following is a transcript of implosionworld.com'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,
The name of this paper is A HISTORY OF EXPLOSIVE DEMOLITION IN AMERICA
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.