Blowing Stuff Up in Clare County

The following article appeared on Page one of the Dec. 4, 1925 issue of The Clare Sentinel .   Apparently, farmers back then could be trusted with dynamite.  However, as the note at the end of the article reveals, there was a dark side and some people used it for the wrong reasons, even back then.


Orders Must be Placed Now for 5,000 Pounds to Complete Car.

Some few weeks ago it was learned from the Extension Department of the Michigan State College at Lansing that it would be possible for Clare county to obtain from the U. S. Government another car of the now- famous war-explosive “Pyrotol.”

A minimum car load is 20,000 pounds. Up to date orders have been placed for 15,000 pounds. Orders must be placed for the additional 5,000 pounds, before it will be possible to obtain the carload allotment. It has been stated that this will be the last opportunity for Clare county to obtain a carload of the explosive. While it is said that “Pyrotol” is more powerful than the strongest dynamite the price is only approximately one-third that of the latter explosive, Costing the farmer 9 1-2 cents per pound delivered at Clare; arid also while the supply lasts, there will be 100 caps given free with every two hundred pounds of “Pyrotol.”

Orders are being taken at the Citizens State Bank, or at the office of The Clare Realty Co. It is hoped that sufficient orders may be obtained within the; next few days to enable Mr. Bicknell to have car shipped this month.

If you have any stumps or boulders to blast, or have any need whatsoever for a powerful, reasonably-priced explosive now is the time to order.

Farmers residing in counties adjoining Clare are not barred from getting in on this and the price to them will be exactly the same.


Note:  According to Wikipedia, pyrotol was an explosive available for a time after World War I. It was reprocessed from military surplus.  Usually used in combination with dynamite, it created an incendiary blast. Since it was very inexpensive, it was often used by farmers to remove tree stumps and clear ditches.  The substance was known for being used to commit the Bath School bombing in 1927 and distribution of pyrotol for farm use was discontinued in 1928 due to exhaustion of the supply of surplus explosives.

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