The following is a transcript of's
"A History of Structural Demolition in America", which was presented at the 28th Annual International Society of Explosives Engineers Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 11th, 2002:

"Good Morning, my name is Brent Blanchard, and I serve as Operations Manager for Protec Documentation Services in Rancocas Woods, New Jersey.


Just a few things before I begin:
This paper has taken several years to research, and its full length is over 10,000 words. Obviously that would take a lot longer than my alotted time to present. Therefore many sections have been condensed considerably, and some supporting comments have been eliminated altogether.

That being said, there are still certain points that are critical to understanding the evolution of the industry - and to showing you the depth of our research - so we will cover some subjects in more detail than others.

And although most of you know the history behind nitroglycerin, dynamite and other explosives, I have left a little of that in here for the benefit of those who don't.

The bottom line; if I gloss over something you would like to know more about or discuss in more detail, please see me after the presentation."


When the phrase "building demolition" is spoken in everyday conversation, most people visualize a giant structure exploding and crashing to the ground in a fury of dust and debris. This despite the fact that only a tiny fraction of all structural demolition projects involves explosives, or for that matter, buildings don't actually "explode" or "implode" in the process.

Over the past few decades, we have become accustomed to witnessing these visual testaments to man's mastery of engineering on countless evening newscasts and documentary programs. However most people never tire of seeing yet another structure simply "disappear" into thin air.

Yet even with all of its publicity and notoriety, structural explosive demolition remains an abstruse, often misunderstood sub-industry. In fact, extensive research by this author and other collaborating historians has failed to uncover any independent accounting of the industry's birth, development or existing state, which has made this project all the more challenging.

It became obvious during the early stages of research that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to recount the evolution of the industry in a comprehensive manner without simultaneously relating an abridged history of explosives themselves. Therefore, this paper chronicles both the major developments in explosives technology as well as the people and events that have been instrumental in its use to fell structures.


  Enter your E-mail address below,
  and we'll keep you informed onsite
  updates and future live events.