Black Tom Shell
A woman in Whitehouse Station, NJ has an explosive artifact in her possession: a large, intact artillery shell, along with a note in her mother's handwriting which reads “Black Tom Explosion of 1914.”
Elaine's mother's record-keeping is off; it was not 1914, but July 30, 1916 when a German spy ring carried out a well-planned set of synchronized explosions on Black Tom Island in New York's harbor, using the United States' own cache of munitions produced to aid Britain and France in World War I.
Two million pounds of exploding ammunition rocked the country as far away as Philadelphia, blew the windows out of nearly every high rise in lower Manhattan, injuring hundreds.
History Detectives determines whether this shell was involved in one of the earliest foreign terrorist attacks on American soil.
- Also with Gwen Wright Koranic School Book Why does this 200 year old schoolbook contain two translated passages from the Koran?
- Related Investigation Lincoln Forgery Could this piece of sheet music have come from Abraham Lincoln's private collection?
- Also with Gwen Wright Bettie Page Slide Is this a lost Bettie Page image by Irving Klaw?
- Also with Gwen Wright Quaker Map Did this faded map once guide slaves to freedom on the underground railroad?
- Also in Emerging Modern America: 1890-1930 PsychoPhone Did Thomas Edison make a machine to unlock the secrets of the dead?
- Related Investigation Survivor Camera Did this antique camera save a Polish Jew during the Holocaust?
This is a place for opinions, comments, questions and discussion; a place where viewers of History Detectives can express their points of view and connect with others who value history. We ask that posters be polite and respectful of all opinions. History Detectives reserves the right to delete comments that don’t conform to this conduct. We will not respond to every post, but will do our best to answer specific questions, or address an error.