Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/466

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
452
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the system of large blasts has even become common in hard-rock excavations, such as quarries and railroad cuttings, while in the blast at the blowing up of Flood Rock, in New York Harbor, October 10, 1885, over one hundred and forty-one PSM V56 D0466 Testing the efficiency of gun cotton.pngFiring on Iron Disk, testing on Lead Disk, in testing the Efficiency of Gun Cotton. tons of rack-a-rock, dynamite, and mercury fulminate were used in a single shot.

Nor have I alluded to the use of explosives by the anarchists in their dastardly outrages, through which the safety of the old and young, feeble and strong, the innocent and the offending, are alike endangered; but I will touch briefly upon the implications of these powerful agents in the too-much cultivated industry of safe-robbing, since I was called upon some years ago to demonstrate, before a Government commission, how safes might be successfully attacked either in a burglarious way or by a mob with explosives, meaning by the burglarious operation that the safe should be made accessible within twenty-four hours with means such as a party of men could smuggle into a bank and which might be used without attracting attention or doing material damage to the building, and by "mob violence," meaning that the vaults are supposed to be in the hands of a mob which has ample time and quantities of explosives at command, and does not care how much noise is made or destruction is wrought, provided the treasure is secured.

In the experiments made in a burglarious way, among others, a three-thousand-dollar square safe of the most approved construction was attacked by inserting in the crevice about the locked door four and eight tenths ounces of nitroglycerin, and in eight minutes PSM V56 D0466 Gun cotton disk.pngGun-Cotton Disk. With indented inscription, and iron plate upon which the indented inscription has been reproduced. after the operation of loading was begun the charge was fired, with the result that the whole of the jamb below the door was blown out and a hole made in the door of sufficient size to admit the hand and arm, while the doors and divisions of the interior compartments were completely shattered. On repeating the operation with four ounces and a quarter of forcite dynamite the door was completely torn off.