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.
Season 6, Episode 7
Season 7, Episode 10
Gwen Wright Location:
Maryland and New Jersey
- Related Investigation Car Tape Deck Is this an example of the first ever commercially produced car tape player?
- Related Investigation Isleton Tong Was this building a safe haven for persecuted immigrants, or a hub for organized crime?
- Also in Season 7 Civil War Bridge Has a new discovery rewritten Civil War history?
- Also in Emerging Modern America: 1890-1930 Teddy Roosevelt War Club What could this strange object have to do with Teddy Roosevelt and his run for a third term presidency?
- Also with Gwen Wright Railroad Station Is a disused depot the first railroad station in Texas?
- Also with Gwen Wright Hitler Films Could these rusting film canisters contain unknown footage of one of the 20th century's most heinous murderers?
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.