Grades: K-12 Overall Rating:
Steps in making charcoal, 18th century. Before the introduction of coke, charcoal was the fuel used to smelt iron ore. It was produced by burning wood in the absence of oxygen. A worker at center carries wood in a wheelbarrow. The charcoal makers at left trace the circular areas that will be used to build woodpiles, and a pile of wood is started in the center. At right, work begins on securing the wood with pegs around the edge. Workers in the foreground place wood on the piles, and the pile at the left is covered, probably with clay, prior to being lighted. Making charcoal required enormous quantities of wood, and was in part responsible for the deforestation of some areas of Europe.