The invention of the dynamite

inventionstories1.jpgProbably most of you know that Alfred Nobel was the inventor of the dynamite. Alfred derived his special interest to explosives from his father, Immanuel Nobel, who used to experiment with gunpowder (the only usable explosive by the time).

In 1884 the Italian chemist Ascanio Sobrero invented the nitroglycerin, which was a much more powerful explosive but it was also very unstable, which made handling or transporting it very dangerous.

Alfred Nobel was convinced that nitroglycerin was the future of explosives despite the fact that large gunpowder firms like Du Pont were not investing in the technology. Shortly after Sobrero’s finding he started experimenting with different materials to make the nitroglycerin more stable and thus useful.

Some people defend that Nobel’s invention happened casually when some nitroglycerin leaked into a material called kieselgurh. The reality is that the dynamite was fruit of an extensive trial and error process and careful scientific analysis of the chemical components.

Once Nobel discovered the material that would make nitroglycerin stable and manageable he just needed to develop a detonating cap and the dynamite was born. He started selling the product under the name of “Nobel’s Blasting Powder”, and the fortune he managed to gather was used to found the Nobel Prize.

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