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Hailian Chen

Abstract

Stemming from an examination of the zinc industry in early modern China, this article centers on a detailed survey of coal, the primary source of energy for processing zinc. On the basis of Qing archival documents, this article investigates the previously unknown spatial relationship of zinc ore deposits, coal mines, and zinc smelters; provides quantitative evidence of coal use by estimating the annual consumption of coal in processing zinc; offers a new perspective on the general use of coal in Qing China; and compares the coal-fuel efficiency problem in early European and Chinese zinc production.