General view of Joseph Maurer pouring ethyl cellulose into the hopper of a plastic extrusion machine at the Hercules Powder Company plant in Port Ewen, New York. In the machine, the ethyl cellulose was heated and then extruded as flakes to coat and insulate wires used in the electric blasting caps produced at the plant. A circle drawn around the apparatus on the left-hand side highlights how the uncoated wire entered the machine via the mechanism on the right while the insulated wire is visible being extruded on the left.
Formed in 1912 as part of an anti-trust settlement with DuPont, the Hercules Powder Company (later Hercules Inc.) specialized in the manufacture of explosives and smokeless powders. The company's Port Ewen plant produced a range of special detonators designed for military use, as well as construction jobs that required blasts of dynamite, such as the clearing of quarries, mines, and tunnels.
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Hercules Incorporated. “Plastic Extrusion Machine at Hercules Port Ewen Plant,” February 8, 1955. Photographs from the Records & Ephemera of Hercules Incorporated, Box 2, Folder 37. Science History Institute. Philadelphia. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/6682x4430.
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