Allentown, PA Powder Company Explosion, Dec 1916


Blown to Pieces in Powder Explosion Saturday Near Allentown.

Allentown, Dec. 9 – Three men were blown to pieces in an explosion which occurred to-day at the plant of the Penn Trojan Powder Company, at Iron Bridge. The cause is a mystery, known only to the dead, who were DAVID FOSTER, JOHN F. RAU and BARTHOL SIDLIK.
The plant, which covers several hundred acres, consists of a large number of small buildings, among which were nine driers, about one hundred feet apart. The buildings are of sheet iron, 15 by 30 feet, heated by hot air forced in through a duct. Every morning and evening they are filled with a thousand pounds of the wet basic composition that goes into the making of dynamite, the stuff requiring twelve hours to dry. The battery is attended by three to five men.
Without any apparent reason, the superintendents and assistants saw a flash, followed by two explosions, which in the damp air were muffled. The dead were collected as far as possible and Coroner GOHEEN and Undertaker WONDERLY were summoned. A census was taken of the two hundred employes, but the three dryer tenders were the only ones missing.
RAU was 28 years old, and with his wife, HILDA, and infant child lived at 615 Poplar street, Allentown. FOSTER, who was 19, was the son of HARVEY FOSTER, a farmer living at Seiple's Station. SIDLIK, aged 25, was an Austrian boarding near Catasauqua and his nearest relative is his father in the old country. Coroner GOHEEN says the explosion was accidental.

The Wellsboro Agitator Pennsylvania 1916-12-13