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As a subterranean, highly elastic energy source, coal played a vital role in the cotton industry revolution. Coal was also vital to Lancashire’s primacy in this revolution, because it was necessary both to the original accumulation of agglomeration economies before the steam age and to their reinforcement during the steam age. In no other part of the world was the cotton industry situated on a coalfield, and the response of other parts of the world cotton industry to Lancashire’s agglomeration advantages was dispersal in search of cheap water and/or labour power. Lancashire coal helped to shape the global pattern of cotton production.