So would have read the headlines in 1808 when on Feb. 11, 1808 Jesse Fell in Wilkes-Barre, PA discovers that Anthracite coal burns. In an open air grate his 'discovery' led to the widespread use of coal as a fuel. The Industrial revolution began in part by this discovery.
On Feb. 11, 1858, fifty years after the discovery, a group of folks met at the Old Tavern in Wilkes-Barre to celebrate the anniversary of the successful burning of anthracite coal. This ceremony suggested the founding of a historical society.
Some background information reveals Jesse Fell didn't just happen on this knowledge. He'd actually been experimenting with coal for home heating for many years. He owned a nail factory and had used anthracite there but it produced brittle nails so he discontinued it's use in the factory and began experiments for home heating. This was during the 1780's. The key to his success with the coal was the open grate allowing the coal to have minimum draft and a steady flow of air.
It is said that the historical society has this original grate today.