"Hands Off! Blasting Caps are NOT Toys."

That's the caption on the bright yellow display board used in the 1950s to warn children of the dangers of playing with blasting caps. The posters and bookmarks presenting basic blasting cap safety information came from the Institute of Makers of Explosives in Washington, D.C.

Contract miners had to buy their own blasting caps, and kept them in the pockets of their work clothes, which were commonly kept in a changing room in their homes. Miners usually warned their children to stay away from "Dad's Room," but even with warnings, some child would lose a finger or more when they ignored the advice and got into the blasting caps.

The poster display used dummy caps, of course, for safety instruction of children. Teachers, police and fire officers and Scout troops were among the many volunteer instructors who explained what was displayed.

Copy provided read:

"The small caps are FUSE CAPS, with and without safety fuse attached. They may be copper or aluminum, shiny bright or dull and mottled. Other caps are Electric Blasting Caps. They can vary in size from one inch long to six inches. They may be copper or aluminum, with a dull or bright appearance. Wire lengths may run to several yards and might be in paper or cardboard sleeve-wrappers. Colors of the wire vary."

The back of the card showed pictures of blasting tolls known as DELAY or DETONATING CORD CONNECTORS.

"Blasting caps are essential tools for mining and quarrying, road and foundation construction, lumbering and agriculture, flood control and irrigation projects ... anywhere and everywhere blasting is necessary. There is probably not a single item in modern man's shelter, clothing or food that is not touched in its extraction, processing or transportation by some form of explosive energy requiring the use of blasting caps.

"The basic lesson of blasting cap safety for persons not trained in their use is given in two words:


(With appreciation to Ron Smith, Cheri-Lee Explosives, Kulpmont)