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Beehive Coke Kiln

Montana, 1999.

Built to supply the smelter at Argenta with charcoal coke because there was not a coal supply nearby.

The kiln¬†was filled with cordwood from a door on the creek level as high as they could stack it, then topped off by passing logs through the window, completely filling the structure. It took about 15 days per cycle to produce charcoal, through a very complex process. Throughout the area, pits were also dug near the timber supply, to serve the same purpose. The pit was filled with logs, a fire started and allowed to burn for a time, then covered over with soil, allowing the logs to smolder, creating charcoal. Pits were not efficient as kilns because the air couldn’t be controlled as accurately, affecting the quality of the finished product.

© Bill Carroll 2017