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A More Powerful Fulminating Powder

The most wonderful instance of chemical detonation is formed by the

combination of volatile alkali with silver. Gunpowder, or fulminating

gold, are not to be compared with this invention, and the great danger

attending its manufacture prevents us from giving a methodical account

of its preparation to our readers, particularly as it can be

purchased, properly prepared, of the chemists.

The slightest agitat
on or friction is sufficient to cause its

explosion. When it is once obtained, it can no longer be touched with

safety. The falling of a few atoms of it, from a small height,

produces an explosion; a drop of water falling on it has the same

effect. No attempt, therefore, can be made to enclose it in a bottle,

but it must be let alone in the capsule, wherein, by evaporation, it

obtains this terrible property. To make this experiment with safety,

no greater quantity than a grain of silver should be used; the last

process of drying should be made in a metallic vessel, and the face of

the operator defended by a mask with strong glass eyes.