THE history of an early example of the adoption in a major coalfield of a sliding scale which linked changes in wage-rates with variations in the selling price of coal has a more than local interest. It was no isolated innovation. In the later nineteenth century the device spread, for shorter or longer periods, to most English coalfields, to Lanarkshire, and to the anthracite mines of America. It illustrated the general desire of both owners and men for a durable agreement about wage-rates and some easy, almost mechanical, method of adapting them to changes in selling prices in an industry where wages formed a large element in costs and where price fluctuations revealed a considerable range and frequency. If a scale achieved these ends it enabled the mines to work more regularly because not only were changes in wage-rates achieved without industrial stoppage but also because coalfields could better maintain their competitive position when costs were quickly adjusted to market conditions.