Thursday, March 14, 2013

Brown's Island Munitions Explosion-- Part 5

Friction primers were used to set the spark that fired cannons.  As a last step in their construction process, the primers were sealed with wax and varnished to keep out moisture.  This is what may have caused the ones Mary Ryan was working with to stick.

Many of the workers were young women because their smaller, more nimble fingers were considered better to produce up to 1,200 cartridges a day.  These women in the workforce paralleled World War II's Rosie the Riveters.

After the explosion, Richmond collected between $9,000 and $10,000 for their relief.

The lab on Brown's Island had originally been on land at 7th Street, but a smaller explosion there had caused the island to be cleared and a group of one-story buildings constructed so it could operate there..

A Dangerous, But necessary Job.  --Old Secesh

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