Acton, MA Powder Mill Explosion, May 1895


Three Buildings of the American Powder Company's Plant Near Concord, Mass., Blown to Pieces.

ACTON, Mass., May 3.---Three of the buildings belonging to the plant of the American Powder Company, near the boundary line of Acton and Concord, were blown up shortly after 9 o'clock this forenoon. Five of the employes[sic] were killed. The names of the dead:

ESTY, ALBERT, fifty years old; leaves a wife and six children.
ESTY, CHARLES, forty years old.
MORTON, NELSON, fifty-five years old; leaves a wife and four children.
O'NEIL, JR., CHARLES, single; lived in Maynard.
WINSLOW, FRED, thirty-five years old; leaves a wife and one son.

The property destroyed consisted of two kerneling[sic] mills and one press mill. Why the first mill exploded is not known. The second mill went up immediately from the jar of the first explosion. This set fire to the grass, which ignited the third mill ten minutes later.

The fire in the grass and refuse continued to spread and a fourth mill was for a time in imminent danger. The employes[sic], with the assistance of farmers, fought the fire with great vigor, and before noon had it under control.

The bodies of Morton and Winslow were found about five hundred feet from the mill. The others were probably blown into atoms.

The property loss by the explosion is about $15,000. The buildings were small and cheap affairs. The company's grounds include several hundred acres. The mills were some distance apart and the houses of the employes[sic] scattered about. The strictest precautions have always been enforced in the manufacture of the explosives.

The detonations of the explosions were heard throughout the surrounding country for many miles.

The New York Times, New York, NY 4 May 1895