Night had already come into the pottery districts in the eighteenth century through the use of cheap salt glazes; now it closed in everywhere, in Sheffield and Birmingham, in Pittsburgh and Lille. In this new environment black clothes were only a protective coloration, not a form of mourning; the black stovepipe hat was almost a functional design. The oil and smudge of soft coal spat everywhere; even those who washed their hands left a rim of undissolved grease around the side of the washbowl. Add to these constant smudges on flesh and clothing the finely divided particles of iron from the grinding and sharpening operations, the unused chlorine from the soda works, the clouds of acrid dust from the cement plant, the various by-products of other chemical industries: these things smarted the eyes, rasped the throat and lungs, lowered the general tone, even when they did not produce on contact any definite disease. As for the reek of coal itself, it is perhaps not a disagreeable one: man with his long savage past has become fond of musty odors: so perhaps its chief misdemeanor was that it supplanted, and made people insensitive to, other smells. (Mumford 1938:192)
MUMFORD, Lewis. 1938. The Culture of Cities. San Diego: Harvest/HBJ.