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American Experience

Liquid Nitroglycerin and the Transcontinental Railroad

Clip: Season 15 | 28s

The Central Pacific's best hope was a dangerous gamble: liquid nitroglycerin. Nitro was the most powerful explosive ever made, and the least stable. Transportation of liquid nitro was made illegal in California in 1867, but a British chemist came and mixed the compound on site. Liquid nitro helped the workers by blasting more rock in much less time.

Aired: 01/27/03

Rating: NR

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