Fuel Prices in 1856
Mark Thoma is reading about the energy crisis of 1856 in Paris:
Economist's View: Fuel Prices in 1856, What You Don't Know, and Washington's Corset: A few tidbits from Scientific American: I wonder if there were worries about peak wood and peak coal during the energy crisis in '56:
FEBRUARY 1856 FUEL PRICES--"The fuel required to cook a dinner in Paris costs nearly as much as the dinner itself. Fuel is very scarce, and the American is surprised to find shops all over the city, fitted up with shelves like those in shoe stores, upon which is stored wood, split in pieces about the size of a man%u2019s finger, and done up in bundles, like asparagus. Larger sticks are bundled up in the same way, and sell at a frightful price. Hard coal being nearly as expensive as wood, can be bought in the smallest quantity at any of these fuel shops."
As to worries about "peak coal," yes, definitely:
William Stanley Jevons, Biography: The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics: Library of Economics and Liberty : [William Stanley] Jevons... became famous in Britain for his  book The Coal Question: [An Inquiry Concerning the Progress of the Nation, and the Probable Exhaustion of Our Coal-Mines (London: MacMillan)]. In it he wrote that Britain's industrial vitality depended on coal and, therefore, would decline as that resource was exhausted. As coal reserves ran out, he wrote, the price of coal would rise. This would make it feasible for producers to extract coal from poorer or deeper seams. He also argued that America would rise to become an industrial superpower. Although his forecast was right for both Britain and America, and he was right about the incentive to mine more costly seams, he was almost surely wrong that the main factor was the cost of coal. Jevons failed to appreciate the fact that as the price of an energy source rises, entrepreneurs have a strong incentive to invent, develop, and produce alternate sources. In particular, he did not anticipate oil or natural gas. Also, he did not take account of the incentive, as the price of coal rose, to use it more efficiently