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Chester, PA Fireworks Factory Explosion, Feb 1882

powder is used in the stars. Some are a compound of chlorate of potash and shellac, while the blue and violet stars, which will most readily detonate, are composed of chlorate of potash, ammoniated copper, and precipitate of sulphur. Some two years since one of these stars exploded at an exhibition of fire works which I was giving in front of the Union League Building, but the conditons were entirely different from those of the present explosion. How it occurred is a mystery to me, as I have tried repeated experiments and have always found that the stars burned harmlessly. Had i been at the building I would certainly have apprehended no danger, and would have considered it perfectly safe to go into the room and carry them out. I do not know how much powder I had on hand, but there was not less than 70 nor more than 150 pounds, all of which was in the magazine. I have had as much as 1,200 pounds of powder at one time. There was no powder in the building except in the few shells stored under the roof, which went off at the first explosion. I had feared danger from these shells, and contemplated removing the meal powder from them, and never anticipated danger from the stars. From what I understand the fire had been raging an hour before these exploded." Mr. Jackson then explained that while he could not understand how the stars, which would only burn in a fire, could have been detonated, the phenomena of the accident pointed to such a belief, as an ordinary explosion, under the same conditions, would have tended mainly to blow the roof from the building, while a detonating body flashed out in all directions. He said that some persons might have got into the room and done the mischief, but that he could hear of no evidence pointing to such a fact. He estimated the quantity of the stars at about 25 pounds, but admitted that he had not taken any recent account of them, and that there might have been a much larger quantity on hand. He swore emphatically that he had no nitro-glycerine or other powerful explosive at the establishment.
Samuel W. Jackson, Jr., who was employed at the factory, corroborated his father's statements, and so did WIlliam L. Bogshaw, who had worked in the factory for 15 years. He left it in 1877, but visited the building last Thursday, and knew exactly what was in it. The inquest was then adjourned until 10 o'clock tomorrow.
Prof. Jackson was in great distress about the event. He said no fatal or even serious accident had ever before occurred in his factory. He appears to have the sympathies of the citizens of Chester, and, contrary to the usual experience in such cases, they give no reminiscences of past apprehensions on account of the presence of the factory in their town. A meeting of the citizens was held this afternoon, at which Thomas J. Relper, a prominent manufacturer, presided. D. M. Johnson was elected Chairman and Mayor Barton Treasurer. Relief committees were organized, and a subscription of $1,000 for the sufferers was raised in a few minutes. John Roach heading the list with $200. Another meeting will be held tomorrow.

The Victims.
The number of the dead, according to the latest accounts, is 16. The number of persons injured is not yet known, but it is believed that over 50 were wounded. The list of the killed, with the names of the injured so far reported, is as follows:

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