The Disaster Of The “Toffee-Apple” Tsunami

In 1919, The Great Molasses Flood hit Boston, Massachusetts and surely is one of the strangest man-made disasters the world has ever witnessed. What is Molasse you ask? It is a thick black treacle liquid made from refining sugar cane or sugar beets. Sugarcane molasse is mostly used as a sweetener or flavoring foods in the United States as it is very nice in taste and aroma, it is the main ingredient when making commercial fine brown sugar.

Well, we all love a little sugar, but this disaster was extremely deadly. On the 15th January 1919, the wave of syrup that exploded out of the refining factory caused 21 deaths and injured over 150 other people. It even flattened whole buildings and ruined streets completely. But how could syrup be so deadly?

upload.wikimedia.org

A 90-foot wide cast iron tank was being used to contain two and a half million gallons of crude molasses, that the United States Industrial Alcohol Company’s refining factory had just received two days prior from their Caribbean rum manufacturers. The tank was actually located about 50 feet in the air, high above the street level. This meant that when the cast did explode, its contents came bursting out within a matter of seconds and did not give the workers any prior notice. This caused a huge wave of sticky substance to crash down the streets, reports say it was 15 feet high and hurtled down the roads at speeds over 35mph.

The problem was a rapid change in Boston’s overnight temperatures when the molasse had arrived it was quickly heated in its cast iron container to make it easier to be refined. The drop in temperature would have caused the substance to expand, like a cake and explode open the container. You see when you heat the molasses it makes it more liquid and easier to move into a storage tank, but when it is colder it becomes a thicker syrup. Researchers claim had this shipment arrived in the summer this disaster would never have happened, or not have claimed as many lives.

The thick syrup mess that came cruising down the streets of Boston easily entangled pedestrians. The substance engulfed them completely, it was so sticky they could not get out and people that got stuck drowned. In fact, survivors who did make it to the hospital were described as walking toffee apples!

Next Article
ADVERTISEMENT
  • Let’s Nuke The Moon Just Because We Can

    Any guesses to who once said that? Yup, you guessed it… The United States once planned to shoot a nuclear bomb at the moon for the sole reason of “Because We Can!” The absolute ridiculous project was put into action during the 1950s by the U.S. Air Force and was...

    Read More
  • The Biggest Spread Of Plague Was Not Caused By Rats

    New studies have shown that rats have been unfairly accused of being the main culprit of causing the immense spread of plague during the time known as the Black Death. Initially, the rats were believed to have spread the plague so severely during 14th century Central Europe due to them...

    Read More
  • The First Medieval North American City

    Cahokia was a settlement that thrived during the years of A.D. 1050-1200, a city that held a population of 10000 to 20000 people and covered over six square miles. This made it bigger than even London at the time and numerous other European cities. It was located in Mississippi, close...

    Read More
  • Twenty-Two Years Of Poop Removed Surgically From One Man

    Remember that last time you could not go to the toilet? You just sat there in agony, with just nothing coming out? Or that constipated bloated sensation that never goes away, well now think that you have had that feeling for wait for it... 22 whole years. Impossible, right? Yes, one Chinese man has defied...

    Read More
  • Yes, There Was A Black Nazi

    Meet Hans Massaquoi, one of the very rare and few biracial Germans who were born and grew up during the Nazi regime. Though do not be mislead by the photo, he was not actually allowed to join the Nazi Party. This does not really make much sense when you remember...

    Read More
  • Marijuana Farms Are Killing Owls

    In California the great marijuana legalization growing revolution is having some dire consequences to the local ecosystem, notably, it seems to be killing Northern spotted owls! Unfortunately the profitable of the marijuana legalization vote in California has seen the rise of numerous unpermitted private grow sites. These grow sites are...

    Read More
  • Napoleon’s Biggest Loss Was Against A Horde Of Rabbits

    Napoleon Bonaparte, the famous French emperor who dominated European and even global affairs for over a decade from 1804 to 1814. Renown for being one of the greatest military commanders ever to rule, his campaigns and victories are still studied around the world today. He won the vast majority of his battles, which means his...

    Read More