The Glmite Bomb

Before the atomic bomb, other "super bombs" were dreamed up and invented. One of the more notorious was Lester Barlow's Glmite Bomb. Barlow claimed it could kill everything within a 1000-yard radius, but when the U.S. military tested it in 1940, exploding it in a field surrounded by goats, it failed to kill, or even injure, a single goat.

Glmite also has to be one of the worst names ever for an explosive. It was created by combining the words 'Glenn' and 'Dynamite'.

More details from The Ordnance Department: Procurement and Supply, by Harry Thomson and Lida Mayo —

Mr. Lester P. Barlow, an employee of the Glenn L. Martin aircraft factory, submitted to the Senate Committee on Military Affairs a bomb filled with liquid oxygen. Called "glmite" in honor of Mr. Martin, the explosive was said to give off violent vibrations of the air waves that would kill every living thing within a radius of a thousand yards. Senator Gerald P. Nye was so impressed that he called in reporters to watch while minutes of the committee meeting were burned—"so great was the military secrecy of the subject!... an explosive so deadly it might even outlaw war!!!"

Tests of the Barlow bomb took up a good deal of the time of Ordnance planners in April and May, extending down into the most anxious weeks in May. When the newspapers announced that goats would be tethered at varying distances from the bomb to determine its lethal effects, Congress and the War Department were deluged with letters of protest from humane societies and private citizens. All the concern turned out to be wasted. At the first test, the bomb leaked and did not go off; at the second, held at Aberdeen Proving Ground in late May, the explosion occurred, but the goats, unharmed, continued to nibble the Maryland grass.

Barlow supervising the set up of the Glmite Bomb.

The Algone Upper Des Moines - June 18, 1940

Explosion of the Glmite Bomb at Aberdeen Proving Ground
Note the goats in the right foreground, unharmed

     Posted By: Alex - Tue Jun 09, 2020
     Category: 1940s | Weapons

Surely it was named for "GLM" plus "-ite"? Still a terrible name. Jeelemite? Glummite?
Posted by Dr. Fian on 06/09/20 at 09:23 AM
It could have been the inspiration for KAOS's Nude Bomb.
Posted by KDP on 06/09/20 at 11:36 AM
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