Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 137,431 pages of information and 221,356 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Cotton Powder Co

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of 32 Queen Victoria Street, London

of 24 Walbrook, London, EC (1914).

Works in Faversham, Kent.

1846 The first high explosive, guncotton, was invented

1847 The world's first guncotton factory was established in Faversham.

1873 The Cotton Powder Company was established, and incorporated as a limited company the same year.

1875 C. A. Faure, of Patent Cotton Gunpowder Co, of Faversham, wrote to The Engineer about causes of corrosion in marine boiler[1]

1876 A new explosive "Tonite", made from guncotton for use in mines,was introduced but a fatal accident occurred to a miner using the material; the inquest jury were divided as to whether this was accidental death or manslaughter[2]

1897 Started to make and supply cordite to the War Office[3]

1904 This company was registered on 18 April, and is a third reconstruction of the Patent Cotton Gunpowder Co. [4]

1909 Demonstration to an international audience of Mr Marten Hale's shrapnel rifle grenade at the Faversham site[5]

1914 Manufacturers of propellants and explosives. Specialities: cordite, high explosives, permitted explosives, sound signals, ship distress signals, Tonite for mining and submarine purposes. Employees 600. [6]

After the introduction of other high explosives, such as cordite and TNT, two huge new factories were built in Faversham beside The Swale, one for the Cotton Powder Company. On 2 April 1916, a Great Explosion took place at the Explosives Loading Co's factory, the worst in the history of the UK explosives industry, which also damaged the Cotton Powder Company's works.

1918 Incorporated into Explosives Trades Ltd as part of the merger of 29 makers of explosives[7]


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1875/11/26
  2. The Times, Aug 28, 1876
  3. The Times, Jul 20, 1910
  4. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  5. The Times, Feb 11, 1909
  6. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  7. The Times, Dec 02, 1918
  • Explosives in Faversham [1]