The Making of Coke

To begin making coke a worker would loosely brick up the door of the coke oven. After this, the charging car, or larry as it is sometimes called, is brought in. This car ran on top of the ovens on narrow railroad tracks. Washed coal is dumped into the charging hole on top of the oven. The coal would then be leveled inside the oven.

After leveling the coal, the door is bricked up and sealed to exclude air. Only a small portion of the door will be left open to control the air flow.

The heat from the hot oven will cause the coal to begin smoking. Eventually the coal will burst into flame with a small puff or light explosion. At this point the door will be shut completely to prevent the coke from burning up too quickly. A charge usually burned for about 48 to 72 hrs.

If an oven door is opened too quickly, the air will cause the coke to be burned up immediately. For this reason, the coke must be quenched with water before it is removed from the oven. Watering an oven took from ¾ to 1 hour to complete.

After the coke has been quenched the “puller” will remove the door and break the coke up as he pulls it out of the oven. The coke will then be loaded onto railroad cars. The railroad tracks for these cars were located in front of the ovens, where this ramp is located.