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Derivation:From "col" (Old English) coal
Description: Black and shiny

Coal burns well, since it is mostly made of carbon. It has been mined for a long time for this reason. The industrial revolution started in Britain when people discovered how to smelt iron efficiently, and for this you needed coal. Britain has a lot of coal and iron, although many mines are no longer in use.

There are different types of coal. Anthracite is a good quality coal which burns nearly without smoke or flame as it is nearly pure carbon. It is very shiny and hard. The photograph below shows a piece of anthracite which has been polished. Normally coal makes your hands dirty with coal dust, but this doesn't!

Larger pictures of coal:



Ordinary coal (for my neighbour's fire!)