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Author Merstham Chalk Pit 1962 (photo)
Peter Burgess

Joined: 01/07/2008
Location: Merstham. Or is it Godstone ...... ?

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Merstham Chalk Pit 1962 (photo)
Posted: 22/12/2014 21:24:14
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The following press report describes the demonstration of dynamite at Merstham in 1868:

Cheshire Observer
25th July 1868
A New Blasting Powder
Some curious experiments have been made at the Merstham Grey-Lime Stone Works, near Redhill, with dynamite, a new blasting powder, the inventor of which is Mr. A. Nobel, a Swedish gentleman. A numerous company of scientific men were conveyed to Merstham by special train, and they returned profoundly impressed with the extraordinary powers and properties of the new compound, and the perfect success of the tests applied to it. Dynamite, which resembles coarse dark-brown sand, is a solid granular explosive, for which is claimed force of a remarkable degree, and harmlessless under ordinary circumstances that cannot fail, if fully confirmed, to make it one of the most popular and desirable of explosive agents. A thin deal box containing 10lb. of the compound was placed over a raging fire; the box was consumed, but there was no explosion, and the dynamite mingled harmlessly with the ashes. It was in other ways placed immediate contact with fire, with the same results. Gunpowder was exploded near it without effect. Ten pounds of dynamite were enclosed in a second deal box, and hurled from the top of a cliff. It fell 60 feet upon the rocks below, with no more sign of explosion than would be caused by the fall of a brickbat. Equally striking were the illustrations given of its deadly strength. A cartridge filled with dynamite was placed upon a two-inch oak plank. A fuse with a strong percussive cap was attached to it and fired, and the plank was split in several places, and had a hole knocked through it. The percussion cap is the explosive agent, and it is claimed that nothing else, so far as is known, will do the work. In this instance, the work was done most effectually, although the cartridge, which was about the size of a man’s finger, was laid loosely on the plank. A large block of granite, about a yard cube, was shivered by like treatment. A block of wrought iron, with an inch bore hole, but without either plug or tamping, shared the same fate, as did a wrought iron cylinder with a charge laid loose on the top. The rocks were bored 15 feet deep, and fired, with an effect that startled the quarrymen present, not because of the loudness of the report so much as because of the immediate and extensive character of the blasting. Other experiments demonstrated the great velocity imparted to fragments of shells charged with dynamite, and its adaptability to distress signals.


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