Charcoal – today the first mental linkage the word “charcoal” is the usage to cook or grill food. In fact, the variety of use types is immense and the field of use ranges from heating fuel, cooking fuel, metallurgical fuel, cosmetic, art and medicine. More than 30000 years ago the mankind started to produce and use charcoal for heating and cooking because it burns hotter (up to 2700°C), less smoky and is keeping the heat for a longer duration than normal not pretreated wood. One side effect is the possibility to do drawings with the charcoal which was used by the cavemen to create the wall drawings. The advantage of the higher temperature was used to melt copper ores, zinc ores and tin ores to manufacture bronze about 6000 years ago. Hence the charcoal was one key factor which herald the bronze age.
Approximately 3500 years ago the first Egypts used charcoal for medical purposes to absorb odorous substances of the wounds and the intestinal tract (Satz teilweise von Homepage) which was to be regarded as a new and helpful field of use and as big step in the progress of medical research and treatment.
Another purpose of charcoal in combination with saltpeter and Sulphur results in a reactive powder which explodes immediately and was invented by a Chinese alchemist in the 9th century. This made an easier and faster mining possible, but a side effect was the usage for guns which casted a dark shadow on the charcoal.
The peak of charcoal production was before and during the industrialization in England and other countries in which the charcoal was used as metallurgical fuel for the iron production. This happened in the 18th century
Then around 4000 BC came a monumental discovery, probably by accident, when a piece of ore fell into a charcoal fire and began to ooze metal.