This week Beguiling Hollywood posted a series of interesting photos about the history of the Los Angeles Times building, and the 1910 explosion that destroyed one of its incarnations.
Her amazing photo of the horse silhouetted in the night by the inferno, the gathered crowd the next day, the clean-up and re-build stirred me to have a look and see what articles I could find from the time of that terrible incident.
This tragic bombing seems to have been a misguided action by supporters of the Iron Workers Union, the bomb going off hours earlier than planned when the building still had workers inside.
At the end of 1911 two brothers, James and John McNamara, were convicted of the murders caused by the bombing. James was sentenced to life, John to 15 years, and both were sent to San Quentin state prison. James died there in 1941.
Funny old newspaper article don’t come better than this. Chickens just exploding for no apparent reason.
Sorry to the chickens for laughing, I am sure they weren’t too happy about their unexpected demise, but at least they went out with a bang… sorry. Again.
It was discovered that the chickens had picked up carbide discarded by British troops after manoeuvres and then did what all animals do, had a drink. BOOM!
Carbide and water makes acetylene gas and below is a clip of a slightly startled person dropping a small amount of carbide into a glass of water in a backyard experiment. Don’t try this at home 🙂
Can you imagine if the green balloon was the delicate confines of a chickens tummy?
I expect these fowl explosions were less the Looney Tunes type of exploding chickens and more of the busted pillow variety. At best I can imagine a ‘pfffft’, then one or two feathers floating to the ground. A pity really. Sorry chooks, but I wanted a startled ‘cluck’ and a loud POP, then a massive cloud of feathers…
Some kids use a magnifying glass to investigate the world. Some use one to bring fiery death to ants. Others, like this kid, take their destruction to a higher level and use it to ignite the fuse of an explosive.
I expect this is something most boys are guilty of, only looking for entertainment and not really thinking things through. What did he really expect would happen? Did he not notice that he was standing on the other side of a large pane of glass? I think he and his friends were lucky that the glass was tougher than the back of the display.
I wasn’t sure what a basket bomb was and in my searches in the internets I was unable to find a picture of one, only the description of them being a ‘powerful cane-bound explosive’. I did find another news article dated 1937 titled ‘Fireworks Must Be Banned In The Future’, describing the destruction one was capable of. Apparently they were powerful enough to ‘rend a solidly framed iron letterbox to shreds’. Eeek! I wouldn’t want to be standing on the other side of the glass, that’s for sure!
- The Argus. Thursday 6th Sep 1900
My apologies for the blurriness of this article but I just had to put it in. It reads;
A GELIGNITE EXPLOSION.
The great amount of risk with which the handling of gelignite is attended was illus- trated here yesterday, when a miner named M. O’Meara had a very narrow escape. A charge, of gelignite had not exploded satis- factorily, and O’Meara put a plug, which he intended using in the next charge, in the sun to soften. After leaving it there for half an hour he picked it up, but by some mischance let it fall from his hand on to a stone. The gelignite exploded, scattering stones and gravel in all directions. O’Meara was much cut about the face and arm with flying stones, and rendered almost deaf and blind for the time. The force of the explosion was so great that O’Meara was thrown several feet away, and the shirt sleeve torn from his arm.
I don’t know too much about explosives, just to be VERY careful with them, so I am not sure how dropping gelignite managed to detonate it. I do know however, that if I had a stick of gelignite I would be far more careful than to leave it in the sun for half an hour and then drop it on a rock.
I think that once O’Meara regained his sight and hearing, his flying-gravel rash healed and he bought a new shirt, he probably learned to be a bit more careful with explosives too.
I was thrilled whan I found this article because my Great Great Grandfather’s name was Morgan O’Mara (or O’Meara depending on who wrote the document). He was a miner and a farmer and lived in the Bulumwaal area at that time.
There is a chance that this blown up O’Meara and the O’Mara I wrote about in the post on the 17th of March are the same person. That O’Mara found diamonds when he was looking for gold. If these O’Meara O’Mara’s are the same person he definitely has luck on his side (still haven’t won Tatts, clearly he used it all up before I was even thought of…. 😉 )
This article shows how lucky the kids a few posts ago were. They were playing with far more than one stick of gelignite and I think that careful was probably the last thing they were being.