Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/402

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�The Ideal Aerial Bomb

It explodes six feet above the ground regard- less of the height from which it is dropped


��The bomb is six feet six inches long. The diam- eter of the head is six inches

��N aerial bomb which explodes about six feet above the ground, re- gardless of the height from which it is dropped, has been tested out by the Ord- nance Department and probably will be manu- factured in large num- bers. It is the inven- tion of Lester P. Bar- low, a former coal passer in the United States Navy who later joined Villa's forces in Mexico and was at the head of railroad shops where the rebel chief had his artillery ammu- nition made. While there he conceived the

idea and partially perfected the device. The novel feature of the bomb is that

it explodes before it hits the ground,

whether it is dropped from a height of two

thousand feet or twenty thousand feet.

The difficulty with bombs used in the past

is that they have been fired by contact

with the ground,

burying them- selves in the earth

before exploding.

Thus ninety per

cent of the force

of a bomb dropped

on ordinary

ground is ex-

p e n d e d

against earth,

instead of

scattering its


over a wide

area above

ground. Inventors

have been

aware of this

deficiency of

the tear- shaped bomb The fin . like device at the top of each bomb is a stabil-

for a long izer which keeps it true to its course during its flight

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1 1


��The detonating rod sets off the detonator as soon as its point touches the earth

���time. The idea upper- most in their minds has been to develop a bomb that would explode head high and whose bursting fragments would cover a wide circle before reach- ing the ground. So far as is known no foreign coun- try has such a bomb in its possession. The bomb which comes closest to realizing the maximum of efficiency, as the Ordnance Department interprets that term, is this bomb devised by Mr. Barlow.

The above-ground ex- plosion is made possible by a rod that protrudes from the point of the bomb after it has been dropped from the aircraft carrying it. This is about six and one-half feet long. As soon as its point touches the earth it sets into operation a detonator containing about two hundred grains of fulminate of mercury which immediately sets off the explosive.

The bomb weighs about one hundred pounds. It contains about forty pounds of trinitrotoluol and the steel casing and other metal parts of the bomb, which are blown in- to fragments by the explo- sion, have a total weight of about sixty pounds. The bombs can be manufac- tured at a cost of about


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