Halfwit History

33 - Water, Earth, Fire, Molasses

January 20, 2020 Jonathan & Kiley Season 1 Episode 33
Halfwit History
33 - Water, Earth, Fire, Molasses
Halfwit History
33 - Water, Earth, Fire, Molasses
Jan 20, 2020 Season 1 Episode 33
Jonathan & Kiley

This week Kiley tries to survive a wicked sticky mess, and Jonathan gets told he can't multiply.

Topics: The Boston Molasses Flood, The Act Against Multipliers

Music: "Another Day" by The Fisherman.

You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and visit our website at www.halfwit-history.com!

Reach out, say hello, or suggest a topic at HalfwitPod@gmail.com  

Support the show (https://www.ko-fi.com/halfwithistory)

Show Notes Transcript

This week Kiley tries to survive a wicked sticky mess, and Jonathan gets told he can't multiply.

Topics: The Boston Molasses Flood, The Act Against Multipliers

Music: "Another Day" by The Fisherman.

You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and visit our website at www.halfwit-history.com!

Reach out, say hello, or suggest a topic at HalfwitPod@gmail.com  

Support the show (https://www.ko-fi.com/halfwithistory)

spk_0:   0:33
Hi and welcome to 1/2 with history. I'm Jonathan,

spk_1:   0:35
and I'm Kylie. And here we are

spk_0:   0:37
for a second episode in a row for the show that where we tell you about what's happening in the upcoming week in history,

spk_1:   0:44
sometimes a long time ago. I'm not very long, though. This time

spk_0:   0:47
I'm very longer. This time it looks like I'm going first. In case you didn't hear in the last episode, we're recording three in a row. And this is number two.

spk_1:   0:56
So now we're like, Speed it up. Speed it up. Let's go, Let's

spk_0:   0:59
go. One more after this. And it is already 10.

spk_1:   1:03
48 48. Wow. I

spk_0:   1:06
wasn't hoping to see that number. It It's gonna be a long night. There are no updates from last episode because it was Let me check my freckles two minutes

spk_1:   1:18
ago. Well, it ended two minutes ago. It started five minutes ago,

spk_0:   1:22
right? Okay. I need to get comfortable.

spk_1:   1:30
We're still adjusting to this whole, uh, actually going to sit comfortably while we podcast thing.

spk_0:   1:35
Yeah, it's weirdly uncomfortable.

spk_1:   1:37
I am literally about to fall asleep. So it's a little too comfortable.

spk_0:   1:40
Yeah, If she got quiet in the last episode. Sorry. It was starting to drift away from the microphone. E silently hand signal for her to get closer to the mike again.

spk_1:   1:51
It isn't me a significant amount of time to realize that's what he was doing.

spk_0:   1:55
Uh, okay, So what week is this for?

spk_1:   2:00
This is January 13 through the 19th

spk_0:   2:03
guys. That's the week that we're in right now. Where we've almost done it. We've almost caught up.

spk_1:   2:09
It's a freaking miracle.

spk_0:   2:11
Okay, so my topic is on January 13 of 14 04 The Act Against Multipliers Act is passed by the English Parliament. Now,

spk_1:   2:20
what the heck is that?

spk_0:   2:22
Yeah, what is the act against multipliers? I was kind of assuming that the king was mad that people were having too much sex and thought out the fliers were like a derogatory term. Something like, What else could multipliers be?

spk_1:   2:36
I see I was over here like maybe he just really hates math. Math is awful. I mean, I'm in that boat too. So

spk_0:   2:44
So what he was actually talking about We're alchemists.

spk_1:   2:49
Oh, yeah. Alright.

spk_0:   2:51
So these were people who could claim that they could make something more valuables from something else entirely.

spk_1:   2:57

spk_0:   2:58
they were multiplying their wealth.

spk_1:   3:01
Ah, I see.

spk_0:   3:05
So Europe Europe hadn't paid much attention to these kooky alchemist during the medieval dark ages because there was only religion and people with power. So science or attempts at it were definitely heretical.

spk_1:   3:18
Or this pseudo science. Yeah, I would call it a suit. A Zion's.

spk_0:   3:25
Well, you're gonna learn a little bit about me today.

