Disasters · Newspaper clippings · Wisconsin

Man dies approximately 27 hours after biting into firecracker he thought was a candy

July 5, 1912
Appleton, Wisconsin
A man dies after biting into a firecracker, believing it to be a piece of candy

On July 3, Andrew Hoffman (52) had a pocket full of candies and torpedos (a type of fuseless firecracker that explodes on impact). At the time, most torpedos were spherical and approximately the size of a marble. Hoffman kept the torpedos in the same pocket as some hard candies with a similar size, shape, and wrapper. He took what he thought was a piece of candy, popped it in his mouth, and bit down forcefully with the intention of breaking the hard candy with one bite. The resulting explosion left “a star-shaped wound two and a half inches in length the five points extending in different directions of the mouth; the flesh was torn from the jaw and four teeth two upper and two lower, were knocked out, while others were loosened.”

Hoffman died at approximately 1 a.m. on July 5 from a brain concussion.

Clipping: The Post-Crescent (Appleton, Wisconsin) July 5, 1912

Examples of antique torpedo fireworks

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