The Rocket Science Institute is a
                      non-profit scientific and educational foundation
                      in support of "amateur" experimental
                      rocket science, engineering, and technology.

"The Du Pont Blasters' Handbook"

Describing the Practical Methods of Using Explosives for Various Purposes
1922 Edition


The Du Pont Blasters' Handbook

Describing the Practical Methods of Using Explosives for Various Purposes

1922 Edition


For most of the last century, the Blasters’ Handbook has remained the number one resource for handling and using explosives and similar dangerous materials.  Subtitled “Describing the Practical Methods of Using Explosives for Various Purposes,” this exceptional book was originally published by the Explosives Department of E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. (Inc.) in 1922.

In 1802, Eleuthère Irénée du Pont de Nemours began the commercial manufacture of black powder at a mill situated on the banks of the Brandywine Creek, near Wilmington, Delaware.  Du Pont went on to become America’s premier maker of black and smokeless powders, dynamite, and a spectrum of blasting agents and supplies, for well over 150 years.  So this is a book by “the experts.”

The entire volume is both an education and an entertaining “read.”  Here we offer a rare digital reprint of the Third Edition, published in 1922.  It’s is an attractive, quality-bound volume, printed on high-quality acid-free paper. 

This edition is a jewel of a book.  It has dozens of exceptional "antique" classic illustrations, 155 pages, an excellent index, and measures 8.5 x 5.5-inches.  Printed with a high-resoultion laser printer (not photocopied) on high-quality, bright-white, acid-free paper for years of reference use. 

155 pages of hard-to-find explosive and blasting lore
More than 200 fine drawings and illustrations
18 reference tables and charts


A veritable encyclopedia of black powder, blasting cap, fuse, explosive, and blasting lore!

Drawings of exact sizes of grains of "A" and "B" black powders, from FFFFFFFg to CCC

Characteristics of straight, extra, special, gelatin, permissible, and low-density dynamites .....(15-90% nitroglycerin) and blasting gelatins

Relative energy, strengths, velocities, and water resistance of explosives

Standard tables of distance for storing and shipping blasting caps and explosives

Descriptions of all standard and electric blasting caps, and squibs for black powder ignition

Descriptions of 29 types of safety fuse

Tables of resistance for squibs, electric blasting caps, and circuits

Descriptions and use of six types of blasting machines

Tables of charges for blasting ditches and bore holes

Plus Classic Information You Won't Find in the Newer Editions!

Powder & Explosives

Handling, storing, and transporting black powder, explosives, and old dynamite
Working with fuse, blasting caps, delay electric blasting caps, igniters, and miners' squibs
Working with Cordeau (now called "Primacord")
Making primers with cap and fuse, electric caps, and delay electric igniters
Water resistance, temperature of freezing, fumes of high explosives
Thawing dynamite and destroying old dynamite

Blasting Skills & Techniques

Blasting boulders, trenches, wells, stumps, and sunken logs
Blasting roads, ice gorges, wrecked ships, and log jams
Blasting cellars, foundations, and tile drains
Blasting ponds, ditching, and stream correction
Blasting underground silos, post and pole holes
Blasting frozen material in railroad cars
Planting and rejuvenating trees with explosives
Cleaning smokestacks with explosives
Deepening harbors and channels, cutting off piles, and submarine blasting
Hand and hammer drills, and drilling
Loading bore holes
Connecting detonator wires
Mining clay and coal
Open pit mining, quarrying, and tunneling

Explosives Tools & Accessories

Blasting accessories for black powder and high explosives
Cap crimpers and sealing compounds
Capacity, operation, and care of blasting machines
Operation and testing of circuits and blasting galvanometers
Explosives magazine design, location, operations, and construction
Blasting mats

Chapters of special interest to “amateur” experimental rocket scientists include:

  • Black Powder
  • Blasting Supplies
  • Handling and Storage
  • Firing with Safety Fuse
  • Firing Electrically
  • General Precautions
  • Do and don’ts for handling fuse, detonators, explosives, and similar energetic materials 
Learn about the history and use of black powder, safety fuse, sodium nitrate (“Chile saltpeter”) blasting powder, blasting caps, electric blasting caps, dynamite, and blasting gelatin.

Black powders are thoroughly described, including details about the various grades, granulations, and types, plus information about “RRP powders.”

Here are a few of the more than 200 fine illustrations included.  Note that the images on this page are "low quality, low resolution" [.gif] images, only to give you an idea of what's in the actual book. The book's drawings are of much higher quality and resolution.



The correct handling and storage of explosives (which applies equally to rocket propellants) is explained, including information about transport, loading, vehicles, magazines, magazine construction, magazine operations, and tables of distance.

And, yes, there are chapters and chapters explaining how to place charges for every imaginable mining situation, uproot trees, digging postholes and ditches, cracking boulders, quarrying, you name it.  All about connecting multiple squibs or caps, figuring wiring resistance, estimating voltages required for bridgewires, and on and on and on.

Some 17 editions exist of this fine book, each differing only slightly from the previous version.  But this very early edition provides the kind of critical material any rocketry experimenter would need to know.

Every serious rocket experimenter, pyrotechnician, fireworks hobbyist, and amateur scientist deserves a copy of the Blasters’ Handbook in their library.  Read it.  Study it.  Learn the safest ways to handle energetic materials.  This Handbook might save your life.

Quite broad in scope yet extremely detailed, current editions of the Handbook commonly sell for $80.00 to $140.00.  Now’s your chance to have an exceptional and rare edition at a much more reasonable price.


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The Rocket Science Institute is a non-profit scientific and educational foundation in support of "amateur" experimental rocket science, engineering, and technology.

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