A coal scuttle, sometimes spelled ''coalscuttle'' and also called a ''hod'', "coal bucket", or "coal pail", is a
bucket A bucket is typically a watertight, vertical cylinder or truncated cone or square, with an open top and a flat bottom, attached to a semicircular carrying handle called the ''bail''. A bucket is usually an open-top container. In contrast, a pail ...
container box. File:Railroad car with container loads.jpg, A spine car with a 20 ft intermodal shipping container with canvas cover. A container is any receptacle or enclosure for holding a product used in storage, packaging">intermodal container">inter ...
for holding a small, intermediate supply of
coal Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock, formed as rock strata called coal seams. Coal is mostly carbon with variable amounts of other elements; chiefly hydrogen, sulfur, oxygen, and nitrogen. Coal is formed when dead p ...

convenient to an indoor coal-fired stove or heater.


Coal scuttles are usually made of metal and shaped as a vertical
cylinder A cylinder (from Greek κύλινδρος – ''kulindros'', "roller", "tumbler") has traditionally been a three-dimensional solid, one of the most basic of curvilinear geometric shapes. It is the idealized version of a solid physical tin can havi ...
or truncated
cone A cone is a three-dimensional geometric shape that tapers smoothly from a flat base (frequently, though not necessarily, circular) to a point called the apex or vertex. A cone is formed by a set of line segments, half-lines, or lines connecti ...
, with the open top slanted for pouring coal on a fire. It may have one or two handles. Homes that do not use coal sometimes use a coal scuttle decoratively.


The word ''scuttle'' comes, via Middle English and Old English, from the Latin word ''Scutula'', meaning a shallow pan. An alternative name, ''hod'', derives from the Old French ''hotte,'' meaning "basket," and is also used in reference to boxes used to carry bricks or other construction materials.

Infamous use

In 1917, the Swedish serial killer
Hilda Nilsson Hilda Nilsson (24 May 1876 – 10 August 1917) was a Swedish serial killer from Helsingborg who became known as "the angel maker on Bruks Street". She is one of Sweden's most notorious female serial killers. In 1917, she was imprisoned for murde ...
used a coal scuttle, a large bucket, and a washboard to drown children that she had been hired to care for.


{{reflist Containers Coal