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Power StrugglesScientific Authority and the Creation of Practical Electricity Before Edison$
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Michael Brian Schiffer

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262195829

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262195829.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 26 October 2021

It’s a Blast

It’s a Blast

(p.119) 11 It’s a Blast
Power Struggles

Michael Brian Schiffer

The MIT Press

This chapter deals with the concept of underwater detonation. In August 1939, the first underwater detonation was carried out in the sunken ship Royal George with the help of a good quantity of gunpowder in a waterproof box connected to an electric fuse. A thin platinum wire was also connected to a paper cartridge packed with explosive powder. When this circuit was connected to a battery, the platinum wire got over-heated and led to a powerful explosion. This breakthrough provided the germ of the idea for the concept of underwater electric submarines that would be used for defence purposes, the development of submarine weapon building in America, and Samuel Colt’s invention of the submarine battery, a device that could blast even an entire fleet of enemy vessels in water.

Keywords:   underwater detonation, explosive, America, Royal George, Samuel Colt, submarine battery

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