spk_1:   3:27
Well, I mean, maybe

spk_0:   3:28
maybe you'll retract that in some. Well, Becks, maybe you'll see. We'll continue

spk_1:   3:36
to see how it goes.

spk_0:   3:37
So as we approach the end of the Middle Ages, these alchemists started getting popular. So if they weren't being yelled out of their towns for witchcraft or whatever heresy they were talking about, they were starting to get hired by lords of kingdoms.

spk_1:   3:52
This almost sounds like the like. Essential oils move it.

spk_0:   3:57
If we talk about anything, even like prior to the nineties, it's essentially pseudoscience. So

spk_1:   4:04
that's you

spk_0:   4:07
even then, still pretty rough.

spk_1:   4:09
There ist I mean, clearly, from our last episode, there were still some questionable things being called science, even up to the present.

spk_0:   4:17
Yeah. So why

spk_1:   4:19
were people hiring alchemists

spk_0:   4:21
all of a sudden. It's because they were starting to claim that they could make gold from any cheaper metal.

spk_1:   4:26
Yes, see, that's what I'm talking about with the It's not really

spk_0:   4:29
Yep, So King Henry the fourth could not stand for this. He recently had a few attempts of people trying to unseat him from his throne. And while hiring an alchemist to make him more money and power seem tempting, he was more frightened by the premise of them making their own money, amassing new power and trying to unseat him with their newly gained riches.

spk_1:   4:48
Fair enough because, like, I'm pretty sure Henry the fourth was the one that was involved in the War of the Roses. I have no idea. Oh, okay, well, anyway, movie God, pretty sure.

spk_0:   5:01
So Henry, the fourth created the act against multipliers, where it was stated that quote that none from here after should use to multiply gold or silver or use the craft of multiplication. He probably did hate math, and if the same do they incur the pain of felony,

spk_1:   5:21
what was the ah, punishment for felony? Was it being blinded?

spk_0:   5:27
Maybe it's long ago. It's probably just jail time. E. I don't know. So let's learn about alchemy a bit, because justice. Sorry. As they were starting to make headway, the alchemists were forced back into hiding again. Lips, water, earth. No fire air. Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony. Then everything changed when King Henry the fourth attack.

spk_1:   5:56

spk_0:   5:58
So I am joking a little bit, but I guess, um a better quote, non avatar related for alchemy would be humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return to obtain something of equal value. To obtain something. Something of equal value must be lost. That is alchemy is first law of equivalent exchange. In those days, we really did believe that the world we'd really did believe that to be the world's one and only truth

spk_1:   6:32
is that from full metal ideas, Yukio, you nerd

spk_0:   6:40
tried to trick you by going the avatar rumors and then jumping back. Get

spk_1:   6:43
that C.

spk_0:   6:46
Okay, so I'll get on to the actual real stuff now. Cheese. No more jokes.

spk_1:   6:52
Uh, share. Now. I'm just gonna, like, assume everything that comes out of your mouth from here on out is a quote from something else.

spk_0:   6:57
Final talking like serious voice. So alchemy for started in Egypt. Back then it was less, I don't know, I'm snaked.

spk_1:   7:07
That was not sonically pleasant. No, sorry, listeners.

spk_0:   7:12
So alchemy first started in Egypt. Back then, it was less about creating gold from base metals, which is a rather modern view of alchemy and more about the circle of life and achieving immortality. This was the fundamental basis of alchemy creating the immortality, which is the basis of the animate full metal alchemist. So I wasn't entirely joking by bringing that up.

spk_1:   7:33
Yeah, the whole time. You're saying like, I know what this is from, but it's also like is what I think Think

spk_0:   7:42
so. The Egyptians learned a lot from this early form of alchemy that they invented. So how do we know that they learned a lot mummification? They were always messing around with chemicals, trying to better preserve their rulers for their religious rituals. And they did quite a bit of that when it came to learning how the elements and chemicals interacted with each other and their effects on the living or newly deceased.

spk_1:   8:09
That's actually

spk_0:   8:09
Pringle. Yeah. So first alchemist Egyptians? Yeah. Where's the Yukio joke? Where's the Ugo joke Couldn't find it. Sorry,

spk_1:   8:18
I know nothing about Ugo. So

spk_0:   8:21
So our understanding of alchemy quickly changes from spiritual rituals to creating immortality. Around 332 b. C. When Alexander the Great conquered Egypt,

spk_1:   8:32
of course it was him.

