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New Jersey Obituaries - 1900 - Clark Chamberlain and John Reynolds
Two Men Killed
A Box of Nitro-Soda Explodes at Farmingdale
A fatal accident occurred at Farmingdale last Wednesday, caused by the explosion of a box of nitro-soda
used in the manufacture of powder. The soda had been shipped to the Columbia mill, which is near
Squankum. On examination by the inspector it was found unsuitable and was condemned.
Clark Chamberlain, aged 65 years, and John Reynolds, aged 23 years, were notified to take the box to a
neighboring corn field, where it was to be used as a fertilizer, it being generally known that soda is
beneficial to a corn crop.
The men took the box as directed and were removing the lid when the soda exploded with a noise and force
that could be heard and felt five miles away.
A number of powder men and others hastened to the scene. A large hole in the ground and scattered bits
of mangled flesh told the story. A short distance away Chamberlain’s pocketbook was found with $100 in
it. He had always carried his money with him, and as he got good wages it was not surprising that he
had such a large sum on his person. The only article that could be identified as belonging to Reynolds
was one shoe badly torn.
What could be found of the bodies was collected and taken back to the mill, where it was placed in a box and later turned over to a local undertaker.
The cause of the explosion is a mystery, but it was probably due to the condition of the nitro-soda.
Chamberlain has a wife living, and Reynolds left a wife and two small children.
The powder mills at Farmingdale have been the scene of several fatal accidents within the past few years. Those who work there say that the employees after a time become careless, and that if the proper amount of caution were exercised at all times the danger would be considerably reduced.
Source: Red Bank Register, Wednesday, July 4, 1900
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