Interview with William T. Cloud, 1958 March 31 [audio](part 2)

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  • Ethnic background of powder men at the Wayne Black Powder Mills; Transfer to the Brandywine powder mills; Weather based difficulties that are part of running a water powered factory
    Partial Transcript: "The workers at Wayne were mostly Americans and Irish-Americans, with some few Italians or Austrians sprinkled in, not too many..." "...As can be seen by a tour of the mills even today, the majority of the operating buildings were driven by water power, which also caused considerable grief throughout the four seasons of the year."
    Synopsis: Cloud talks about the ethnic background of the powder men at the Wayne Black Powder Mills saying they were mostly Irish-Americans or Austrian-Americans and Catholic. He talks about a plant at a place called Wilpen that he says was around 75 percent Finnish, he says that he thought they were mostly Catholic as well. The interviewer tells Cloud about models that he believes are of the Wayne Mills. Cloud talks about how he was transferred to the mills on the Brandywine in April, 1919 and says that when he came to the Brandywine they were making sporting powder, powder for use in rifles for shooting galleries and fuse powder. He talks about the seasonal challenges of running what was still a mostly water powered plant such as freshets in spring, low water levels in the summer, leaves in the fall, and ice in the winter. He says that following World War their largest business was exporting powder to Mexico and South America.[The audio becomes difficult to understand.]
    Keywords: Austrian-Americans; Brandywine Creek; Brandywine powder mills; Catholics; Exports; Finnish Americans; Fuse powder; Hagley Yard; Irish-Americans; Mexico; South America; Sporting powder; Water power
  • Mills at the DuPont Experimental Station; Description of black powder making; Location of buildings in the powder yards
    Partial Transcript: "The rolling mills at the experimental station in these days were not considered a part of the Brandywine mills, but rather experimental equipment. For example, they used the rolling mills there in connection with the test work in re-using the excess quantities of smokeless cannon powder left over from World War I. By mixing and grinding this powder with other ingredients, they were able to make dynamite for farm purposes which was sold under the name of Agritol."
    Synopsis: Cloud talks the powder mills at the DuPont Experimental Station, and how they were used to convert World War I era cannon powder into Agritol, a type of dynamite made for farming uses. Cloud describes the black powder manufacturing process and placement of buildings in the powder yards. He talks about the narrow gauge track in the yards. He contrasts the process at the Wayne Black Powder Mills with the Brandywine Mills. He describes pressing and graining the powder.
    Keywords: Agritol; Blackpowder; Blasting powder; Charcoal; Corning mills; DuPont Experiemntal Station; Dynamite; Graining mills; Lesmoke powder; Narrow gauge track; Potassium nitrate; Powdermills; Press house; Soda House; Sulfur; Wayne Black Powder Mills
  • Graining or corning black powder
    Partial Transcript: "The Brandywine mills were closed down at about the same time that this crack roll operation was removed from the press house itself. These chunks or chips of powder from the crack roll operation were then transported to the corning or graining mill where they were fed through a series of horizontal rolls. These rolls were adjustable in order to control the size powder grain desired."
    Synopsis: Cloud continues to describe the black powder manufacturing process; how gunpowder was made into small grains. He describes how these mills operated and that the metal parts that touched the powder were encased in aluminium. He explains that finer grain powders need more time to be rolled through the graining mills. [The audio becomes difficult to understand as he describes the processes required for different powder sizes, it improves as he finishes his description.] He talks about the location of the corning or graining mills at Hagley.
    Keywords: Aluminium; Black powder; Corning mills; Graining mills; Hagley Yard
  • Glazing powder
    Partial Transcript: "The next step in the process after the graining or corning operation is that of glazing. It has been mentioned that the powder from the rolling mills known as wheel cake contained considerable moisture.Therefore, this grained or corned powder has to be dried within certain tolerances."
    Synopsis: Cloud describes the glazing process and describes the appearance of a glazing barrel. Cloud explains how graphite is used in this process and that after graining the powder was sorted based on grain size.
    Keywords: Blackpowder; Glazing barrels; Glazing mills; Graphite; Hagley Yard