Definitions

Coal oil

Coal oil

Coal oil is a specific oil shale oil used for illuminating purposes. It is sometimes confused with kerosene or lamp oil, but coal oil was obtained from the destructive distillation of cannel coal, mineral wax, and bituminous shale, and hence called coal oil. A special type of coal known as cannel coal (classified also as terrestrial type of oil shale) is required to produce it.

Coal oil was first produced in 1850 by James Young on the Union Canal in Scotland. He was the first to patent the process of distilling this cannel coal into kerosene. This industry thrived in Scotland creating much wealth for James Young.

It consists mainly of several hydrocarbons of the alkane series, having from 10 to 16 carbon atoms in each molecule, and having a higher boiling point (175–325°C) than gasoline or the petroleum ethers, and a lower boiling point than the oils.

Home remedy

Coal oil, was once used as an internal and topical home remedy as a general cure-all for myriad ailments, including coughs, flu, cuts, abrasions, and wounds. Internal applications were administered by adding this decidedly toxic petroleum product to sugar cubes, molasses, honey or some other substance to mask the taste, while topical applications were applied adding to bandages or by pouring the coal oil directly on the affected area.

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