spk_0:   8:34
Yes, he's great. So when the Greek philosophers learned about the chemical studies in the sacred rituals of the Egyptians, they tacked on their current philosophies to quote unquote improve it,

spk_1:   8:46
I'm sure

spk_0:   8:47
Good going, guys. Literally undoing many years of chemical insight by letting some old guys in togas talk about it for too long. So what did the Greeks ad Water, Earth, fire, God and air. So I wasn't joking about the Avatar stuff either, because that is what they added to the Egyptian alchemy. Of course, it waas Yep, was not a throwaway line. So the Greeks believed that the four elements made up all matter in that studying the elements would give us a better understanding of the world spoiler. Much like the four humans of the four humors of the body theory,

spk_1:   9:24
I was actually just didn't do

spk_0:   9:25
it. But whatever the Greeks are doing their own thing, um and Alexander the great has ah, heck of a lot of land. But the Egyptians can keep on churning along with their real science. Right? Wrong, Theo. Egyptians kept quite a lot of their alchemical studies in a great library

spk_1:   9:46
on. And you know

spk_0:   9:49
why some angry Christians came through and burned it to the ground, erasing 400,000 scrolls of knowledge from history. Thank you, Christians for burning the Great Library of Alexandria

spk_1:   10:02
and still makes me sad.

spk_0:   10:04
Gone all of their studies. So was it gone

spk_1:   10:10
the every librarians Worst nightmare.

spk_0:   10:13
Yeah, What a massive collection of knowledge that was probably way ahead of its time.

spk_1:   10:20
Now I'm just gonna be super depressed for the rest of

spk_0:   10:22
it. Sorry. So just to remind you again, it's all gone.

spk_1:   10:28
Ah, you know what? So how did

spk_0:   10:31
alchemy end up making it all the way back to the 14 hundreds with King Henry the fourth?

spk_1:   10:35
I don't know, but I bet you're about to tell me

spk_0:   10:37
I am. Uh, India had actually independently started its own form of alchemy. Completely separate from the Egyptians in the Greek.

spk_1:   10:44
Interesting. I didn't know that.

spk_0:   10:46
Yep. It's a what did you A belief that There were two types of elements internal and external. This was also very similar to Chinese alchemy, which was also independent of Greek and Egyptian. So a few different culture started alchemy around the same time.

spk_1:   11:03
You know, if anyone's alchemy can cure this cold, that'd be great.

spk_0:   11:07
Kylie literally just has tissues stuffed up nose. Sorry for sounds weird.

spk_1:   11:12
Dying, legitimately dying.

spk_0:   11:18
So there were the elements minerals and metals that you would put into your body. And there were things like meditation and exercise to help balance your body from the outside. Okay, this was their form of alchemy, both for Indian and Chinese. They believed in kind of, you know, the chakras and meditation, and yeah, I

spk_1:   11:35
mean, like, people take vitamins.

spk_0:   11:38
And that's essentially what they did way before anyone else took vitamins. So, like, that's the Chinese in the Indian were very much about that. Mean so part of their studies on minerals actually led to India being the first country to invent steel. Uh, and another interesting discovery from India is that when medals burned, they change the color of the flame. That's consuming that.

spk_1:   12:01
Yes, I know.

spk_0:   12:02
So cool. Yep. So this really perpetuated alchemy because it was like, Whoa, look, look like magic. Yeah,

spk_1:   12:10
Yeah, that's why I like magicians and stuff will do, like if they have, um we're not magicians, but you know what I mean? Like the like. Throw the powder in the firing will change color. It's like, done, Yeah, it's cool. I fall

spk_0:   12:24
for it every time. So if you can guess from earlier hints, um, part of this metal study and minerals ended up leading towards the theory that there was a purity of metals in that all metals were the same metal just a different purity, ese. And obviously where I'm going is gold, which they all viewed as the purest form of metal according to the Arabian alchemy that they adopted from Indian alchemy. And the this was incredibly enticing to Spain when the theory made it to them. And from there it spread like wildfire all over Europe. Once again,

spk_1:   13:04
that sounds about right.

