The Coal Industry and the Economy in Early Modern Britain
This chapter discusses the impact of the coal industry on the economy of early modern Britain. Cheap coal was beneficial to Britain's industrial development, and well before the 18th century it had become the leading industrial fuel. With the notable exception of iron-making, coal was being burnt by all the major industries in which the provision of heat was a significant part of the production process, and it was virtually the sole fuel of the leading energy consumers. The substantial benefits which accrued to the swelling ranks of manufacturers and processors who could abandon expensive wood or charcoal stimulated innovation and improved competitiveness, thereby encouraging the emergence of Britain as a ‘mineral fuel economy’ in advance of any other nation.
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