Help Identifying Carpenter's "The Thing" Dynamite brand.

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GrenadeKing

Sr Member
I don't have any new/better screen caps but, I have been doing some research.

I started by digging through Trademarks from the now defunct Hercules Inc. This lead me to the US Patent & Trademark office web archive, where they sometimes have samples of the entire TM on file, including scanned documents and examples of the TM in use. Unigel, was created by Hercules, then in the mid 80s production shifted to a company called Ireco, and eventually was turned over to Dyno Nobel.

Under this search, I found some great pictures of a box of Unigel from 1972:

hercbox7.jpg hercbox9.jpg

And, another image of a box from 1978. It's a different dynamite charge but, notice how this box is virtually identical to the one featured in the film:

UnigelTM-16.png

Unfortunately, there were no pictures of an actual stick or wrapper from this time period. There was one from Dyno Nodel, and a forerunner from Ireco but, no similarities. So, I trawled through the patents again looking for other dynamite brands Hercules had offered.

One of those brands was "Hercosplit WR". I don't know what it is, these images are what I was more concerned about:
hercosplittm-10b.png hercosplit2-3.png

Notice the location of the logo and the two lines of text. It's pretty close to the sticks of Unigel in the film. Note how it says "Dangerous Explosives".

With this in hand, I kept looking. I found another product called "Unimax". Unimax was also moved to Ireco in the mid 80s. Again, I didn't find any Hercules brand images but, I did find something pretty darn close. There was an image of an early production stick from Ireco, and a later version. The later version is similar to the Unigel stick on file. The early version however:
unimaxsp-2.png

That looks almost identical to what we see in the screen caps. Aside from the logo and lack of "Tamptite" text, everything seems to line up. In the film, it appears that the date codes may be flip flopped a bit. I think on screen it reads the year/code, and the day, and then the month closest to the text. Other than that, I think I may have more or less solved the mystery.

I'd still love to see some better screen caps because moar accuracy = moar better. :lol
 

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TazVader

Sr Member
Wow mate. You've floored me with your "google-fu" seriously! That was an exciting read. Still waiting on my bluray but as soon as it arrives I'll be going click click and posting as soon as. Your first pic didn't work btw :)

Thanks mate

T
A
Z


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

GrenadeKing

Sr Member
Well, I was watching some abandoned mine exploration videos on YouTube when serendipity struck.

The guy stumbled upon a Hercules shipping paper... so I kept watching. Then, he found a case of Hercules blasting caps... so, I kept watching.

Then, I almost fell out of my chair...

mineunigel3b.png

The amount of sheer luck and happenstance in finding this is astounding... I think I'll go buy a lottery ticket now.

It's dated 1981 btw, Hercules had stopped making dynamite by the 90's.
 

GrenadeKing

Sr Member
*Bump*

Still waiting on my bluray but as soon as it arrives I'll be going click click and posting as soon as.

Any update on this? I'd love to get some better screen caps to help finalize my label.

I took the image of the real stick above and resized it to fit the one I'd been working with. I tracked down a higher quality Hercules logo and the correct fonts for the words. I'll post what I have soon, I'm just not 100% on it. More like 95%.
 

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dropshipbob

Master Member
I took the above photo of the stick from the cave video and combined it with what was done earlier by Dan Efran. I too think I have something that's pretty close...I can post it if anyone wants to see it.
 

TazVader

Sr Member
Love to see it guys. I'm still waiting on my awesome copy of the bluray. Just dependant on a friend in the UK and when he has time to send it lol

Be my guest to show your wares folks this is t a for sale run etc. it's for us all to obtain a nice replica. Then we can move onto the pertinent dishes. Maybe followed by a flamethrower lol

Kind regards
T
A
Z



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

dropshipbob

Master Member
O.k., here's what I have. I tried to match the font and placed all my info over the photo of the stick from the cave and also what Dan Efran created. The 3 in "31" is a guess, I couldn't really tell what number that was...BUT...that might not even be the same on the screen used sticks, so it may not be a concern in the end.


dynamite.jpg
 

GrenadeKing

Sr Member
O.k., here's what I have. I tried to match the font and placed all my info over the photo of the stick from the cave and also what Dan Efran created. The 3 in "31" is a guess, I couldn't really tell what number that was...BUT...that might not even be the same on the screen used sticks, so it may not be a concern in the end.