spk_0:   13:07
So during this time is when European alchemists developed the idea that the philosophers the idea of a philosopher's stone. So Harry Potter and full metal alchemist fans probably immediately recognize this as they stone that grants or immortality Yes. Which that idea, which was largely Chinese. They called it The pill of immortality. Just was that the stone was needed to purify the other metals into gold. And now we've gone full circle. Yeah. So did the act of multipliers work. It did. Until 16 89 which was about 285 years later.

spk_1:   13:46
So it works for Henriquez. He dead?

spk_0:   13:49
Oh, yeah, definitely. Um, so his fears of being unseated by alchemy did not

spk_1:   13:54
happen. Good for him.

spk_0:   13:57
So what's 285 years of potential scientific progress prevented in the long scheme of things, right. We already had, like, 1000 or so years. What's another 300 gonna do to that? Beats me. Yeah, well, one, sir Robert Boyle had something to say about that. Voil, if you don't recognize the name is the father of chemistry. He and Isaac Newton, the father of physics, were also alchemists.

spk_1:   14:26
I feel like I'm not surprised by that information.

spk_0:   14:29
You shouldn't be. I mean, some of the smartest people from back then also had some pretty like heinous beliefs.

spk_1:   14:35
Yeah, like, oh, well, I can make gold, but also, like gravity's a thing, right? You know, you win some,

spk_0:   14:42
you lose some. Right? So Isaac Newton and Robert Boiled could not stand that this law was still in place 285 years later. So Boyle had put a lot of effort into lobbying to get the law repealed. And he did.

spk_1:   15:06
Good job. Yeah, uh, had the system's supposed to work?

spk_0:   15:09
Yeah. So he got rid of it because even though he largely found it to be complete quackery, even though he also dabbled in it, he was unhappy that it was banned because even though he knew that you cannot turn lead to gold, he didn't think that there was any reason to try and stop someone from trying.

spk_1:   15:35
Fair enough. I mean, yeah,

spk_0:   15:37
yeah. I mean, that's basically scientific theory in general is just keep trying. Keep trying. Maybe maybe we'll learn. Justcause yesterday's impossible. Doesn't mean tomorrow it isn't.

spk_1:   15:49
Yeah, that what have

spk_0:   15:51
something backwards like that it is getting late.

spk_1:   15:53
It is getting very late.

spk_0:   15:55
Eso some famous alchemists, I guess since I did that famous people who wanted to be cryogenically frozen else keep with the trend. Sounds good. Famous alchemists. 1st 1 we've got is Nicholas Flamel? Yep. Again, we should bring the years of Harry Potter fans since

spk_1:   16:09
the creator

spk_0:   16:10
of the Philosopher's Stone. Yep, but did you know he was really?

spk_1:   16:14
Yes. Oh, good know that.

spk_0:   16:15
So he was a French manuscript writer who also dabbled in alchemy, and the part about him discovering the philosopher's stone comes from text that he wrote about it nearly 200 years after his death.

spk_1:   16:28
Ah, what?

spk_0:   16:30
Yep, it's all there is to that. They found manuscript is dated 200 years after he supposedly died. That talked about his discovery of the philosopher's stone, which is why we have that myth or folklore that Nicholas Flamel found the stone of immortality.

spk_1:   16:49
I'm going with it. It could. I really liked it,

spk_0:   16:52
very likely is just a prank, but

spk_1:   16:54
right, but I'm going with it. I am in my mind that is cannon. That is truth.

spk_0:   16:59
So another alchemist that we have is Johann Faust, an alchemist, astrologer and magician. The reputation that surrounded his talents led many to create folktales after his death, the most famous one being that he traded his soul for 24 years of the devil's powers. Memphis awfully meth fist Ofili's. I met him in the woods and granted him this, and Faust was able to travel the world. Learned many things, meet many people in perform wild alchemy and magics. But on the 24th year, a loud noise was heard from Faust room. His companions rushed to see what happened and just saw a room covered in blood, his eyes rolling around on the floor,

spk_1:   17:37
who so like combustion? Nope. That's burning. Oh, right. Yeah, He just kind of exploded.

