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Book Cover
Author Thorsheim, Peter, author

Title Inventing pollution : coal, smoke, and culture in Britain since 1800 / Peter Thorsheim
Published Athens, Ohio : Ohio University Press, [2006]
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Description 1 online resource (xii, 307 pages) : illustrations
Series Ohio University Press series in ecology and history
Ohio University Press series in ecology and history.
Contents Coal, smoke, and history -- The miasma era -- Pollution redefined -- The balance of nature -- Pollution and civilization -- Degeneration and eugenics -- Environmental activism -- Regulating pollution -- Pollution displacement -- Death comes from the air -- Smokeless zones -- Reinventing pollution
Summary Annotation Britain's supremacy in the nineteenth century depended in large part on its vast deposits of coal. This coal not only powered steam engines in factories, ships, and railway locomotives but also warmed homes and cooked food. As coal consumption skyrocketed, the air in Britain's cities and towns became filled with ever-greater and denser clouds of smoke. In this far-reaching study, Peter Thorsheim explains that, for much of the nineteenth century, few people in Britain even considered coal smoke to be pollution. To them, pollution meant miasma: invisible gases generated by decomposing plant and animal matter. Far from viewing coal smoke as pollution, most people considered smoke to be a valuable disinfectant, for its carbon and sulfur were thought capable of rendering miasma harmless. Inventing Pollution examines the radically new understanding of pollution that emerged in the late nineteenth century, one that centered not on organic decay but on coal combustion. This change, as Peter Thorsheim argues, gave birth to the smoke-abatement movement and to new ways of thinking about the relationships among humanity, technology, and the environment
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 257-291) and index
Notes Master and use copy. Digital master created according to Benchmark for Faithful Digital Reproductions of Monographs and Serials, Version 1. Digital Library Federation, December 2002. MiAaHDL
digitized 2010 HathiTrust Digital Library committed to preserve pda MiAaHDL
Print version record
Subject Air -- Pollution -- Social aspects -- Great Britain -- History.
Air -- Pollution -- Great Britain -- History.
Coal -- Combustion -- Health aspects -- Great Britain -- History.
Environmentalism -- Great Britain -- History.
Smoke prevention -- Great Britain -- History.
Genre/Form History.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 0821442104 (electronic bk.)
9780821442104 (electronic bk.)