Looks good! Very similar to what I'd come up with.

My guess:
IMG_3186 copy.png

The font for the whole thing seems to be Futura Bold, or some variant. On the stick in the mine, the date code seems to be stamped in Helvetica font, but in the film, it seems to also be Futura. All of the reference dynamite I'd come across had "J1" on it so, that seems to be a likely candidate for the "31" on the mine stick and probably follows the date code on the film stick. The one in the film seems to say 1974 or '76 or maybe even '78. Dynamite doesn't have much of a shelf life but, it's also just a movie so it could be any one. I went with '76 for mine.

The date and month are flipped on the film version. The film one also seems to say "April". It's short and starts with an "A" so, doesn't leave much else unless I'm seeing it horribly wrong.

The single number, I can't decipher. On the reference stuff, it seems to be the day of manufacture, but it looks like "41" which wouldn't make sense. If it's April, it can't be "31" so, I went with "21" on my wrapper but, I'd take that with a grain of salt.

So, in the end, I've got this for the time being, which looks pretty darn close to dropshipbob's. I think we're on the right track.

thethingdynamite5b.png
 

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CosmicToaster

New Member
I know this thread is old but thought I might be able to shed a little light on this since I handled million of pounds of Unigel, other explosives and blasting agents in the late ’70’s through mid ’80’s working in the mining industry in Colorado at that time.


You’ve done a great job researching and recreating the actual product. It never ceases to amazes me what you can find on through the internet and crowdsourcing.


Unigel was by far the most popular dynamite in the Hercules product catalog, at least for us. It was seldom we would see anything else. Many times the entire 40,000 lb load from the plant was all that was on the truck. Cheap and effective.


The actual sticks look great. 1¼ x 8 was a fairly commons size used in Colorado mostly in underground mining at that time although 1⅛ x 8 or 1⅛ x 16 was much more common . The only thing I see a bit off from memory is the real stuff had a more yellowish wrapper with a waxy coating similar to what you would see in wax paper but much thicker. You have the spiral wrap which is good.


The fuse size looks good but real safety fuse used a textile braid and was wax dipped for water resistance. The Ensign-Bickford fuse we supplied was orange in color. It burned at 43-44 seconds / ft. Generally a #6 fuse blasting cap was crimped on the end would be inserted fully into the stick not partially sticking out as you have it shown. But most mining at that time had moved on from cap and fuse to electric or E-B “Nonel” initiation.


A few more tidbits of info FYI.


“Tamptite” was trade named feature used by Hercules where the spiral wrapper also had serrations running the length of the stick at the same helix angle as the wrap. It was not visible but internal to the wrap. When you went to load a bore hole you would grab each end of the stick and give it a twist breaking the serrations. Then when you would load it into the bore hole, push it to the back with a loading pole (non-sparking of course) and “tamp” the cartridge gently (except for the first stick with the cap in it) giving you full coupling with hole and higher loading density.


There were 2 Hercules logo’s during the time I was in the industry. The one you used was the earlier one. Sometime in the early 80’s they updated it to be a more streamlined version. The earlier post shows both but I always like the older one better. There were also earlier versions.


Ireco purchased Hercules sometime in the mid ’80’s which is why you might come across that name looking for “Unigel”.


The two color box with the red was an earlier version used before I started. From ’78 on I only saw boxes printed in black.


On the date code, for example Feb. 7-78-J-1, was the date of manufacture. The “J-1” indicated it was manufactured in Joplin, MO on the first shift. A code of “B-2” would indicate it was manufactured in Bessemer, AL on the second shift. I see some without a letter in the code and would guess that was either before they added a second plant or maybe another (original) plant that didn’t use a letter code??


The “Hercosplit WR” shown in the above post was used for pre-spliting rock faces to leave a smother wall and not cause so much over breakage. If you ever drive along a highway road cut and see fairly tightly spaced bore holes in the rock face they probably used this type of explosive. Generally small diameter like ⅞ or 1”. Unlike most blasting you didn’t want good hole coupling hence the small diameter. Also, the row of holes this powder was used in would be initiated first to help achieve a nice split. Normally you would initiate the back row of holes last. The “WR” stood for water resistant.
 
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