_ash pit_

Paul Johnston paul.johnston at WMICH.EDU
Wed Jul 20 04:17:04 UTC 2011

Bits of rock-like non-combustible material left after the coal is burned?

Paul Johnston

P. S.  I *liked* the smell of the coal--to me, it was the smell of pretty little small towns in the middle of the Border hills, Christmasy even (since you had fires nearly all year, but especially in the winter).  The age of the black smog was before my time (although every Edinburgh building was still blackened from 200 years of it)--even Glasgow and Newcastle weren't that bad.  The smell of Edinburgh was the smell of the brewery--old, yeasty, stale beer.  That would knock you down if the wind was in the right direction.

On Jul 19, 2011, at 9:53 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: _ash pit_
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Tue, Jul 19, 2011 at 8:26 PM, Paul Johnston <paul.johnston at wmich.edu> wrote:
>> I know clinkers from Scotland, where, when I lived there, everyone in the countryside had a coal fire, really old-fashioned or semi-modernized.
> That's cool, Paul, but can you describe them?;-)
> OED:
> A hard mass formed by the fusion of the earthy impurities of coal,
> lime-stone, iron ore, or the like, in a furnace or forge; a mass of
> slag.
> That's a good definition, but, unless you've had the pleasure of
> having to break up the clinkers in order to get them out of the
> furnace - they act as insulation, preventing the heat from its parent
> coal from reaching the boiler, not to mention that the furnace would
> eventually be filled up by the clinkers - you can't really know what
> they are. They're kinda funny-lookin', like Steve Buscemi.
> During The War, coal was the fuel of choice in StL. In the winter, you
> would have sworn that you were in Industrial-Revolution England. The
> smog and the stench were *awful*! A local newspaper, the
> Post-Dispatch, eventually launched a successful campaign against the
> use of coal. After the late '40's, I didn't smell coal-smoke again
> till I was in the Army at Fort Leonard Wood and occasionally found
> myself downwind of a messhall.
> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint
> to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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