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Explosive Tech Professor Electrifies Chemical Club With Blasting Speech

Shoots Off Guncotton on Back Of Hand, Emerges Sage At Mallinckrodt


Peering through clouds of sulphurous powder-smoke, Professor Tenney L. Davis of Massachusetts Institute of Technology addressed the Boylston Chemical Club last night on "Explosives."

Professor Davis emphasized his contention that explosives were basically benevolent by setting a great many of them off on the back of his hand before his expectant audience. The lecture which was punctuated by frequent, malodorous puffs of vari-colored smoke, was concerned with a short sketch of the various types of explosives, and their uses and development.

Greater Than Discovery of America

In spite of the apparent war in Europe, 95 per cent of the explosive agents now in use are being utilized for peaceful purposes, mining, excavation, and engineering. Professor Davis claimed that the discovery of gun-powder had a greater effect on the development of civilization of the present and the age of steel than the discovery of America.

Basically, powder enabled man to open the bowels of the earth for ores of all kinds, which were before only found scattered sparsely on the surface of the earth.

After the first half of the lecture, Mallinckrodt MB9 became a virtual battle-field with every type of powder from Roger Bacon's original sulphur, saltpeter, and charcoal formula to the present high-explosive, gun-cotton, in prominent display and usage.

He divided explosives into three, categories; propellants which burn and do not explode; primary explosives, which explode and do not burn and are used for detonators in shells; and high explosives, which shoot off in intimate contact with an exploding primary.

He also explained a new torpedo design which would make a better, larger, and more efficacious hole in the side of a ship by utilizing the idiosyncrasies of rapidly-expanding high-explosives. A cone extends into the rose of the torpedo and results in an explosive effect like that of an armor-piercing shell.

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