Coal scuttle

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Assorted coal scuttles
Drawing of a coal scuttle

A coal scuttle, sometimes spelled coalscuttle and also called a hod, "coal bucket", or "coal pail", is a bucket-like container for holding a small, intermediate supply of coal convenient to an indoor coal-fired stove or heater.


Coal scuttles are usually made of metal and shaped as a vertical cylinder or truncated cone, with the open top slanted for pouring coal on a fire. It may have one or two handles.[1] Homes that do not use coal sometimes use a coal scuttle decoratively.[2]


The word scuttle comes, via Middle English and Old English, from the Latin word Scutula, meaning a shallow pan.[3] 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.[4]

Infamous use[edit]

In 1917, the Swedish serial killer Hilda Nilsson used a coal scuttle, a large bucket, and a washboard to drown children that she had been hired to care for.[5]


  1. ^ Runyan, W. R. "1001 Words and Phrases You Never Knew You Didn't Know". Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Decorative Cast Iron Coal Scuttle and Shovel". EVERYTHING BUT THE HOUSE ( Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  3. ^ "Wiktionary: Scutula". Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  4. ^ "Wiktionary: hod". Retrieved 3 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Änglamakerskan i Helsingborg dränkte åtta fosterbarn". Hemmets Journal. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 5 December 2015.