Hello All, One of my collateral ancestors was a George BYRNE, born about 1876 and living in Dublin. His occupation in the 1901 census was "coal factor." This is the most complete definition I've found for that term. "The Business of a Coal Factor is to sell by Commission to the Coal Merchant Coal consigned to him by his Employers at the Place of Shipment. Any Person may however sell his own Coal without the Intervention of a Coal Factor." from Journal of the House of Lords: volume 62 - 1830. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=16568&strquery=%22coal+factor%22 I don't understand what that means. Does it mean "The employers at the place of shipment, for example at the docks, consign coal to the factor, who sells it to the coal merchant"? That is, is the coal factor the middle man between the shipment person who possesses the coal and the merchant who sells the coal to the public? But who pays the commission -- the shipment person pays the coal factor, or the merchant pays the coal factor, or some other arrangement???? If not, what do you think it means? PJ, in Texas
The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) gives for "factor" in a commercial sense the following: "One who buys and sells for another person; a mercantile agent; a commission merchant." For "coal factor" the OED has: "An agent between parties in the trade of coal; spec. (in London) an officially recognized agent who buys coal from owners or shippers and sells it on to wholesalers or retailers." There is a description of the London trade in William J. Hausman, "A Model of the London Coal Trade in the Eighteenth Century" (1980) 94 (1) 'The Quarterly Journal of Economics" pp. 1-14 at 1-2: "The transition from wood to coal as a source of energy for London's households and manufacturers was virtually complete by the beginning of the eighteenth century. Since there were no coal fields in the immediate vicinity, a vigorous coastal trade had developed between London and the area surrounding Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the earliest and most productive coal-producing region of the nation. "Distribution of the product from the mine owner to the final consumer was effected through a sophisticated organization with detailed specialization of function. The Newcastle mine owners operated through factors, known as "fitters," who acted as agents of the owners, and who sold coal to the ship masters. At London the ship masters sold to a group of coal factors known as "crimps," "lightermen," or "coal buyers," who then distributed the coal to other wholesalers, retailers, or large consumers. The trade was characterized by a high level of economic concentration among Newcastle producers and London middlemen, and various alliances and cartels were organized during the course of the century." Hope this helps. On 19/12/2013, [email protected] <[email protected]> wrote: > living in Dublin. His occupation in the 1901 census was "coal factor." > That is, is the coal factor the middle man between the shipment person who > possesses the coal and the merchant who sells the coal to the public? > > But who pays the commission -- the shipment person pays the coal factor, > or the merchant pays the coal factor, or some other arrangement????