[D8831ABZ], Letter from John Kruesi, Edison Machine Works to Thomas Alva Edison, October 27th, 1888


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[D8831ABZ], Letter from John Kruesi, Edison Machine Works to Thomas Alva Edison, October 27th, 1888

Editor's Notes

"I enclose you herewith a letter, together with some newspaper clippings, which I have just received from Mr. C. L. Edgar, General Supt. Of the Boston Control Station. ### This same thing occurred about three weeks ago in Chicago. We at once wrote to the chicago people asking for further particulars in order that we could form some conclusion as to the cause of these explosions, but up to this writing we have received no reply. ### My theory is that in some way, unknown to me, hydrogen gas is generated in these boxes, which combines with the oxygen that exists in the box, and when the Safety [unclear] burns out, or an arc occurs ignites and explodes. In 1882 we buried a box which had only, a few hours before, been pickled in diluted sulphuric acid, and the acid had not been thoroughly washed off. A few nights after the placing of this box underground, a workman opened it, and upon approaching it with an open light, the gas ignited and made a large blaze for a short time. Since that time, however, we have been careful not to pickle these boxes at all, and cannot therefore account for the gas. The Compound is, as you well know, made of Asphaltum and Linseed Oil, but there is very little of this compound in any of these boxes. They are heavily painted inside and outside with a varnish, which is made up of Asphaltum, dissolved in benzine, and mixed with turpentine, but these explosions occurred over a year after this painting was done. Please give us your opinion on this matter, and oblige," Yours very truly, John Kreusi [Marginalia: "Water rusts iron freeing hydrogen--Turpentine, Benzine etc when mised with air in proper proportions are explosive--Heavy coatings of Japan Baked ore is only remedy OVER You might provide a small vent which could be opneed from time to time and small air pump used or pour in a thimbleful of chloroform a few minutes before closing box--Chloroform is now inflammable puts out fire like carbonic acid gas and being heavy will stay there and keep oxygen out" "Ans Nov 5/88"]




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Thomas A. Edison Papers, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University
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