Canadian Mining Journal


150 years of dynamite

Dyno Nobel, a global leader in commercial explosives headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, traces its roots back to Alfred Nobel and his pivotal invention of dynamite. The name dynamite is derived from the Greek word dýnamis, meaning power. This year marks 150 years of progress due to the power of dynamite.

The last century and a half have seen not only the creation of the Canadian confederation, but many of the things we take for granted every day. We have the light bulb, automobile and jet engines, movie cameras and television, nuclear reactors and the moon landing, satellites and cell phones, transistor radios and DVDs, personal computers and cell phones, the electric guitar and air conditioners. The list is long.

Before dynamite, the ability to break rock was limited to black powder explosives, which weren’t very strong and required a lot of material. This material was also dangerous to transport. The invention of nitroglycerin in 1846 allowed for stronger and larger explosions. However, it was extremely unstable and less safe than black powder. Safety was the original reason Alfred Nobel set forth to create dynamite.

In 1867, Alfred Nobel discovered how to stabilize nitroglycerin by adding diatomaceous earth. This created the first stable The invention of dynamite marked a pivotal time and led to a step change in global industrialization. Dynamite made it easier to safely extract raw materials, allowing for more innovations to come to life. Today, Dyno Nobel continues this tradition by developing practical innovations in blasting.

Although improvements have been made to the original formula of dynamite and blasting practices, dynamite is still in use today and is, at times, the most sustainable solution in blasting. In North America, Dyno Nobel is the only manufacturer of dynamite, producing millions of kilograms each year. Its plant in Carthage, Mo.

has been producing dynamite, packaged emulsion and cast boosters since 1902.

Alfred Nobel once said, “If I have 300 ideas and just one turns out to work I am satisfied.” He went on to have 355 patent applications granted during his life.

Of all his inventions, dynamite is considered the most influential, not only because it redefined mining, but also because it gave birth to the Nobel Prizes. Alfred Nobel’s entrepreneurial vision laid the ground work and became the inspiration for Dyno Nobel to deliver ground-breaking performance through practical innovation.

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