Our engraving shows a very neat and convenient form of coal scuttle adapted to secure freedom from dust and to direct the coal when supplying grates, stoves, etc., with fuel, so that the scattering of coal often occurring in the use of the old form of scuttle, will be wholly prevented. The sides of this scuttle in front are double, and the lid, or hood. A, has side pieces, B, which play between the plates of metal which form the double sides. The hood is pivoted at C, so that when the scuttle is canted forward in the act of filling a grate, the pressure of the contained coal throws the hood out in the position shown in the engraving, where it is held by a stop. When the scuttle is set down, the hood readily falls back and excludes the efiiux of dust. The scuttle is supplied, back of the handle with a second lid, which, when raised, allows it to be filled with coal, when the lid is closed, and the dust confined. The scuttle is strengthened and stiflbned by an arch of metal, D, passing across under the handle, and firmly attached to the sides as shown. We consider this one of the most useful and tasteful forms for a coal scuttle that we have seen. Patented May 25,1869, by John L. EUithorp and Peter Sloan, whom address, at Canajoharie, N. Y. Drying CiTect of Fir Trees upon Soil. A remarkable instance of the efi*ect of pine trees on the soil in which they grow has been published in the " Woods and Waters Reports " of the north of France. A forest near Va- lenciennes, comprising about eighteen hundred acres of scrub and stunted oak and birch, was grubbed up in 1843, and replaced by Scotch firs. The soil, composed of silicious sands mingled with a very small quantity of clay, was in some places very wet; it contained two or three springs, from one of which flowed a small stream. The firs succeeded beyond expectation, and large handsome stems now grow vigorously over the whole ground. It was in the early stages of their growth that the remarkable efl*ect above referred to was noticed. The soil began to dry; the snipes that once frequented the place migrated to a more congenial locality: the ground became drier and drier, until at last the springs and the stream ceased to flow. Deep trenches were dug to lay open the source of the springs, and discover the cause of the drying up; but nothing was found except that the roots of the firs had penetrated the earth to a depth of five or six feet. Borings were then made, and six feet below the source of the spring, a bed of water was met with of considerable depth, from which it was inferred, the spring had formerly been fed. But in what way its level had been lowered by the action of the firs could not be determined, and is still a matter of speculation. But the fact remains and may be utilized by any one interested in tree culture. For years it has been turned to account in Gascony, where the lagoons that intersect the sandy dunes have been dryed up by planting the Pinus maritimus along their margin. Hence we may arrive at the conclusion that while leafy trees feed springs, and maintain the moisture of the soil, the contrary function is reserved for spine or needle bearing trees, which dry the soil and improve its quality. _ Nocturnal Hailstorms—Hailstoneis of Singular Form. A correspondent from Pittsburgh, Pa., gives an account of a nocturnal hailstorm which occurred in August, 1851 or 1852, at 11 P. M. The hail fell in great abundance, covering the ground to the depth of several inches. The stones were of enormous size, some of them being two inches in diameter. They were shaped like an unripe tomato, slightly concave on one side, and considerably flattened. This storm occurred in Alleghany county. Pa., about eighteen miles from Pittsburgh. Another correspondent writes us from Germantown, Ind., that on the evening of the 8th inst., a violent hailstorm occurred at that point, commencing about 9 P. M., doing much damage to buildings and crops. The stones were the size of hickory nuts, and round, with the exception of a little sunken hole on one side. Another correspondent writes us from Illinois, stating that although he has never witnessed a nocturnal hailstorm, he has seen three hailstorms in that StateVemarkable on account of the size and peculiar shape of the stones. These stones killed chickens, pigs, and other small animals. In one of the storm*s the hailstones were,as he represents it," square chunks," or approximate cubes—a form of hailstones we have neVer seen described before. These communications settle all doubts of the occurrence of nocturnal hailstorms.
This article was originally published with the title "Improvement in Coal Scuttles" in Scientific American 21, 5, 72 (July 1869)