In modern times, coal is a very well-known thing. There are two kinds of coal, such as char-coal and mineral coal. Char-coal is obtained from burnt wood. We get char-coal when we burn wood.
In the summer season, sometimes, forests happen to catch fire and we get a lot of char-coal. Char-coal is very soft. Its fire is soft too. Generally, goldsmiths use char-coal to melt gold and silver. The second kind of coal is obtained from mines. It is called mineral coal. It is very hard. It is as hard as stone.
The first use of mineral coal:
In 18th century, England suffered from scarcity of wood. Some English men searched for new kind of fuel. A blacksmith named Abraham Darley was the first man to use coal in this smithy as fuel to melt his iron. The strong heat of mineral coal resulted in producing plenty of iron. Then the use of mineral coal spread over England and then, over the whole of Europe. The weight of coals is greater than the weight of iron. Therefore huge factories of iron and steel were set up very close to the coal-mines.
Usefulness of mineral coal:
Now-a-days, mineral coal is put to various uses. Steam power is necessary to propel Railway trains, Steam-ships and Steamers. This steam-power is produced from water boiled by mineral coal. Electricity is produced from coal by planting thermal stations near coal mines.
Synthetic petrol is produced from mineral, coal through a kind of chemical process. Now-a-days pitch is used very much in road construction. Pitch is also obtained from mineral coal. Coal-tar is smeared on wooden articles to save them from the ravage of white ants. Coal-tar is also obtained from mineral. Many kinds of dye, many kinds of scent, many kinds of medicine, a kind of fertilizer called Ammonia Sulphate, camphor, artificial musk, phenyl, vaseline, carbolic acid, saccharine and plastic are also made from coal. So, coal is full of value. Therefore coal is proverbially called, Black Diamond.
There are many coal mines all over the world. In India there are some famous coal mines at Raniganj in Bengal, at Jhari in Bihar and at Talcher in Orissa. It is hoped, India will march along her path of progress by exploiting her coal mines and by making the best use of her coal.