probably quite soon after capping judging by vapours being high on the stack. I like the curved ladder. I am wondering if the structure in the fore ground is a half completed wind break?

Bevis
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Bevis Gittens
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Re: Looking for sources about Early Modern Charcoal Making

Post by Bevis Gittens »

A friend has sent me a page from a 1609/10 City of London proclamation to the size of sacks that Charcoal was to be sold in the city. They should be 54 inches (yard and a half) long and 27 inches wide (three quarters of a yard) and should hold four bushels.


Nice picture of collier too:

Image
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Christabel
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Re: Looking for sources about Early Modern Charcoal Making

Post by Christabel »

I was reading Arthur Ransome's autobiography, and in the early 1900s charcoal burners in the Lake District would take a new clay pipe and put it in their charcoal stack to season, as otherwise a brand-new clay pipe would be raw and unpleasant on its first smoke, whereas a blackened one was just 'run in'!

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