ASTM requirements covering the sampling of coal were intended to be used for “hand” sampling; they do not cover the cases in which very large (100-lb) increments are taken. The question of the propriety (or necessity) of using the same number of increments in these cases as is prescribed for small (2 to 10-lb) increments collected by hand was raised by the junior author early in 1949, in correspondence with ASTM Committee D-5 on Coal and Coke. At the same time, the automatic sampling question was being investigated by the Power Station Chemists' subgroup of the Prime Movers Committee of the Edison Electric Inst. It was only natural, then, that sooner or later a study group would evolve, which would include representatives of both committees and a sprinkling of consulting members. In the preliminary stages of the work, this study group was informal, and it was not until a draft proposal for a comprehensive test of an automatic sampler was almost ready (spring of 1951) that any formal organization was attempted or official recognition requested. Currently, the work started by this small group is being carried on by the Mechanical Sampling Section of Subcommittee XIII on Coal Sampling of ASTM Committee D-5 under the chairmanship of the senior author.