Author Topic: Mining and blasting pliers  (Read 25352 times)

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Offline Plyerman

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Mining and blasting pliers
« on: April 26, 2014, 05:19:55 PM »
Over the years I've picked up four different sets of these blasting pliers. Mine are all old, from the early-to-mid 1900's. Most likely from hard rock mining operations. The more modern ones I see on eBay seem to be mostly for military demolitions. They tend to refer to them as "cap crimpers". Old or new, the intention appears to be pretty much the same: Design a single tool that can cut the fuse wire, crimp on the blasting cap, and poke a hole in the explosives for the cap to be placed.

Here are a few frames from a military training paper that explains the idea:










 

....And here are a couple of my old blasting pliers. The first one is an "Atlas No. 3." Atlas Powder Company was formed as a result of a court order that broke up the near-monopoly that the DuPont company had on smokeless powders and dynamite. Apparently Atlas sold tools and accessories in addition to their powders. I've seen pictures of an "Atlas No. 2" tool, but I don't own one. Not really sure how old this guy is:




You can see the crimper jaws are on the end, while a large cutter and a small cutter are on the sides. The end of one handle is a poker to start the fuse hole, while the other handle ends in a screwdriver.



Another tool I've got is this all-brass one. It has crimper notch near the pivot, then a fuse cutter notch next to that. On the end of one jaw there is a hole, with a narrow slit in it. The other jaw has a sharp steel blade in it. The blade can either cut the fuse, or slit the insulation from it, depending on which notch you use.












It was patented by a Mr. Harry Prince in 1922.


« Last Edit: February 08, 2020, 04:51:59 PM by Plyerman »
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Offline rusty

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Re: Mining and blasting pliers
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2014, 05:59:47 PM »
Very nice, don't see all that many of these. I loke the head shape on the first pair. Perhaps patent 432427,479444 or 1263720.

I like how the fellow in the illustration is holding the primer out as far as he can reach, as if 18 inches will matter if he sets off that 5 pound block of high explosive...;P
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Offline john k

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Re: Mining and blasting pliers
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2014, 09:27:57 PM »
Interesting plier tool.   In the military booklet drawing, he is crimping the cap at armslength, we were taught to do it overhead, while wearing a helmet,  or to turn our head to the side, sacrifice only one ear drum that way.    Glad I don't have to use those anymore.  The ones I carried were steel and rather plain. 
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Offline Plyerman

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Re: Mining and blasting pliers
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2014, 07:50:08 AM »
Yeah, I agree, it doesn't look like a job I'd want to do. Found this picture while searching for more info on the Atlas tool. Must be those blasting caps are pretty powerful just by themselves?


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Offline john k

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Re: Mining and blasting pliers
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2014, 08:21:28 AM »
Pretty close to an M-80 firecracker, but seemed louder. 
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Offline Plyerman

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Re: Mining and blasting pliers
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2014, 08:26:51 PM »
Okay, I found my other two cap crimper pliers. The top one (below) is all brass. They must be using brass to avoid the possibility of a spark? It has two crimper notches, one above the pivot and one below. The spike on the one handle is extra long and skinny. Screwdriver on the other handle.





This other one is made of steel. The jaws are short and stubby, but otherwise it follows pretty much the same layout. Unfortunately neither this one nor the brass one above has any maker's marks on them.

« Last Edit: February 08, 2020, 04:53:37 PM by Plyerman »
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Offline oldtools

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Re: Mining and blasting pliers
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2014, 12:56:48 AM »
Why aren't they wearing protective gloves?
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Offline Plyerman

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Re: Mining and blasting pliers
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2015, 09:18:31 PM »
I've managed to accumulate a few more old dynamite pliers in the past year:


First up is a Hercules No.2 Cap Crimper. It has the usual crimpers and fuse cutters in the jaws, and a screwdriver and a spike on the handles. Hercules was another company (along with Atlas) that was spun off when they broke up the DuPont monopoly about a hundred years ago.






Speaking of DuPont, here is their No.1 crimper. Not sure why there is no provision for cutting fuses built into it.






My latest one is this Erbele Fuse Plier. It has a weird parrot beak sharp nose running crosswise at the tip of the jaw. According to the patent, it is for "splitting the fuse prior to splicing."



« Last Edit: February 08, 2020, 04:57:13 PM by Plyerman »
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Offline Plyerman

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Re: Mining and blasting pliers
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2015, 09:27:24 PM »
Patent for the Erbele pliers. Invented by a Mr. John F. Erbele of Beulah, North Dakota.






« Last Edit: February 08, 2020, 05:00:32 PM by Plyerman »
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Offline Yadda

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Re: Mining and blasting pliers
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2015, 10:01:36 PM »
Boom!  Great tools!

My grandfather and my father were working on a job site. Somehow a few blasting caps ended up spread across the worksite. Obviously this was decades ago.   My grandfather told the foreman they should search for all the caps and make sure no one stepped on one and lost a foot.  The foreman told him to get back to work.  He added that the caps weren't dangerous.  Thirty minutes later the foreman got in his vehicle to go get something and almost instantly lost a tire to a blasting cap explosion.  The foreman had everyone stop work until the blasting caps were picked up.  Although he didn't see him do it, Dad swears to this day that his father placed the blasting cap under the tire. 
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Offline mvwcnews

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Re: Mining and blasting pliers
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2015, 11:11:04 PM »
Not only pliers for this type of work --
( http://www.datamp.org/patents/displayPatent.php?pn=613698&id=53235 ) is a Miner's pocket knife that would accomplish the cutting, crimping, etc.  I did the patent for DATAMP after running across an ad for the knife -- the illustration in the ad showed the patent date.

Offline EVILDR235

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Re: Mining and blasting pliers
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2015, 04:45:53 AM »
Good post with lots of cool information. I am sure at some time i have come across some of those pliers and passed on them because they looked strange and i had no idea what they were. In the future i will be looking for them.

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Offline Lewill2

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Re: Mining and blasting pliers
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2015, 06:13:36 AM »
Nice Thread Bob, interesting info. I purchased my Grandfather's property years ago. He had many different jobs road crew for the State, maintenance crew for the Delaware Canal etc. When cleaning out the garage I found a blasting cap. I had always heard of their dangers so I called the State police and they sent an officer to the house to get it. The officer told me that as long as the wires were crimped together they were pretty safe, it is when the wires are separated that radio signals static electricity etc. can set them off. The wires on the one I found were still crimped together from the manufacture. The officer took it and put it in his car and took off.

Offline Papaw

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Re: Mining and blasting pliers
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2015, 08:00:55 AM »
Quote
The officer took it and put it in his car and took off.

Wonder what they did with it later?
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Offline Lewill2

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Re: Mining and blasting pliers
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2015, 09:54:32 AM »
I assumed they had a way to get rid of it. I don't know for sure.