Peter Thorsheim is an assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Inventing Pollution

Coal, Smoke, and Culture in Britain since 1800

By Peter Thorsheim

Britain's supremacy in the nineteenth century depended in large part on its vast deposits of coal. This coal not only powered steam engines in factories, ships, and railway locomotives but also warmed homes and cooked food. As coal consumption skyrocketed, the air in Britain's cities and towns became filled with ever-greater and denser clouds of smoke.

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