New York City, NY Building Explosion, Feb 1850

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TREMENDOUS EXPLOSION IN NEW YORK THIS MORNING !

FIFTY LIVES LOST !

New York, Feb. 4, 1850.
This morning about 8 o'clock, the neighborhood of Hague and Frankfort Streets was alarmed by a terrible explosion, the violence of which shook the buildings, and caused the ground to tramble for several blocks around, while in the immediate vicinity, the glass was shattered from the windows. The concussion was so violent and seemingly lasted so long, as to bear the resemblance of an earthquake.
This was succeeded by a cry of fire, and in a few moments thousands were pouring in from every direction -- firemen with their engines, laborers on their way to their day's work, and business men leaving their stores.
On repairing among others to the spot we found that the explosion was at the establishment of A. B. Taylor, Esq., a well known printing press manufacturer in Hague Street, and from our knowledge of the extent of his concern, we felt, before enquiring, that a mournful loss of life must inevitably be one of the consequences.
While we write, it is impossible to state the precise amount of damage done, or the number of lives which have been thus suddenly cut off. Mr. Taylor, employed 60 or 70 hands, nearly every one of whom had assembled and commenced work for the day at the time of the accident. It is feared that very few of them have lived to report the tale of the disaster by which whey were overtaken.
Within a week or two changes had been made in the boilers, by which the powerful machinery of Mr. Taylor's establishment was driven, and it is apprehended that some defect either in the manufacture or the adjustment of some part of it, was the origin of the terrible catastrophe. As usual, on Monday morning, the firemen had started the fires under it at an earlier hour then commonly, on account of its getting cold while standing unused over Sunday, and hardly had steam been raised and motion communicated to the shafting, when the explosion took place, and in an instant the upper part of the building was blown completely off, and the fire communicated to the remainder.
Besides the establishment of MR. TAYLOR, there was in the same building that of ST. JOHN, BURR & Co., hat body manufacturers, who gave employment to about 65 men and boys, all, or nearly all of these had assembled for the day, and some were just coming in at the time.
1 P.M. -- Latest report is from the explosion states that 23 dead bodies have been recovered. It is now believed that one hundred lives have been lost by the accident.
Several badly hurt were taken to the Hospital. The shouts of many who were entirely covered up in the ruins could be heard, and caused the most intense interest and excitement amont the spectators.
In the Machine shop and Hat shop together there were usually 130 hands employed. Probably there were from 100 to 120 men and boys present at the time of the explosion.
Up to 12 o'clock, about 29 had been taken out from the ruins, so that there must be some 60 or 70 of them still in the hat shop. Most of the hands were present.
It has been stated by one of the men taken from the ruins that it was an old steamboat boiler patched up.
The proprietors and friends state, however, that it was a new Montgomery boiler, and the accident is accounted for by the intense frost last night cooling down the boiler to a low degree of temperature; and then the fire being applied suddenly and with too great force, this morning, caused an undue expansion of it and thus produced the explosion.

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