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King Coal’s Sculptor (Mar, 1950)

King Coal’s Sculptor

By H. W. Kellick

A dirty hunk of coal is the last place where you’d look for beauty. But every day Charles Cunningham of Summit Hill, Pennsylvania, conjures beautiful animals, art objects or busts of famous people out of ugly lumps of anthracite.

To work this black magic, Cunningham goes down into the mine himself to pick out his own pieces of coal. Back in his home shop, he splits a big hunk with hammer and chisel to the size he wants for his new creation. Then he carefully chips and carves this piece into shape. Just how he gets the mirror-like surface that marks his masterpieces, though, is one magic rite he won’t reveal.

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