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DuPont Blaster I
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Ensign Bickford Crimpers Closed
  Ensign Bickford Crimpers Closed Back Side.jpg - ENSIGN-BICKFORD BLASTING TOOL - Heavy duty steel multi-purpose blasting tool, spring loaded with thumb lock, marked on one side THE ENSIGN-BICKFORD CO. SIMSBURY, CONN, 7 3/8 in. long, ca. early 1930s; well-made tool includes wire cutter, fuse splitter, sleeve crimp jaw, fuse cutter, wire stripper, cap punch and pry bar (The Ensign-Bickford Company pioneered the introduction of the safety fuse for mining in the U.S.  Prior to the development of safety fuse, black powder charges were ignited by such methods as trails of powder to cartridges, kerosene soaked rags stuffed into blast holes, and goose quills filled with black powder to form a sort of fuse.  Premature and unpredictable explosions with these early methods led to a heavy miners’ death toll in underground accidents.  These accidents led William Bickford of Tuckingmill, Cornwall, to invent a method whereby blasting ignition could be controlled by a uniform and determinate rate of speed.  His patent for the Miner’s Safety Fuse (British patent No. 6159/1831) was awarded on Sept. 6, 1831 for a fuse “consisting of a number of jute threads, passed through an orifice and stretched to rotate slowly while at the same time a small amount of fine gunpowder fell into the tube thus formed and was retained therein as a slender core.”  Following Bickford’s death in 1834 at age 60, Bickford’s safety fuse was introduced into the U.S. through Richard Bacon, then superintendent of the copper mines of the Phoenix Mining Company at Old Newgate Prison, Granby, CT.  Bacon made arrangements with Bickford, Smith & Davey, the original British manufacturers of safety fuse, to build a plant in 1836 at Simsbury, CT to manufacture the fuse under the name of Bacon, Bickford & Eales Co.  By 1839, Joseph Toy came from the Tuckingmill plant in England to soon become manager of the Simsbury factory, continuing in that capacity until Toy’s death in 1887.  Under Toy’s management the name was changed to Toy, Bickford & Co. in 1852. Toy was responsible for dramatically improving production safety and market expansion while developing different varieties of safety fuse as the growing amount of coal and metal mining in the U.S. increased.  After Toy’s death, Ralph Ensign, his son-in-law, became manager of the Simsbury facility and the name was changed to Ensign, Bickford & Co.  In 1907 the business was incorporated as the Ensign-Bickford Co. and a consolidation with the Climax Fuse Co. of New York took place with Ensign as the president of the corporation.  He held that position till his death in 1917 when his son, Joseph Ensign, succeeded him.  By this time, the quality of the standard safety fuse product had been steadily improved with a very regular burning rate, good appearance and excellent water resistance.  Ensign-Bickford not only supplied the mining industry across the U.S., it also provided many million feet of fuse for the construction of the Panama Canal and special fuse for munitions during World War I.  In 1936, The Ensign-Bickford Company celebrated its 100th anniversary and introduced its promising new detonating cord, which eventually accounted for two-thirds of the company’s income. Ensign-Bickford's Primacord became the functional generic name for detonating cord in North America. The company continues in business today as Ensign-Bickford Industries.  See VanGelder and Schlatter, History of the Explosives Industry in America, 1927, pp 721-729 and Kynor, Multi Purpose Cap Crimper from Ensign-Bickford Co., Collectors’ Mining Review #1, pp 23-25)  
Ensign Bickford Crimpers Open
Ensign Bickford Crimpers Marking
1928 Blish, Mize & Sillimman Hdwe Atchison, KS - Eveready
Eveready Single Shot Blaster and Firing Unit
Eveready Single Shot Blaster End Marking

Ensign Bickford Crimpers Closed Back Side | ENSIGN-BICKFORD BLASTING TOOL - Heavy duty steel multi-purpose blasting tool, spring loaded with thumb lock, marked on one side THE ENSIGN-BICKFORD CO. SIMSBURY, CONN, 7 3/8 in. long, ca. early 1930s; well-made tool includes wire cutter, fuse splitter, sleeve crimp jaw, fuse cutter, wire stripper, cap punch and pry bar (The Ensign-Bickford Company pioneered the introduction of the safety fuse for mining in the U.S. Prior to the development of safety fuse, black powder charges were ignited by such methods as trails of powder to cartridges, kerosene soaked rags stuffed into blast holes, and goose quills filled with black powder to form a sort of fuse. Premature and unpredictable explosions with these early methods led to a heavy miners’ death toll in underground accidents. These accidents led William Bickford of Tuckingmill, Cornwall, to invent a method whereby blasting ignition could be controlled by a uniform and determinate rate of speed. His patent for the Miner’s Safety Fuse (British patent No. 6159/1831) was awarded on Sept. 6, 1831 for a fuse “consisting of a number of jute threads, passed through an orifice and stretched to rotate slowly while at the same time a small amount of fine gunpowder fell into the tube thus formed and was retained therein as a slender core.” Following Bickford’s death in 1834 at age 60, Bickford’s safety fuse was introduced into the U.S. through Richard Bacon, then superintendent of the copper mines of the Phoenix Mining Company at Old Newgate Prison, Granby, CT. Bacon made arrangements with Bickford, Smith & Davey, the original British manufacturers of safety fuse, to build a plant in 1836 at Simsbury, CT to manufacture the fuse under the name of Bacon, Bickford & Eales Co. By 1839, Joseph Toy came from the Tuckingmill plant in England to soon become manager of the Simsbury factory, continuing in that capacity until Toy’s death in 1887. Under Toy’s management the name was changed to Toy, Bickford & Co. in 1852. Toy was responsible for dramatically improving production safety and market expansion while developing different varieties of safety fuse as the growing amount of coal and metal mining in the U.S. increased. After Toy’s death, Ralph Ensign, his son-in-law, became manager of the Simsbury facility and the name was changed to Ensign, Bickford & Co. In 1907 the business was incorporated as the Ensign-Bickford Co. and a consolidation with the Climax Fuse Co. of New York took place with Ensign as the president of the corporation. He held that position till his death in 1917 when his son, Joseph Ensign, succeeded him. By this time, the quality of the standard safety fuse product had been steadily improved with a very regular burning rate, good appearance and excellent water resistance. Ensign-Bickford not only supplied the mining industry across the U.S., it also provided many million feet of fuse for the construction of the Panama Canal and special fuse for munitions during World War I. In 1936, The Ensign-Bickford Company celebrated its 100th anniversary and introduced its promising new detonating cord, which eventually accounted for two-thirds of the company’s income. Ensign-Bickford's Primacord became the functional generic name for detonating cord in North America. The company continues in business today as Ensign-Bickford Industries. See VanGelder and Schlatter, History of the Explosives Industry in America, 1927, pp 721-729 and Kynor, Multi Purpose Cap Crimper from Ensign-Bickford Co., Collectors’ Mining Review #1, pp 23-25) Download Original Image
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