Photo of the week for 6/21/2010

Clock from Nail Works Explosion, 1878

Clock from Nail Works Explosion, 1878

Inscribed on the top of this clock are the words "No tick here". The reverse of the photograph reads as follows: "On the opposite side of this card is a photographic view of a clock in the plate mill of the Chesapeake Nail Works, which has obtained much celebrity from its curious experience in the terrific explosion at the Chesapeake Nail Works on the morning of June 25, 1878.

"It was stationed in a prominent position in the mill, and at the time of the disaster was struck by a flying missile (supposed to have been a brick) and fractured in the manner in which it is represented in the photograph. The effect of the contact was to stop the hands at precisely twenty-four minutes to 4 o'clock a.m., thus by mechanical agency establishing the precise time of the desolating and unfortunate explosion. The clock has been viewed by many hundred people who regard it as a great curiosity, one lady indeed esteeming it in this view so highly as to offer to buy it at a high price.

"The explosion resulted in the death of Chambers Bowermaster, the boiler tender, and John Hetrick and John Hess, puddlers. The first named was killed instantaneously, and the two latter died on the following day. All the deceased were honest, industrious, and hard working men with families depending upon them for support; and their late fellow workmen, in view of the curiosity which the clock has inspired in the minds of the public, have prepared these photographs for sale as mementos of the disastrous explosion, with the view of contributing the proceeds of their sale to the families of the deceased. With this explanation, the picture is offered to the patronage of a generous public."

The Chesapeake Nail works was built in 1866 on the site of the Central Iron and Steel Works on Dock Street along the railroad line. It was owned by Charles R. Bailey. The photograph was taken by LeRue Lemer. Photo ID: D00215.

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