Henry Clay Frick and the Golden Age of Coal and Coke, 1870–1920


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About the Book

Once the beehive coke oven was perfected in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, the coal and coke industry began to flourish and supply other fledgling industries with the fuel they needed to succeed. The thrust of this growth came from Henry Clay Frick, who opened his first coal mines in the Morgan Valley of Fayette County in 1871. There, he helped lead the industry, making it the major developmental force in industrial America. This book traces the birth and growth of the early coal and coke industry from 1870 to 1920, primarily in Fayette and Westmoreland Counties. Beyond Frick’s importance to the industry, other major topics covered in this history include the lives and struggles of the miners and immigrants who worked in the industry, the growth of unions and the many strikes in the region, and the attempts to clean the surrounding waterways from the horrific pollution that resulted from industrial development. Perhaps the most significant fact is that this book uses primary sources contemporary with the golden age of the coal and coke industry. That effort offers an alternative view and helps repair the common portrayal of Frick as corrupt by showing his work as that of an industrial genius.

About the Author(s)

The late Cassandra Vivian, a writer, photographer, historian, and world traveler, was the author of several books, including a definitive guide to the vast western desert of Egypt. She earned awards from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and Pennsylvania Humanities and the Arts.

Bibliographic Details

Cassandra Vivian

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 230
Bibliographic Info: 32 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8155-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3980-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Introductory Notes vii
Preface 1
Introduction 5
One. Coal and Coke 9
Two. Henry Clay Frick 19
Three. The Workers and Their World 41
Four. Strikes from 1875 to 1886 63
Five. Strikes from 1887 to 1889 89
Six. Strike of 1891 102
Seven. Strike of 1894 121
Eight. Cleanup 132
Appendix: The Mines 141
Chapter Notes 179
Bibliography 197
Index 213