Flame, Furnace, Fuel: Creating Kansas City in the Nineteenth Century

Twyla Dell (2009)

Though this work is a fuel and energy history of Kansas City from 1820 to 1920, it also provides a tool to describe and analyze fuel and energy transitions. The four parts follow the rise and fall of wood, coal and oil as their use grows to a peak and, in the case of wood, declines. The founding and growth of Kansas City as an "instant city" that grew from zero population to over three hundred twenty thousand in a hundred years embodies the increased use of fuel and energy in an urban setting and serves as a case study. This work differentiates between these two elements throughout the one-hundred-year history to offer a clarification in terminology and theory. The narrative begins in the Wood Age, continues to the peak of the Coal Age and introduces the Oil Age as it was to 1920.

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