The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Tribune (Detroit, MI), 11 Apr, 1876

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SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION. - A list of 196 disasters to sea-going vessels from fire in coal-bunkers, or in cargoes of bituminous coal, has been published as occurring between October, 1869 and December, 1875. All of the vessels were damaged, and many of them destroyed. Appended to the list was a record from Lloyd's of sixty-five sailing vessels and four steamers, loaded with coal, which were reported "missing," between July 1st, 1873 and February 1st, 1876. Although the manner in which bituminous coal stored in vessel becomes ignited is still a subject of discussion, it seem to have been demonstrated that combustion may be set up in heaps of some kinds of bituminous coal by chemical action, and that the cause of such combustion, whatever it may be, is at present beyond man's control. It was asserted some time ago that "spontaneous combustion" took place only in certain English coals dug from mines of great depth. The list shows that almost every vessel burned or missing was loaded with English coals - not more than half a dozen of the vessels sailing from American ports.

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11 Apr, 1876
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Dave Swayze
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Detroit Tribune (Detroit, MI), 11 Apr, 1876