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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

1929 photo of Dr Samuel Glasstone for a Leeds Mercury newspaper love story (updated 26 September 2017 on Glasstone's WWI TNT effects experience)

For an amusing break from news of the North Korean Missile Crisis, have a look at the photo story newspaper clipping from The Leeds Mercury 15 February 1929 (the day after Valentine's Day).


Samuel Glasstone's photo was published for a love story on page 4 of The Leeds Mercury newspaper, England, Friday 15 February 1929 (newspaper clipping copyright Johnston Press plc, c/o British Newspaper Archive; however the actual photographs are not necessarily the copyright of the publisher).

I found this amusing article while searching for another photo of Glasstone (the one on a blog post in 2006 is from the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission's 1967 third edition of Sourcebook on Atomic Energy).  As we noted in the 2006 blog post about Glasstone and Dolan, Glasstone was a chemistry lecturer at Sheffield University and in May 1928 gave a series of five BBC radio broadcasts on "chemistry in daily life", which formed the basis for his first book, published in 1929.

Violette Collingwood, who Glasstone married, illustrated that first book, and also helped him to edit the classified 1950 (Korean War era) book on Radiological Defense, Volume II as Walmer E. Strope describes in detail in his Autobiography of a Nerd (chapter 9, page 115): "In the summer of 1950, as the Marines were desperately trying to halt the North’s invasion of South Korea, we received word from AFSWP that Samuel Glasstone would be arriving to accomplish the final editing of RD2. ... Glasstone arrived but not by himself. He had his wife with him. She, it turned out, did not come to keep house for Sam. She was his help-meet at work; not a secretary, mind you, but a full-fledged partner. Fortunately, the office I had reserved for Glasstone was large enough for the Glasstones. They sat across from each other at a library table and passed our drafts back and forth."

(Note that extracts from the Glasstone's edited Radiological Defense volume 2, The Principles of Military Defense Against Atomic Weapons, can be found here.)

In addition, she also helped Glasstone with the editing of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons 1957 (see Glasstone's 1 February 1957 letter to Colonel Dent L. Lay of the AFSWP).

According to the amusing 15 February 1929 newspaper article, Glasstone had spotted a photo of botany student Collingwood exhibited at a London studio:

"The portrait of Miss Collingwood is the one exhibited in a London studio, which so attracted Dr Glasstone that he sought an introduction to the lady.  As a result of the meeting they are to be married in June."


Update (26 September 2017): more about Samuel Glasstone

There is an interesting article about Samuel Glasstone on page 4 of the 14 May 1928 Sheffield Daily Telegraph which explains that he was engaged at Brunner Mond on chemistry research during World War I, including at Silvertown, where the Brunner Mond TNT factory blew up:


The Brunner Mond munitions plant at Silvertown where Glasstone worked during the war (in the East End of London) suffered a devastating explosion of 50 tons of TNT on 19 January 1917, destroying 900 houses, killing 73 people, injuring nearly 500, and causing damage to 70,000 homes (these self-goal accidental war effects were a classified secret until 1950, unsurprisingly):


Above: the Silvertown explosion hit London’s Royal Docks in the East End of London on January 19, 1917.

"Brunner Mond had established a factory at Crescent Wharf in 1893 to manufacture soda. Two years into the First World War, the Army was facing a crippling shell shortage. The War Office decided to use the factory’s surplus capacity to purify TNT from 1915 onwards, despite opposition from Brunner Mond and the fact that the factory was in a highly populated area. Their fears became a reality at 6.52pm on January 19 when a fire in the melt-pot room caused an explosion of 50 tonnes of TNT. ... streets of houses were destroyed in what is still regarded as the biggest explosion in the history of London. Fires raged in the nearby flour mill and on ships in the dock. ... Among the dead was Dr Andreas Angel, an Oxford professor doing voluntary war work as the plant’s chief chemist. He was attempting to help put out the fire when the explosion happened." - http://www.londonsroyaldocks.com/forgotten-stories-1917-silvertown-explosion-part-one/

"Historian Graham Hill, who co-wrote with Howard Bloch The Silvertown Explosion: London 1917, said: “It was said that by the turn of the century every household in the country owned or had at least one product that had come from Silvertown.” Said Graham: “The Minister of Munitions, David Lloyd George, said two years before the explosion: ‘Even after utilising every workshop and factory capable of turning out munitions, we found that output would be inadequate unless we supplemented our resources by setting up emergency buildings.’” Despite warnings from Brunner Mond’s chief chemist at the time, Dr Francis Arthur Freeth, that there would be a catastrophe sooner or later, the Ministry of Munitions believed it was worth taking the risk and the factory began TNT production in September 1915." - http://www.londonsroyaldocks.com/forgotten-stories-1917-silvertown-explosion-part-two/