Liquid or readily liquefiable products are obtained from solid distillable carbonaceous materials such as coals, oil shales or other bituminous substances by subjecting the said initial materials to destructive hydrogenation under mild conditions so that the formation of benzine is substantially avoided, and then subjecting the treated material to extraction by solvents. By hydrogenating under mild conditions the heavy oils which prevent the asphaltic substances from being precipitated are preserved, and the separation of the liquid products from the solid residue is facilitated. Solid paraffins and high boiling point constituents suitable for the production of lubricating oils may be removed before or after the extraction process. The extraction is preferably carried out under pressure with solvents which do not precipitate asphaltic substances. Brown coal containing 11 per cent ash is passed at 450/sup 0/C, and 200 atmospheres pressure in counter current to hydrogen; 40 per cent of the coal is converted into liquid products which are condensed out of the hydrogen stream; the pasty residue, on extraction with benzene, yields 45 per cent of high molecular weight products suitable for the production of lubricating oil.