New York: House of Anthony, Parker & Co. of New Castle upon Tyne, 1855. Envelope or Cover. This two-page bifold circular measures 8” x 10”. It was printed on 13 March 1855 and subsequently mailed from the coal company’s agent in New York to the Boston Gas Light Company. It bears a circular red “New York/PAID” postmark (of a typed mainly used for printed matter) dated “MAR 23”. Although no postal rated is shown, at the time, the cost to send up to three ounces of printed matter was one cent. The circular is in nice shape with mailing folds and light postal wear. In it, Hart provides assurance that the Crimean War neither interrupted British bituminous coal production nor increased its price. Additionally, there are several tables comparing coal production and pricing.. Very good. Item #009698
In the mid-1800s, the use of natural gas as an energy source was unknown. Although coal-manufactured gas first began to be used in Great Britain in the 1800s and the United States in 1820s, it wasn’t until the 1850s that it began to become a viable method for providing public, residential, and industrial lighting in the eastern half of the United States. This was primarily due to the abundance of natural forests that provided more than enough wood to use as fuel.
Although, American anthracite began to be used for heating and industry in the 1840s, it was the softer bituminous coal that was used to produce gas for lighting. While the mines of Pennsylvania grew rapidly, much of the coal use for American lighting was imported from the United Kingdom, especially Newcastle.
The Boston Gas Light Company was among the pioneer coal gas manufactures in the United States. Although founded in 1822, concerns regarding laying of gas pipes and their locations were argued for a number of years, delaying the first lighting of a gas streetlamp until 1829. By 1838, 28 gas lamps had been installed and 180 by the following year. By 1862, the city had over 4,300 in operation. (For more information, see Former Manufactured Gas Plants, Adam’s “The US Coal Industry in the Nineteenth Century,” and Gray’s “The Gas Supply of Boston” in the July 1898 issue of The Quarter Journal of Economics via JSTOR, all available online.).