Need help identifying these (very old) (have pics)

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#2
Probably:
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http://trn.trains.com/en/Railroad Reference/ABCs of Railroading/2006/05/Stop that train.aspx
Torpedoes

One of the oldest safety devices used by railroads is the track torpedo, a small dynamite charge that's wrapped in paper (usually red), with lead straps to hold it firmly in place on a rail. When a locomotive's wheel comes in contact with the torpedo, the weight of the engine sets off the charge creating a loud bang that could only be ignored if a nuclear bomb were going off next to it.

and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detonator_(railway)

Bruce
 
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#3
A buddy of mine once rigged a sledge hammer to fall on a steel plate with a torpedo in between to make some noise on the 4th of July. The neighbors asked him to stop because it was too loud. This guy has also some small black powder cannons. They are kind of dangerous if you are not in a locomotive when they explode.
 
#5
I would call the local railroad or police, reporting your find, without even handling them any more. They may be more sensitive to shock due to age. Hard to post on the forum after losing fingers :(

And you may be violating some "possession of explosives" law.

Bruce
 

Shack

No Bo's Ride My Train!
#7
Please call either your local police or fire department and explain to them what you have and want to dispose of them. Because they contain very old dynamite they could be extremely unstable. Over time the nitroglycerin in the dynamite leaches or "sweats" out.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamite

"Classic dynamite consists of three parts nitroglycerin, one part diatomaceous earth and a small admixture of sodium carbonate. This mixture is formed into short sticks and wrapped in paper. Nitroglycerin by itself is a very strong explosive, and in its pure form it is extremely shock-sensitive (that is, physical shock can cause it to explode), and degrades over time to even more unstable forms. This makes it highly dangerous to transport or use in its pure form.
Absorbed into diatomaceous earth or sawdust, nitroglycerin is less shock-sensitive. Over time, the dynamite will "weep" or "sweat" its nitroglycerin, which can then pool in the bottom of the box or storage area. (For that reason, explosive manuals recommend the repeated turning over boxes of dynamite in storage.) Crystals will form on the outside of the sticks causing them to be even more shock, friction or temperature sensitive. This creates a very dangerous situation. While the risk of an explosion without the use of a blasting cap is minimal for fresh dynamite, old dynamite is dangerous
."

They have no value. Please contact an expert to dispose of them properly.
 
#8
Really? We used to set these things off all the time when we were kids. All we did was put them on the rail and throw a big rock on them. Just a big bang! Never broke the rock or killed any of us kids. One time we did so many of them the cops came thinking we were shooting a shotgun at birds! We used to find them in the railroad yard trash can by our neighborhood. Been a long time since I seen them!
 

kenw

5th Generation Texian
#9
Really? We used to set these things off all the time when we were kids. All we did was put them on the rail and throw a big rock on them. Just a big bang! Never broke the rock or killed any of us kids. One time we did so many of them the cops came thinking we were shooting a shotgun at birds! We used to find them in the railroad yard trash can by our neighborhood. Been a long time since I seen them!
And I made pipe bombs and stuff like that as a kid. Doesn't make it safe and my house wasn't full of them.... regardless, these are probably much more unstable due to their age. As Shack stated, these devices get very unstable over time and can (rare, yes) explode with nothing more than a spark or static discharge. Dry cool weather will increase that opportunity for sure. The RR police will know more about them and can take it from there. Calling the local police, while a good idea, may result in more issues than it warrants. Seriously, these are not to be taken lightly.
 
#10
And I made pipe bombs and stuff like that as a kid. Doesn't make it safe and my house wasn't full of them.... regardless, these are probably much more unstable due to their age. As Shack stated, these devices get very unstable over time and can (rare, yes) explode with nothing more than a spark or static discharge. Dry cool weather will increase that opportunity for sure. The RR police will know more about them and can take it from there. Calling the local police, while a good idea, may result in more issues than it warrants. Seriously, these are not to be taken lightly.
LOL!!! Well, these aren't exactly pipe bombs are they? If you are really that worried about them, get a 5 gallon bucket of water and toss them in and leave them sit for a week or two.
 





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