An Investigation into the Nature of Black Phthisis

An Investigation into the Nature of Black Phthisis
or Ulceration Induced by Carbonaceous Accumulation in the Lungs of Coal Miners

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An Investigation into the Nature of Black Phthisis by Archibald Makellar

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1846

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An Investigation into the Nature of Black Phthisis
or Ulceration Induced by Carbonaceous Accumulation in the Lungs of Coal Miners

By

3
(1 Review)

Book Excerpt

ensive coal level was carried through their coal field, where a great number of young, vigorous men were employed at stone-mining, or blasting, as it is called, every one of whom died before reaching the age of thirty-five years. They used gunpowder in considerable quantity:--and all expectorated carbon.

It was long a very general belief with medical writers, that the various forms of discoloration in the pulmonary tissue was induced by some peculiar change taking place in the economy or function of secretion, independently of any direct influence from without. They were, therefore, usually supposed to belong to the class of melanotic formations, from presenting, as their distinguishing feature, a greater or less degree of blackness. But, by recent investigations, it has been proved, that the infiltrated carbon found in the bodies of coal miners is not the result of any original disease, or change taking place within the system,[4] but is carbon, which has been conveyed into the minute pulmonary ramifi

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In the mid-1800s, many coal miners suffered from a disease known as 'Black Phthisis' or Coal Miner's Lung. For many years no one knew what caused this debilitating disease that cut short the life of so many men.

Then, along came Archibald Makellar, an amateur scientist and inventor. Mr. Makellar discovered, through a series of elegant experiments, that Black Phthisis (Coal Miner's Lung) was caused by coal miners working in coal mines and breathing coal dust into their lungs!

Due to the dedicated work of Archibald Makellar, 125 short years later coal miners were given masks to wear to prevent Black Phthisis.

FYI: The word 'Phthisis' comes from the sound coal miners made when coughing up coal dust.