Archive for Tuesday, January 22, 2013

100 years ago: Experiment in explosives proves painful for local boy

January 22, 2013


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for January 22, 1913:

  • "'Look out there, Jack.' 'Oh, I ain't scared, it ain't going to go off.' And little John Riley stooped down and looked into a can from which the little bunch of boys had fled a moment before. Just then there was a puff of smoke and fire emitted from the can and Jack's playmates saw him stagger over and fall. Some of them rushed to him and others called for help. Today little Jack's face is a mass of bandage and plasters, and physicians are striving hard to save his eyesight. The can was filled with powder that the boys had obtained from a waste can at the Poehler warehouse. They had placed it in there and while one of the boys held it John Riley dropped a lighted match in it. The other dropped the can and the two youngsters hurried away leaving the can with its charge of powder lying on the ground. Viewing it from a safe distance the boys came to the conclusion that their efforts had failed. 'It wasn't going off.' Then they hurried back to try it again. There was a faint sputter of warning and as Johnnie leaned over the can to look in, the longed for explosion came.... Physicians were summoned and treated the wounds but they are causing the young experimenter considerable pain today."
  • "After the regular chapel services at the High School this morning the students were given the chance to purchase a season ticket for the basketball games this year. The financial affairs of the athletic department of the high school have always been in a precarious condition and this plan was taken by Manager Ross to make sure that the students would support the track and basketball teams before he arranged a definite schedule. The students seemed to take hold of the matter and tickets were being sold at a lively rate this morning. These tickets entitle a student to admission to all athletic contests given under the auspices of the high school. The tickets are costing $1 this year."
  • "A POTATO LIBRARY. -- The Union Pacific is offering a course in potato culture to the farmers of the country. Agent John Robinson is in receipt of a number of books on the subject which he will loan out to those interested. These books may be retained for a couple of weeks when they must be returned to the agent. The system is much the same as that of a circulating library."


Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 10 months ago

It appears that John Riley did not read his lesson book from 1911:

1911 Little Willies Book, No. III

Willie saw some dynamite,
Couldn’t understand it quite;
Curiosity never pays.
It rained Willie seven days.

Previously published in the The Advance (a Chicago weekly) on April 13, 1905 and attributed to the Princeton Tiger.

Stephanie Hull 4 years, 10 months ago

High school with chapel services and an athletic program in a precarious position -- definitely a different century. I knew they used to have corporate prayer in schools, but I'd not heard of chapel. I wonder if chapel was mandatory, and when it was discontinued.

Sarah St. John 4 years, 10 months ago

I think they had chapel at the college level, too. I see references to it quite frequently. It seems to have been something like what we used to call Assembly in high school, with a guest speaker. They probably had a hymn or two as well, and maybe a quick Scripture reading, I don't know. The speakers often had some sort of moral theme but not always; often more in the "generally uplifting" category. Don't know if it was mandatory. I've seen mentions in old books of students "cutting Chapel" as if it's a class. If I find out when it stopped, I'll let you know. Thanks for reading!

Commenting has been disabled for this item.