On this date in History: 1867
Alfred Nobel invents
the blasting material used to blast through rocks but the instability of the
material made the work very dangerous. When an explosion in one of the family’s
explosives factories killed nine people, including Nobel’s brother Emil, Alfred
was motivated to make a safer explosive. Nobel mixed it with silica, making a paste
that could be formed into the new material called dynamite, which was also
better to use as it could be shaped into cylinder shapes for insertion into
mining drilling holes.
In 1888, Alfred’s
brother Ludwig died and the papers printed Alfred’s obituary in error, with
some scathing remarks about the terrible destructive device he had invented and
how he had gained his wealth by killing mass number of people. Nobel was a pacifist who liked poetry.
Concerned about how he would be remembered and intent on
saving the family name, Alfred designated a portion of his estate to
established the Nobel Peace prize, honoring outstanding achievements in
multiple fields and promoting peace. His will left US$250 million, about 94% of
his estate, to fund the Nobel Peace Prize.