What did this machine do?
The answer is here.
And after the jump.
A crime, the like of which the world has probably never heard of, was abruptly disclosed to the world,—causing some eighty deaths by its premature disclosure and a hundred other more or less serious mutilations,—at Bremerhaven, the harbour of Bremen, on the morning of this day week. It seems that a man named Thomassen, whose real name was William King Thomson, of Brooklyn, New York, and who had changed his name to avoid prosecution as a blockade-runner, had conceived the idea in England of insuring for a very large sum, as very valuable, goods which he intended to put on board the German Lloyd steamer 'Mosel' at Southampton for the United States, but to put on board with them a case of dynamite, containing a clock-work machine, which, when wound up, would go ten days silently, and at the end of that time move a lever, which would strike with the force of a hammer weighing 30lb., and so, of course, explode the dynamite, and send the ship, passengers, and freight into non-existence. He intended to take this clock-work to Southampton, and there leave the ship freighted with its unsuspected doom. However, from some want of care, the machine exploded on the quay of Bremerhaven last Saturday, seriously injuring both the ' Mosel ' and a tug. and carrying far and wide,—chiefly among the friends and relatives of the passengers who crowded the quay, —the destruction with which it was charged. Great graves of blown-off arms and legs had to be made, as well as the graves for the corpses of the dead. Thomassen committed suicide, and though not killed at first by his own act, he resolutely tore off the bandages from his wound, and had to be ironed in his bed, where he died on Thursday. He confessed his crime fully to the authorities, alleging that he had got the dynamite from America, and had ordered the clockwork from a German machine-maker.
Category: Technology | Nineteenth Century