Tuesday, May 3, 2011

“True” History Tuesday – The Invention of Dynamite

The explosive nitroglycerin-based material, known as dynamite, was invented by James Evans, Jr. (known as J.J.) in 1867.  J.J. lived in one of “The Projects” of Chicago.  J.J. was actually an artist by trade.  His brother, Michael, known by his father’s nickname, “The Militant Midget,” brought home some nitroglycerin one afternoon.  He got the nitroglycerin from the neighborhood wino, Ned.  Michael’s original intent with the nitroglycerin is unknown.  J.J. took it away from him so he didn’t do any crazy Black Panther jive with it.  Michael angrily shook his fist-shaped, pick comb at J.J., but ultimately gave up the nitroglycerin because after all, J.J. was his older brother. 

J.J. wanted to use the nitroglycerin to create some “bad ass and funky” art.  An ever-present source of annoyance was his sister, Thelma.  She was constantly doing the latest dance moves she had seen on Soul Train across the living room of their apartment at 17c.  The living room served several purposes.  Most notable to J.J. was that it was also his art studio.   Has Thelma broke it down and danced by, she’d belittle J.J. and call him a jive turkey and say he was going to blow his ass up with that stuff.  She also threatened to tell their parents, Florida and James, Sr. about what J.J. was doing.  J.J. ignored Thelma and eventually discovered that mixing the nitroglycerin with silica would turn the liquid into a clay-like paste.  Discovering this, J.J. clapped his hands together, spun in a circle and exclaimed, “DYNO-MITE!”  He insisted after that point on being called, “Kid *clap hands loudly here* Dyno-Mite.”

Around this same time, the Evan’s neighbor, Willona, was dating a Swedish immigrant named, Alfred Nobel.  Nobel was responsible for designing and building the new “Projects” on the other side of town.  He was perplexed at how to effectively remove the rocky cliffs that were in the way of the construction of his new government-funded apartments.  Willona’s adopted daughter was Penny.  Penny could never keep a secret.  She insisted on being called, “Janet or Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty.”   One night, over dinner, she told Nobel and her mother all about J.J.’s new explosive art technique. The first chance he got, Nobel stole all of “Kid Dyno-Mite’s” dynamite.  He rushed back to Sweden and patented the substance.  Nobel has forever been credited with the invention of dynamite…but now you know it was actually, “Kid *clap hands loudly here* Dyno-Mite!”

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