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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, December 1, 1930

The Briquetting Plant of the Pacific Coast Coal Company, located near the south shore of Lake Washington. This plant has been in continuous operations for approximately seventeen years. The Diamond and Junior Briquet they are now manufacturing come near being a perfect fuel. “Quick firing, coking, and with real staying qualities.” That’s about all you can ask of any fuel.

The Briquetting Plant of the Pacific Coast Coal Company, located near the south shore of Lake Washington. This plant has been in continuous operations for approximately seventeen years. The Diamond and Junior Briquet they are now manufacturing come near being a perfect fuel. “Quick firing, coking, and with real staying qualities.” That’s about all you can ask of any fuel.

With these long winter nights coming on it might be timely to talk a little about briquets. There is nothing like a cheery grate fire to complete a Yuletide picture. And if there is a more appropriate fuel for the fireplace it has failed to cross our line of vision.

Possibly we should reminisce a little. Briquets, or bricked fuel, are less than one hundred years old. A Frenchman by the name of Marsais experimented with a binder along in the early part of the previous century and in 1832 applied for a patent.

The first briquets were not a commercial success, however, due to the fact that they failed to withstand the necessary handling and deteriorated rapidly when exposed to the elements. Naturally this was attributed to the binder. He felt reasonably sure that he had something and continued his experimenting for another ten years. Continue Reading »

Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, June 1, 1930

At ease. Part of the Briquet Plant staff and crew. The Briquet Plant has operated its entire life without a fatal accident and for the last six years with but one small time-loss accident. Try to tie that one.

At ease. Part of the Briquet Plant staff and crew. The Briquet Plant has operated its entire life without a fatal accident and for the last six years with but one small time-loss accident. Try to tie that one.

We at the Briquet Plant have been faithful contributors and “subscribers” to this periodical for almost six years. We read everything printed therein including the jokes and the list of supervisors on the Honor Roll who show 100 percent freedom from accidents.

“We’re disgusted,” sometimes, at the jokes, but mostly from the fact that no Briquet Plant supervisor’s name has never appeared on this Honor Roll. Did you know that there never has been a fatal accident at this plant and that the last serious accident happened in 1925—six years ago? Continue Reading »

Bricked fuel

Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, March 1, 1929

Located on the shore of Lake Washington, about one mile from the City of Renton. This plant has been in continuous operation for fifteen years and today turns out the finest briquette ever made since the wheel started turning.

Located on the shore of Lake Washington, about one mile from the City of Renton. This plant has been in continuous operation for fifteen years and today turns out the finest briquette ever made since the wheel started turning.

Long before the amorous Cleo and Mark went barging up and down the Nile, the Egyptians were molding bricks along its sandy banks. Historians do not all agree that these were the first bricks. Some pass the laurel to the Persian. It really doesn’t matter much. There seems to be no dispute, however, as to what race threw the first bricks. Absolutely unanimous.

While Greek and Roman modeled their heroes with wet clay, the Hibernian plastered his with dry. To the Greek—art. To the Irish—confetti. The impulse to sock has never been entirely suppressed.

There followed, however, a period of restraint. Generations of Irish were implored to “Lay That Down.” From this noble effort to restrain, if you please, sprang the greatest race of bricklayers the world has ever known. I trust I may be pardoned for taking this tangent. The matter is very near to my heart. A brickyard may be a thriving Industry to some nationalities, but to the Irish it will always be an Arsenal.

But to proceed. From this humble start on the banks of the mighty Nile, within sound of the strum of Cleo’s lyre, came the sire of a famous fuel.

To the French goes the distinction of inventing and providing a name for bricked fuel. For the brick block used for building purposes they already had a name—brique. Continue Reading »

Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, November 6, 2007

By Bill Kombol

The Royal Court of 1947.

The Royal Court of 1947.

BLACK DIAMOND’S 1947 Labor Day Queen and Princesses: left to right – Princess Betty (Johnson) Blakeney; Queen Bernice (Gibson) Kochevar; and Princess Joyce (Dearden) Gripp (maiden names in parenthesis).

Black Diamond has long had a tradition of young ladies competing for the crown of Labor Day Queen and princesses.

The first big year was 1947 when Labor Day replaced the earlier celebration in the month of July. Continue Reading »

Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, August 1914

Pacific Coast Coal Co. Logo 1922Labor and capital are, and always will be, partners. Anything that tends to create differences and dissensions between these partners is against the best interests of both. Capital can do nothing without labor. Labor can do little or nothing without capital. If capital were abolished or confiscated, the human race would soon lapse into a primitive state of savagery or semi-savagery.

Just think of it—were it not for the assistance and cooperation of capital, what would labor alone have accomplished in the progress of the world If there was no opportunity to save and accumulate, what incentive would there be for man to strive? We would soon become a race of shiftless, good-for-nothing drones. Continue Reading »

Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, September 16, 1981

eltz_1981Archie Eltz, who was honored at the town’s recent Labor Day Parade, is shown here at work as Black Diamond’s Superintendent of Utilities.

Eltz worked for Palmer Coking Coal Co. from 1935 to 1972, when he began his current occupation with the city. Eltz is described by Mayor Bainton as a “jack of all trades and a master of many.” She said Eltz is willing to help make life easier for others.

Eltz says this is the last year of work, hoping to quit in March when the sewer project is completed.

Asked how he felt about the award, Eltz, who was not present when it was first announced, said, “I’m pleased. It doesn’t feel any different than another day, though.”

For more on Eltz, go to “Archie Eltz: Reminisces about the past,” BDHS newsletter, January 2008

Originally published in the Valley Daily News, August [day unknown], 1990

By Lyle Price

Clayton Mead, right, holds up a piece of coal to show Bill Van Nurden, left. (Valley Daily News photo by Marcus R. Donner)

Clayton Mead, right, holds up a piece of coal to show Bill Van Nurden, left. (Valley Daily News photo by Marcus R. Donner)

BLACK DIAMOND — When the Eagles struck coal the other day, it brought back memories to town historian Carl Steiert.

It also hit close to home because the strike occurred right across the street from the Black Diamond Museum, where Steiert and his wife, Ann, are curators.

Memories, however, are about all the coal find is worth, the historian says. The black gold is part of old Big Dirty, a vein that isn’t pure enough for commercial mining.

“It’s a 60-foot-wide seam that has never been mined, because the quality isn’t as good as other coal in the area,” Steiert said. “I’m not very excited about it, but it’s interesting because it’s part of our history.” Continue Reading »

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