Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Sims, Clarence A.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Physics


Bituminous coal; Coal trade--United States


The history of coal is part and parcel of the very earth man walks upon, for the formation of coal is part and parcel of the formation of the planet Itself. Coal has long been a source of power for industry, a source of heat for homes, and a constant supplier of by-products. These by-products range from fertilizers to perfumes and from soap to dyestuffs. The coal industry of the United States, from its meager beginning on the banks of the James River in 1750 until the present, has supplied the people of the United States and the world with coal for these purposes. Now, despite the vital role played by the coal industry in our economy, it has become an industry shrouded in doubt and controversy. There are many prognostications as to the future of the coal industry, some glow with optimism and some are clouded with despair. The object of this study was to analyze and evaluate the coal industry, past and present, to determine what the future holds for the coal industry. In order to determine the future of the coal industry, data concerning the industry was gathered. This data consisted of statistics pertaining to the industry itself and its two largest competitors, gas and oil. Once the data was gathered it was grouped into two sets for the purposes of analysis. One group consisted of data pertaining to indicators within the industry. The second set consisted of data concerning coal's customers. This data was then subjected to analysis by least square trend method as a means of forecasting. The computations for the least square trend method were accomplished by means of the 1620 computer. After the individual data groups had been processed, the resulting computations were plotted on graphs and presented. Each graph was discussed individually with reference to how it influenced the entire industry. In addition, eight of these indicators were correlated with Gross National Product and National Income in an attempt to determine any correlations for future forecasts. These also were presented in graphic form and individually discussed. The conclusions of this study are a synthesis of the trended material in reference to the total coal industry. The conclusions are that; the coal industry is not in a period of growth but is declining at a rather rapid pace; although the coal industry is increasing its tonnage to a few selected customers, this increase is not enough to offset the downward trend of the industry; the coal industry will remain a prime source of power to the electrical industry; the coal industry is fast losing the business from manufacturing other than electrical, cement, and coke due to the competition from gas and oil.


Includes bibliographical references (leaf 81)


ix, 81 pages




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