THE BARCLAY STREET EXPLOSION.

THE BARCLAY STREET EXPLOSION.

The Tribune is the discoverer of a possible clue to the solution of the mystery of the Barclay street explosion, which occurred December 21, 1877. It seems that Mr. James Gresham, who had an office in one of the buildings destroyed, has invented a terribly explosive powder, and the Tribune thinks there may have been some of this compound in the building, and is responsible for the explosion. Regarding this new explosive Mr. Gresham says: ” About four years ago 1 discovered the manner of treating asphaltum in such a way as to make it explosive by means of electrical heat. Asphaltum of itself is harmless, and ordinary heat will not explode it. Nothing but heat generated by electricity will explode it. While I was experimenting, I came near being blown up several times. Mere whittlings from this little chip of asphaltum, if placed on the track, are sufficient to lift a street car several feet in the air, even though it may be full of people. My friends sometimes have quizzed me as being the cause of the explosion, but it is all nonsense. I did sometimes have some of my asphaltum in the yard; but at the time of the explosion I don’t think I had any there. The force of the powder, to be sure, was sufficient to have done the damage, but it was not there to do it.”

Mr. Gresham has invented and sold to the Russian government a very destructive torpedo, which is exploded by asphaltum powder. He recently gave an exhibition of it at Newport in presence of the Secretaiy of the Navy and other government officials. It is just possible that this new explosive compound is responsible for the Barclay street disaster.

The Barclay Street Explosion.

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The Barclay Street Explosion.

Since our last issue four more bodies have been recovered from the ruins of the candy manufactory on Barclay street, where the recent mysterious explosion and conflagration occurred. Fire Marshal Sheldon has been conducting an investigation into the causes of the calamity, but as yet the mystery is no nearer a solution than it was at first. The theory that the boilers exploded has been lound to be incorrect, as also the one attributing the disaster to an explosion of gases in the horizontal flue connecting the boiler furnaces with the chimney. It has been suggested that the adjoining buildmg was overweighted, and that the pressure forced out the walls of the candy factory’, the fire originating from the overturning of the kerosene lamps used in the building. This theory, however, receives but little credit, and certainly does not account for the unmistakable explosion, heard by a hundred persons, and which had sufficient power to hurl the front wall with great force across the street. There is no doubt in the minds of those who witnessed the occurrence but there was an explosion of some highly combustible compound, which formed a column of flame that was shot up suddenly to a height of some twenty or thirty feet. What this explosive matter was, or how it came to be in the building, we fear will never be satisfactorily explained. It will be remembered by firemen that some time ago there was an explosion in a drug store in Boston which totally wrecked the building in which it occurred. The disaster was never accounted for, and the Barclay street calamity promises to be shrouded in equal mystery.