Far be it from us to suggest that Coal, indirectly, was responsible for the Stock Market crash of 1929, and the subsequent Great Depression, but: Big Oil, back then, was an arguably even more influential international economic force than he is today, and he darned-well might have taken a faint when he saw this.
 
With comment appended, some excerpts from the link to, and attached file of:
 
"United States Patent 1,723,431 - Obtaining Liquid Products from Coal
 
Date: August, 1929
 
Inventor: Michael Melamid, Germany
 
Abstract: This invention has reference to a process of obtaining liquid products from coal ... . and it is particularly distinguished from prior processes of this kind by it's simplicity and ease of operation.
 
(In addition to, or instead of, Hydrogen, the process) may also be carried out by means of steam, methane or other vapors.
 
Claims: The process of obtaining liquid products from (a) mixture of coal, hydrogen and tin."
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Now, back then, Tin was pretty cheap. Even now it's not hard to get, if we do want to use it as a catalyst.
 
And, in Germany, they would have known that Methane - which could, according to the Disclosure, serve instead of Hydrogen as the hydrogenating gas in this Coal conversion process - could be obtained by either  the Steam gasification of Coal, or, by the 1912 Nobel-winning Sabatier conversion of Carbon Dioxide.

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