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Old March 5, 2008, 10:59 PM   #1
berkmberk1
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Cool notes on gunpowder (BP)

From Wikipedia:

The first reference to gunpooder is probably a passage in the Zhenyuan miaodao yaol├╝e, a Taoism text tentatively dated to the mid-800s:[9]

"Some have heated together sulfur, realgar and saltpeter with honey; smoke and flames result, so that their hands and faces have been burnt, and even the whole house where they were working burned down."[12]
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Old March 6, 2008, 10:03 PM   #2
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Sort of Macabre

From a "Gentleman's magazine"

September 1748. Volume 18.
Terrible Accidents by Gunpowder
SIR,
Being confined to my house by lame-nets, reading is my chief amusement, and in Stow's Survey I met with a most meloncholy accident, which happend some years ago, by gunpowder, which may fill a corner in your Magazine, preferable to Directions for dressing beans and bacon, roasting beef, cleaning the spits, &c. so circmstantially given by a younger brother.
Jan. 4, 1647, some people barreling up gunpowder, at a ship chandler's opposite Barking church, in Tower-street, by some accident the powder took fire, and blew up the house, and demolished 50 or 60 others, among the rest the Rose Tavern, which, at the time, was very full of company, it being the parish feast. It's uncertain how many people lost their lives by the blow; for when they came to dig in the rubbish, they found heads, arms, legs, half bodies, and some whole bodies, not so much as fingered. The mistress of the Rose Tavern was found sitting upright in the bar, and one of the drawers standing by her, leaning on the bar, with a pot in his hand, both dead. The upper timbers falling cross one another, prevented them from being buried in the ruins. But the most remarkable thing of all was a young child was found the next day, blown upon the uppermost leads of Barking church, in a cradle, alive and well, and not the least damage done to it. The parents of the child were never known, being killed, as suppos'd, by the fatal blast. A gentleman of the parish took the child home, and brought it up as his own;
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Old March 9, 2008, 01:35 AM   #3
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A fumigant I can see......skin diseases???

Gunpowder was used to treat skin diseases and as a fumigant to kill insects before its advantage as a weapon was made clear.
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Old March 10, 2008, 09:43 PM   #4
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Oops..............

From Wikipedia - 'History of Gunpowder....

In 1260, the personal arsenal of Song Dynasty Prime Minister Zhao Nanchong caught fire and exploded, destroying several outlying houses and killing four of his prized pet tigers.[27] The Gui Xin Za Zhi of 1295 records that a much bigger accident took place at Weiyang in 1280, at an arsenal used primarily for the storage of trebuchet-launched bombs:

Formerly the artisan positions were all held by Southerners (i.e., the Chinese). But they engaged in peculation, so they had to be dismissed, and all their jobs were given to Northerners (probably Mongols, or Chinese who had served them). Unfortunately, these men understood nothing of the handling of chemical substances. Suddenly, one day, while sulfur was being ground fine, it burst into flame, then the (stored) fire lances caught fire, and flashed hither and thither like frightened snakes. (At first) the workers thought it was funny, laughing and joking, but after a short time the fire got into the bomb store, and then there was a noise like a volcanic eruption and the howling of a storm at sea. The whole city was terrified, thinking that an army was approaching...Even at a distance of a hundred li, tiles shook and houses trembled...The disturbance lasted a whole day and night. After order had been restored, an inspection was made, and it was found that a hundred men of the guards had been blown to bits, beams and pillars had been cleft asunder or carried away by the force of the explosion to a distance of over ten li. The smooth ground was scooped into craters and trenches more than ten feet deep. Above two hundred families living in the neighborhood were victims of this unexpected disaster.[27]
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Old March 11, 2008, 07:13 AM   #5
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I just converted the measurement li. 1 li = 500 meters.
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Old March 12, 2008, 07:56 PM   #6
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Gunpowder related - from the Darwin Awards

Cigarette Lighter Triggers Fatal Explosion
1996 Darwin Award Nominee
Confirmed True by Darwin

(4 December 1996, Indiana) A Jay County man using a cigarette lighter to check the barrel of a muzzleloader was killed Monday night when the weapon discharged in his face, sheriff's investigators said.

Gregory, 19, died in his parents' rural Dunkirk home about 11:30 p.m. Investigators said Pryor was cleaning a .54-caliber muzzleloader that had not been firing properly. He was using the lighter to look into the barrel when the gunpowder ignited.
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Old March 21, 2008, 08:24 PM   #7
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What not to do

From Black Powder Journal:

Serious Gunning Accident -- Mr. Joseph Askew, of Burlington, N.J., in company with his brother, Mr. Peter Askew, and Mr. Joseph Haines, were out shooting partridges recently. A covey was raised and Mr. A. discharged both barrels at them. While re-loading, an explosion of the contents of his powder flask took place, lacerating in a dreadful manner his right hand, destroying, it is feared, his right eye, and fracturing the bones of the nose and upper jaw. It is said that experienced sportsmen always put the powder into the hand, and thence into the barrel, but never pour direct from the flask.

And......

The second story comes from the pages of the History of Wayne Co., Ohio printed in the 1870s. It relates to the frontier period of that area in about 1809.

A singular incident is recorded by Howe, in his "Collections," as having occurred in a small building, an appurtenance of the mill of Joseph Stibbs, built in 1809, and then owned by him. It had been erected and fitted up for a store, in which was kept a variety of goods, such as would be in requisition by the Indians and first settlers, and was managed by Michael Switzer, who was sent hither by Mr. Stibbs. Describing the incident, Mr. Howe says: "In the store was William Smith, Hugh Moore, Jesse Richards, J. H. Larwill, and five or six Indians. Switzer was in the act of weighing out some powder from an eighteen pound keg, while the Indians were quietly smoking their pipes, filled with a mixture of tobacco, sumach leaves and kinnikinnick, or yellow willow bark, when a puff of wind coming in at the window, blew a spark from one of their pipes into the powder. A terrific explosion ensued. The roof of the building was blown into four parts and carried some distance, the sides fell out, the joists came to the floor, and the floor and chimney alone were left of the structure. Switzer died in a few minutes; Smith was blown through the partition into the mill and badly injured; Richards and the Indians were also hurt and all somewhat burned. Larwill, who happened to be standing against the chimney, escaped with very little harm, except having, like the rest, his face well blackened and being knocked down by the shock.

"The Indians, fearful that they might be accused of doing it intentionally, some days after called a council of citizens for an investigation, which was held on the bottom, on Christmas Run, west of the town."

The basic safety rules involving black powder, or any black powder substitute, have not changed. Even nearly 200 years ago, people paid a high price for their careless acts.
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Old March 21, 2008, 10:02 PM   #8
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This is an interesting site on the subject.

http://www.musketeer.ch/blackpowder/history.html

Pops
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Old March 22, 2008, 10:30 AM   #9
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read a lot on bp. the funny part about it is that everyone is trying to tell you who made it first and who should take credit for it. For many years everyone said the chinese made it first. Now people are saying someone else made it. so i dont really care who made it. just thankfull that they did. its pretty good history in itself though. All that happened with it and everything.
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Old March 22, 2008, 07:34 PM   #10
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Here is an Interesting experiment with BP and Static electricity.
I used to pulverize 3Fg before I was able to get 4Fg for my flash pan. I used several different methods, But a Mr. Coffee bean grinder worked so well that i used it for years. I always used it at a great distance and even after reading this experiment I would still use the same cation if i were to ever need to do it again. I worried about static elect.

http://www.ctmuzzleloaders.com/ctml_...ks/sparks.html
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