This book commences discussion at the industrial revolution and attempts to unfold the chronology of energy supply between then and the First World War. Coal features throughout the book and there is also detailed coverage of the early years of the oil industry. Political and social factors and the interplay of those with fuel demand are emphasised.
It is difficult to claim to have an in-depth knowledge of a subject if such knowledge is restricted to the present and the recent past. Information and insights on a particular topic from the past can, in a well informed mind, be reprocessed and contribute to the topic in the present and, even more importantly, in the future. This is saying no more than Lewis Carroll’s maxim:
‘It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards’
This monograph of a little under 8000 words is an attempt to outline fuel supply from the late eighteenth century, when steam power was first becoming prevalent, up to immediately before the First World War. The treatment is quantitative, there being a number of calculations relevant to fuel performance. Prices are brought up to date by use of a recognised index accessible on the Web. The importance of the availability of crude oil from circa 1860 onwards is brought out, and growth in the oil industry over the next several decades analysed. Social and political themes feature centrally.
The text is structured as a monograph having sections instead of chapters. It is directed primarily at those with professional involvement in energy supply. Those seeking to understand the role of energy supply in world affairs – more important now than it ever was – might also benefit from the text. I shall welcome comments from readers.
Aberdeen, April 2010.