Austin Demolition: The Fascinating History

Posted: June 6, 2013 in Austin Demolition Services
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A demolition worker preparing a job site in the early 1900s.

Did you know that the first recorded instance of demolition was all the way back in the 1600s?

Workers in Hungary were recorded using gunpowder to blast rocks away. Other countries soon followed their example and within a few years, England miners were also using gunpowder to blast away rocks. Later, Switzerland was the first country to use gunpowder to blast way construction sites.

It took demolition almost 250 years to come to America, but when it came, it came in a big way. In the 1850’s, San Francisco was being ravished by wildfires. At a time when almost every building was made from flammable material, one wildfire could completely devastate the entire city.  City officials panicked and decided that to suppress the wildfires, it would be necessary to demolish buildings in their path.

That’s right, in order to prevent wildfires from spreading, city officials decided to COMPLETELY DEMOLISH buildings in their path. It went over about as well as you would expect with homeowners whose houses were in the line of fire and demolition developed a negative reputation.

Then in the 1860’s, Alfred Nobel invented dynamite, effectively revolutionizing demolition.

Dynamite was used almost immediately to create trenches, blast rock and get rid of trees. By the late 1800’s, dynamite was being used to demolish entire buildings.

As dynamite became more and more popular, new safety regulations were put into place. With the increasing popularity of demolition and the new safety regulations, explosive demolition lost its negative reputation and became regarded as little more than another construction technique to the public.

And the rest as they say is history…

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P.S. A big thanks to Implosion World Magazine for helping with this post!


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