DAILY FEATURE: By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (November 25, 2020) – In Issue 117 of Steve Kovacs Fun with Maps blows open the story on the birth (and dubious death) of Dynamite!

Dyanmite (Stock image)

Big Bang.

Yellow journalism occasionally does do good, by accident, of course.

The curious case of the Swedish engineer and chemist comes to mind.  He combined diatomaceous earth with nitroglycerin to improve workers’ safety during manufacturing of nitroglycerin and when it was used in civil engineering projects, such as bridge building or mining.

He patented said invention on this day in 1867.  Soon, however, his invention was used for less noble purposes than the original intent. 

And this is where the French press kicked in.   When his brother died unexpectedly in Cannes, France, the press mistaken the brother for the inventor.  The press stated that “the merchant of death is dead.”

This deeply shocked the inventor, and in 1895 he set aside the bulk of his estate to fund an annual recognition award to distinguished individuals in five fields, regardless of nationality.

If you haven’t guessed already, we are talking about dynamite, Alfred Nobel, and the Nobel Price.

Mitchell’s map of Scandinavia, including Sweden, is shown as was issued two years after Nobel’s patent for dynamite.       

Scandinavia Map – 1867 (Credit Steve Kovacs)

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Antique Maps & Fun Facts here on Loveland Beacon.