General view of employee Raymond Demskie operating a series of levers to remotely mix explosive powders used in the electric blasting caps produced at the Hercules Powder Company plant in Port Ewen, New York. The levers were used to control the mechanical arms of a rubber mat positioned on the other side of the concrete wall. Notably, rubber was used to transfer and mix the explosive powder in order to avoid the hazard of metal, which might cause a spark or a shock.
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. “Raymond Demskie Mixing Detonator Charges at Hercules Port Ewen Plant,” 1960. Photographs from the Records & Ephemera of Hercules Incorporated, Box 2, Folder 38. Science History Institute. Philadelphia. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/hd76s071t.
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