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Coal Gas Manufacturing Plant

Coal gas plants were common sites from the mid 1800's all the way up to the 1950's before being replaced by natural gas (a by product of oil refineries) for heating and electricity for lighting. Coal gas was used for street lamps and gas lights in buildings and eventually home heating and cooking. At one time more than 50,000 gas plants operated in the US.  


In order to fully model a coal gas plant the following structures would be needed:

  • An incoming area with pits where rail cars would dump their loads of coal. Augers, conveyors and cranes were used to move the coal to the retort ovens.
  • A retort building where coal is heated and turned into gas. The building is usually recognized with a large smokestack.
  • A process building where the gas is cooled and cleaned and filtered so it can be turned into a useful product. A lot of hazardous waste product was generated here.
  • Various outdoor tanks and piping mostly used as precipitators which removed coal tar from the gas before routing it to the gasholder.
  • A storage tank commonly called the Gasholder or Gasometer. Most gasholders were recognized by the external superstructure surrounding the tank. Most tanks were telescopic in nature rising as they filled with gas and dropping as the gas was released. The external superstructure acted as a guide-way for the tank as it raised and lowered.

Model Structures has designed a coal gas manufacturing facility that contains the process building, precipitation tanks and one gasholder. The process building starts out as the MTH 30-90105 Public Works building. It is dismantled and repainted. A lighted interior is added that consists of structures necessary for cleaning and filtering the gas. Door lamps are also included. External precipitation tanks are added along side the building. Then the most recognized structure - the gasholder is added. The listed price is the total cost for all structures. Extra gas holders can be ordered separately.  

Coal Gas Manufacturing Plant Gas Holder

Coal gas plants were common sites from the mid 1800's all the way up to the 1950's before being replaced by natural gas (a by product of oil refineries) for heating and electricity for lighting. Coal gas was used for street lamps and gas lights in buildings and eventually home heating and cooking. At one time more than 50,000 gas plants operated in the US. The signature structure was the gas holder or gasometer that stored the manufactured gas for distribution. This structure was a telescoping style tank usually built in three sections. The external support structure was meant for stability plus acted as a guide for the tank sections as they were raised.

The customer has the option for a tank structure at full height or half raised. Contact us and let us know your preference. Price is for one tank only.

Gas Station Gas Pump Island

This gas pump island is the perfect complement to place next to your gas  station to add more action and reality to the scene. The pump island measures approximately 8 in. x 6 in. x 6 in(h). The island shown is decorated for Shell. Non-decorated pump islands are painted white. The gas pump island is sold bare without any pumps which must be separately  supplied. The purchase price does included appropriate paint scheme and  lettering. 

Construction Site

This is an O scale version of Walthers HO Scale Cornerstone Construction Site. The construction site is a 3-story structure with a 2-story  annex. There is a partial cement floor on the second level of the 3-story section. Construction ladders and a stairway are included.  light bar with three 12-16 volt lamps for night work is included. Foot  print for the basic structure is 20 x 7 x 9.5 (h). The design for the building can be modified to suit your layout's needs. Just contact us with your specifications and we will be happy to send a quote. A perfect companion structure for the construction site is the Portable Office  (see the Service Sheds web page in the Plastic Structures section)