The New Student's Reference Work/Dynamite
Dynamite, from a Greek word meaning strength, is produced by mixing nitroglycerine with a kind of earth, known under its German name of keiselguhr. Nitroglycerine was discovered in 1846, but it was not till 20 years after that the experiments of Alfred Nobel, who combined it with the earth just mentioned, made it of practical importance. Dynamite has a reddish-brown color, and is about one part earth to three parts nitroglycerine. It burns with a yellowish flame and, in small quantities, without danger. The time of an explosion of a dynamite-cartridge is about the 24,000th part of a second. Dynamite is much used for breaking up bowlders, and is used under water as well as on land, the water causing the loss of only six per cent. of its power. For quarrying purposes gunpowder is generally used, as dynamite breaks up rock too much. Dynamite is also used in explosive shells that may be fired from guns of special construction, a dynamite gun having been invented in 1883. Unfortunately, it has been also employed for the destruction of life and property.