What is black coal? What is it made of and where does it come from? What are its advantages and why? What was it used for and why not? In the 19th century, questions such as these increasingly came to the attention of scientists and miners. They were triggered by the rising economic value of hard coal, the increasing necessity of a secure supply, but also by the widespread use of hard coal. Nevertheless, little is known about how contemporaries in the age of industrialization viewed the materiality of this raw material. Using the example of three small areas of the German black coal mining industry, this book takes a look behind the scenes of industrialization and makes black coal, one of its most important raw materials, an actor in history.