Utahnite was a blasting powder discovered and patented by Mr. James F. O’Brien (originally from Black Creek, Wisconsin, and later of Los Angeles). The “cold process,” chemical formula, and and the non-confined, frictionless mechanical means used in the manufacture of Utahnite were all perfected by Mr. O’Brien.
After patenting this process he formed the Utahnite Safety Powder Company (incorporated in Nevada on March 4, 1921, with principal offices in San Francisco, California), of which he was President, building many Utahnite plants located at various points, and supplying the United States, Canada and Mexico.
At the time, Utahnite, in the opinion of experts, was destined to play an important part in the future of mining and other industries. It was held to be more powerful than dynamite or nitro-glycerine powders, while lacking the dangerous qualities of those explosives. When he invented it, Mr. O’Brien had in mind an ambition to perfect a safe mechanical means for its manufacture, as well as the production of a safety blasting powder, thereby rendering work in the mines and other places less hazardous to the workmen and thus reduce the number of fatalities recorded yearly in this particular line of work - at the same time making for economy and commercial stability in the manufacture of powder as a business.
The result was the production of the remarkably simple, safe Utahnite machinery and of a powder substance which, while it possessed tremendous blasting power, also reduced danger to a minimum and lacked the objectionable gases, flame, smoke, and deteriorating characteristics of other explosives.
Mr. O’Brien later adapted his invention to other lines of industry, including agriculture and quarrying.
Close Up of Vignette:
Preferred Stock Certificate, issued in the 1920’sPrinter: Goes Dimensions:
8 1/2” (h) x 11” (w)State: NV-Nevada Subject Matter: Mining and Related
| Explosives and Munitions Vignette Topic(s): Eagle Featured
| Skyline Scene Condition:
Vertical fold lines, no cancels, and some toning and edge faults from age.