I've been reading an excellent local history book on the history of the Delaware Canal, which runs alongside the Delaware river thru Bucks County, PA: http://www.amazon.com/Delaware-Canal-Hi ... 1596294876
The canal was used mostly to transport anthracite from mines in northeast PA down to Bristol and then Philly, from 1830 to early in the 20th century.
The canal route passed by many rural farms, and the nearby farmers would place a row of empty bottles along their fence rails which backed up to the canal path. The barge workers couldn't resist throwing pieces of coal to knock the bottles off, kind of like a "shooting gallery." According to the book, many a farmer whose property bordered the canal path could heat his house all winter by raking up the piles of coal which the workers had pitched at the bottles!
I'd love to have a setup where people just chucked anthracite into my backyard for free!
BTW anyone here lucky enough to have a coal seam on their own property? Must be great to rent a jackhammer for a few hours and "help yourself" to it LOL. Kind of like those folks in the Midwest who have natural gas on their property and just run a pipe down and heat for free!