The Rise and Progress of the British Explosives Industry

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9781493688449: The Rise and Progress of the British Explosives Industry
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This book is a facsimilie reproduction of the original 1909 manuscript, including 39 illustrations, held in the Archive of the Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey. It contains information pertaining to the industrial archaeology and historical significance of the Royal Gunpowder Mills. It is the 8th volume in the Royal Gunpowder Mills Historical Reprint Series. For more information about the Archive, visit

From the Preface -

At a meeting of the Committee of the Explosives Section of the Seventh International Congress of Applied Chemistry held on 5th December, 1908, it was proposed by Mr. Guttmann, and carried unanimously, that a history of the rise and progress of the Explosives Industry in the British Isles should be compiled. A publication sub-committee was formed, consisting of:

Captain T. G. Tulloch, late R.A. (ex officio). Major Cooper-Key, late R.A., H.M. Chief Inspector of Explosives. Oscar Guttmann, M. Inst. C.E., F.I.C. W. R. Hodgkinson, Ph.D., J.S., F.I.C., Ordnance College, Woolwich.

The Executive Committee of the Congress was approached for a grant in aid of the expenses, and very cordially responded.

The sub-committee succeeded in securing the services of Mr. E. A. Brayley Hodgetts as Editor.

The preparation and compilation of the vast amount of information embodied in this book has been a labour of considerable magnitude, and has involved an amount of research, investigation and cross-reference, which can only be appreciated by those who have worked in similar fields.

I therefore feel that not only the Explosives Industry, but also posterity, are under obligation especially to Mr. Guttmann, to whom the book owes its inception in the first instance, and to whose great energy, vast stores of knowledge, and exceptionally complete library the successful compilation of this elaborate work is chiefly due.

Nor are his colleagues on the publication sub-committee, Major Cooper-Key and Professor Hodgkinson, less deserving of gratitude. Despite the arduous nature of their official engagements, they have greatly assisted in the successful carrying out of this task.

Mr. Brayley Hodgetts may, I think, be congratulated on the manner in which he has very successfully surmounted the difficulties of compressing the large quantities of material at the command of the publication sub-committee into a form which suffers neither from redundancy nor incompleteness. He has dealt with the large amount of scientific matter placed in his hands with much literary skill, whilst the task of editing the historical and manufacturing details could not have been done with more tact and ability.

I say advisedly that posterity is under obligation to these gentlemen, because in years to come I hope that this book will be looked upon as a work of reference connecting the past with the future, for it is, to the best of my knowledge, the only work of the kind containing so complete a history of the manufacture of explosives in this country.


The portraits which appear are confined to those who were connected prominently with the epoch-making events in the past of the Explosives Industry. It is, however, a source of pride and gratification to the Committee that among the portraits should be that of their revered President, Sir Andrew Noble, whose researches and labours in the Explosives field, and in many contiguous ones, are so deservedly renowned.

The illustrations of works, etc., are merely intended to serve as types, or are of historical interest.

T. G. Tulloch, Vice-President (Explosives Section), VIIth International Congress of Applied Chemistry , London, May, 1909

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