Grenade Bomb 1858

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LIFE OF THE FRENCH EMPEROR. (Louis Napoleon (Napoleon III))

THE above Illustration is from a photograph taken by Mr. Oliver C. Phillips of the grenade in possession of the Birmingham police authorities. This terrible instrument of destruction is hollow, of polished steel, filled with fulminating powder. To form an idea of it, it is necessary to imagine a cylinder about ten inches long and six in diameter, terminated by two spherical ends. One of these ends is provided with twenty five ordinary gun-nipples, screwed in, and furnished with caps, the blow on which, in coming in contact with the ground, is destined to explode the interior. The cylinder (generally repro-seated as being pear-shaped) is slightly bronzed on the exterior, probably to deaden the polish and reorder the object less catching to the eye. The thickness of the cylinder, when the nipples were attached, is about half an inch; the upper part being much thinner, in order that the superior weight of the former may occasion the detonating-caps to strike first upon the ground and explode the machine.
The engineer who made these shells, a highly respectable gentleman (Joseph Taylor), living at Birmingham, has afforded the fullest information he was in possession of respecting the persons who ordered them. He had not the least notion that those from whom he received instructions were refugees, or connected with any political party, but thought the grenades were for some scientific experiments connected with legitimate warfare.
In the indictment against the prisoners (whose trial commenced in Paris on Thursday)(Gomez, Pieri, Felix Orsini, & Carlo do Rudio) the following information respecting the shell found upon Pierre, and its contents, is given:" It was charged with a pale yellow, fine, crystalline, heavy substance, which has been ascertained to be pure unmixed fulminate of mercury. This substance filled more than two- thirds of the hollow of the shell. The weight of the shell, without the charge, was a kilogram and a half (between 3 lb. and 4 lb.). After having drawn the charge, and replaced the caps upon the nipples, the experts several times let the shell fall on the ground from a height of fifty centimeters only, and each time one or more of the caps exploded. They afterwards threw it five or six centimeters before them, at the height of a man's waist, and in every instance some caps exploded the moment it fell."

From the February 27, 1858 Illustrated London News