Wandering Aimlessly


Dy-no-mite – Part 3

by Phil Burkhouse


The Emporium Powder Manufacturing Company operated as Hercules Powder under the DuPont Corporation in present day Hercules Hollow located two miles west of Emporium.  Last week’s question asked for the original name of Hercules Hollow.  The answer is Haggerty Hollow.

This week I will write about the Pennsylvania Powder Company that operated just below Emporium from May of 1921 through January 7, 1957.  Operations of this company permanently ceased on December 17, 1958, and marked the end of the explosives industry in Cameron County.  The Pennsylvania Powder Company was originally called the Modern Explosions Company, and the business was converted to a dynamite factory at the present site of Emporium Hardwoods.

Most of the following material came from interviews with John “Sonny” Gibbs and Dick Logue.  Both of these fellows are local residents who were employed by Emporium Powder Manufacturing and were working the morning of January 7, 1957, when the plant exploded.  The blast occurred at 7:14 a.m. while 42 men were working in various buildings that were spread out over the factory area for safety reasons.  The temperature that morning was -17, and this perhaps lead to the cause of the explosion, but the official report listed the cause as undetermined.




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