Cincinnati, OH Boiler Explosion, Mar 1872


The Cincinnati Commercial gives the following account of the explosion, on the 18th, of two steam boilers in a soap and candle factory in that city:
The explosion took place with a thunderous report, and the entire interior of the establishment was converted into a chaos of timbers, tanks and machinery. So powerful was the shock that all the buildings of the square quivered as if shaken by an earthquake, and a crowd of workmen on the roof of the northern wing of the building were raised several feet into the air. MR. G. C. FORSINGER, the foreman of the workmen -- builders engaged in repairing the roof -- says he was thrown eight or ten feet, and only saved himself from a terrible fall by clutching the ledge of the roof as he descended.
The report of the convulsion was heard a distance of nearly a mile. One of the boilers was projected to the rear of the building, and in a slanting direction upward. Its course was the track of death. Directly back of it were the three men in conversation. Two of them it struck and hurled as if they had been shot from the moutn of a cannon, flinging one upon a heap of coals half way across the yard, with his head horribly mangled and scarcely a whole bone in his body, and the other through the little open shed under which they had been standing to the fence beyond, whence his inanimate body rebounded to the ground a hideous and unrecognizable mass of quivering flesh. The former was OSTHOLTHOFF; the latter UNKRICH.
The fate of both was terrible, but the death of the latter was horrible. He was litterally splattered about the place. Pieces of his skull were found in several places. Clots of brain and bloody masses of his hair were dangling from the broken timbers through which he had been blown; and on the fence which stopped his poor body, was a great greasy purple daub to mark where he struck. His limbs were all broken, seeming into small jointures in the flesh, and some of them were blown away altogether. He was a dreadful, sickening sight, as he lay there with the hot bricks of the ruined fence licking in his blood as it flowed upon them. Few cared to go to that part of the yard with unaverted eyes until the ghastly heap was hidden beneath a rude covering. It must have been an easy death with all its horrible attendants. Neither of the unfortunate men could have known the most transient pain. They were dead as soon as they were struck by the terrible mass of iron.
Strange to relate, the third man of the group, HERLINGER, was but slightly injured. The boiler went whizzing by him like an enormous cannon-ball, as he describes it, splashing hot water in his face, and showering bricks and pieces of iron upon him, but it did not strike him, nor did the bricks and iron do him any significant hurt. His face was badly scalded on one side, but that injury he considers next to none at all. The boiler, after crashing through the shed and destroying the two men, as we have described, continued on its course, throwing down a brick fence some two feet thick in a confused pile, and, even after passing this impediment, going across the alley. There the force that had sent it so far was expended, and it fell upon the sidewalk, in front of a tan-yard. It had gone a distance of over sixty feet.

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