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MAXAM Foundation
The initiation systems

MAXAM Foundation - House of the Explosive - The initiation systems

After the advent of dynamite, explosives are not longer detonated by applying a flame but rather by percussion, with the prior detonation of a high-powered explosive. These are the so-called initiation systems.

In 1863 Alfred Nobel patented his first initiator, made from wood packed with black powder. He then invented one with a copper-capsule system containing mercury fulminate, a product that was also manufactured in the factory’s facilities. Soon a wide range of detonators was available, with characteristics that varied according to the circumstances in which they were applied (mining, quarries, construction) and to the type of dynamite used.

Another initiation system is the safety fuse or slow fuse. This consists of black powder enveloped in textile yarn –with a braider such as the one on display– and then sealed with an asphalt coating in turn coated with another textile layer or wax.

For its part, the detonating cord is a flexible, impermeable cord containing explosive, originally TNT and penthrite after 1936.

The explosives industry’s more than 140 year history has produced a wide range of detonators –electrical, non-electrical and electronic– whose evolution can be viewed in the display panels of this section of the House of the Explosive.


Last update 2021.06.21
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