Kingsford Charcoal Briquets Invented in the Upper Peninsula

by Ronald Taggart
(Escanaba, Michigan)

The sawmill at the Ford factory in Kingsford created a mountain of sawdust.

From a Wikipedia article:

"A University of Oregon chemist, Orin Stafford, had invented a method for making pillow-shaped lumps of fuel from sawdust and mill waste combined with tar and bound together with cornstarch. He called the lumps “charcoal briquettes.

Thomas Edison designed the briquette factory adjacent to the sawmill, and Kingsford ran it. It was a model of efficiency, producing 610 lb (280 kg) of briquettes for every ton of scrap wood.

The product was sold only through Ford dealerships. Ford named the new business Ford Charcoal and dubbed the charcoal blocks “briquets”. At the beginning, the charcoal was sold to meat and fish smokehouses, but supply exceeded demand."

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