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Be careful with Black Powder...You never know!

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Back in the 70’s a friend of mine was priming a full size cannon ready to fire and the second he touched the (copper) flask to the touch-hole there was a terrific flash and he ended up at the local hospital with severe burns to his hand, arm and side of his face, now whether or not this was caused by static we’ll never properly know but that’s certainly the reason we chose to believe and yes, I’ve seen the videos of the lab tests of powder and electricity but I still wouldn’t take a chance!
 
While living on the farm before TV was available kids had nothing better to do at night than charge themselves up and then sneak up on and touch your brother/sister's ear to make them jump.

While not BP, still have a high regard for static charges.
Hindenburg_disaster.jpg
 
If you are a member of the NMLRA, this months "Muzzle Blast" has an excellent article on "Black Powder, the early years", with good info regarding the manufacture of BP back in the day and today...methods of getting rid or reducing the risk of BP "dust particles" and also a good article on "safe powder storage". Here is the current copy for your interest..just scroll it down:
 
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It may be because of finely ground powder being suspended in air versus a pile of it together.
LIke a dust explosion in a grain silo.

Very rare in this scenario, I would think...

I am reminded of the old advice; The only way to be COMPLETELY SAFE is to stay in bed. But even then a tree could come through your roof and get you...
 
Static electricity can be deadly when I was in the Navy doing underway replenishment with choppers one person would touch the chopper with a grounding rod as it was hovering to discharge the frame because the rotors create a lot of static charges, plenty enough to kill a person.
I was an Army Pathfinder once upon my misspent youth, we worked with sling-loaded deliveries all the time. If you didn't want a nasty shock and maybe get knocked off the delivery, you made sure you had a grounding rod and line in use at all times.
 
I’d like to get one of those paint shakers you used to see at the old hardware stores and clamp a half full bottle of real black in it to see if it would explode. Using a LONG extension cord….
 
My first two Ram trucks I put static strips on that would drag on the ground when you drive down the road. Put these on because sweetie, Joyce, would always get shocked when she would grab the handle, and then squall. They didn't work.
People would ask me "why do I have something hanging down on my truck?"
I would tell them "they are Joyce mufflers, but they didn't work." They look at me cockeyed and I'd have to explain.
I guess the moral of the story is static electricity is everywhere??
 
Down where I live it rarely freezes with dry humidity; however when it does, walking across carpet and touching anything metal like a refrigerator door or door knob, etc. would give you a pop! We replaced all carpet with tile and fake wood a long time ago. No problems since.
 
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I was a firefighter for thirty years (now retired). Grain dust and black powder dust require a heat source to start ignition. Static electricity cannot provide enough heat to start ignition. Grian bin explosions are the result of faulty wiring, poor maintenace of transport equipment or some other heat producing element.
 
I was a firefighter for thirty years (now retired). Grain dust and black powder dust require a heat source to start ignition. Static electricity cannot provide enough heat to start ignition. Grian bin explosions are the result of faulty wiring, poor maintenace of transport equipment or some other heat producing element.
Charlie...our family had a deep East Texas Farm....I speak from a whitness experience.....you are absolutely correct!
 
On page 228 of the great book "Savage Kingdom"and I quote:
"Captain John Smith, rowed back to Jamestowne with his small company of men. That night, he decided to sleep on board the boat. As he lay on the deck, an autumn dew collection on the tarpaulin pulled over the shoulders, his gunpowder bag, which was slung from his belt, and lay in his lap, somehow ignited. The resulting explosion tore Smith's flesh 'from his body and thighs....in a most pitiful manner', removing a section of his midriff 'nine or ten inches square' including his genitals. To quench the
'tormenting fire frying him in his clothes', he threw himself overboard into the river, nearly drowning as his men struggled to pull him back into the boat.
'In this state, without either surgeon, or surgery he was to go near 60 miles' downriver reaching Jamestowne."

You see fellas...even back in the day sh_ _ can happen! Be careful!
I wonder why so many of my fellow enthusiasts automatically assume a static discharge igniting the powder bag.

Many of the people of this time could have been carrying matchcord at the ready in case of any violent emergencies. An ember could have caught a light breeze and blown to just the wrong spot. Also, the idea of a candle or lantern seems a possibility as well. Garments worn under wool could have been made from flax linen and could have ignited a dried-on stray corn or dust of powder somewhere on his clothing.

I once handed over as copper flask to someone else and it put out a big visible spark, but nothing happened other than the event made the two of us a bit nervous.

Keep your powder dry and keep the black dust clean off the surfaces of your goods, clothing, and weapons.
 
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Think about it. No modern medicine, no painkillers besides whisky. I think he was sent back to England.
I know he returned to England. This could be the reason why. John Rolfe told Pocahontas that Smith had died so she would marry him. Sometime later Rolfe and Pocahontas went to England, and she learned the truth. She was very upset but remained with her husband.
 
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