Collier

From Academic Kids

A collier was a bulk cargo ship that carried coal. They were used both to transport coal between ports but also to refuel coal burning ships.


A collier is also an occupational title for people who carried and sold coal. In the Middle Ages colliery was a common profession. Colliery is still an important profession today in the north England counties of Northumberland and Tyne and Wear.

In colonial United States, a collier was a person who manufactured charcoal, used for gunpowder and smelting metal ores. It was a difficult and dangerous occupation, as a controlled burn had to be made of a large stack of wood with a limited oxygen supply. This led to a danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. An improvised kiln was made of clay and wet leaves over the stack of wood. If fire broke through any part, it had to be quickly extinguished with more clay packing, and colliers at times fell into the fire in the attempt. Each burn would take a week or more, and had to be watched 24 hours a day.

The profession is mentioned in the opening scene of Romeo and Juliet, as the two servants Gregory and Sampson joke about that they shall not carry coal, or else they shall be colliers.

Although its practitioners are referred to as chard coal berners rather than colliers, this profession is central to Russell Hoban's novel Riddley Walker.


Collier Row, a place in the London Borough of Havering.

Colliers Wood is an area in the London Borough of Merton.

Collier's Weekly was a U.S. magazine published between 1888 and 1957.

Collier's Encyclopedia is a U.S. encyclopedia.

The Collier Trophy is the highest honor in American aviation.

People named Collier:

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