spk_0:   17:49
Yeah. So the folklore

spk_1:   17:51
goes well, all right.

spk_0:   17:53
And we got another one, Mr Roger Bacon, who I almost exclusively included from in this list because of an article I found from Stanford. It quotes the historical accuracy of his condemnation for using alchemy to study theology, has been questioned by some bacon scholars and is now seen as some No. It is now seen by some as a later retrospection. Bacon scholars. That's the only thing I remember.

spk_1:   18:21
I think that that's what I'm picking up

spk_0:   18:23
a job that would be a bacon scholar.

spk_1:   18:27
You didn't know that. You'd have to, like, actually study his writings, right? You know, eyes. All right. If there is a job out there. That's just eating bacon. Signed me up.

spk_0:   18:39
Oh, and lastly, we'll go with the alchemist. Alex Louise Armstrong. No, I lied. That's another full metal alchemist. Scared,

spk_1:   18:46
uh, eyes

spk_0:   18:48
a big, beefy man who sparkles when he rips his shirt

spk_1:   18:51
off. And he has, like, that one little like, curl thing.

spk_0:   18:55
His alchemy is fighting with his fists because that's alchemy.

spk_1:   18:58
Yeah. Wow. His sister Scary. So it's fine.

spk_0:   19:02
That's right. Okay, under your topic, Right. I forgot. You're like, falling asleep.

spk_1:   19:08
You know, I forgot ahead and gone yet I'm so used to going first. All right, So a special thanks to our friend Laura, who sent us this topic. I don't think it was intentional, but I'm taking it.

spk_0:   19:21
Oh, I was unaware of this.

spk_1:   19:23
Nah. Ha ha. So the morning of January 15th of 1919 done bright and warm. Ah, Welcome change. From the frigid cold of the last several days, the people of the north and neighborhood in Boston, Massachusetts, likely embraced the warm front, strolling the streets, lingering between shops and errands, not quite wanting to spend the whole day indoors. The Bostonians enjoyed this unexpectedly. Nice day. No,

spk_0:   19:48
no, no.

spk_1:   19:49
What is he going? Not realizing that disaster was waiting to strike. Well, who's around 12 3 PM People began to feel the ground shake. Some may have thought it was an earthquake, but a roaring sound accompanied the shaking. Some witnesses described it as a long rumbling, like an elevated train. Others reported a tremendous crashing. A deep growling, a thunder like bang and a machine gun like sound as confused pedestrians looked for the source of the sound. I'm sure most of them could not believe their eyes as a giant wall of brown goo surged through the streets, it was molasses. And I'm talking about the great molasses flood.

spk_0:   20:32
Yes. Tragic day in our Massachusetts history,

spk_1:   20:36
Yes. And now I'm sure, Jonathan, you being from Massachusetts and all, you're probably already fairly familiar.

spk_0:   20:43
I'm very familiar with this story. So I'm just gonna sit back and relax and sleep like Kylie was trying. T o read you this really awful tale.

spk_1:   20:53
It's like it's not great. Guys is not great. Like the idea of a molasses flood Sounds pretty funny. And then you actually look at it and go Oh, no. So buckle up. So the purity distilling company had a facility at 5 29 commercial Street, which is near Keeney Square In the north end, molasses can be fermented to produce ethanol, which is the active ingredient in alcoholic beverages and a key component in munitions. So appear to use the harborside commercial street tank to offload molasses from ships and to store it for later transfer by pipeline to their ethanol plant that was situated between Willow Street and ever tease way in Cambridge. Now I'm gonna find that. So the molasses tanks stood 50 feet tall and 90 feet in diameter, and it contained as much as 2.3 million gallons or 12,000 tons of molasses. It's a lot of molasses. It is. You really weren't kidding about just sitting back and listening.

spk_0:   22:05
You gotta call me out like this has literally all you do whenever I talk.

spk_1:   22:08
Yeah, but like at least my mikes in a place where I can reach it without having to try. There you go. Okay, that's better.

spk_0:   22:19
I didn't want to be breathing into it while you're talking.

spk_1:   22:21
That's what you do. You turn your head away. Okay? So the causes of the molasses flood have been greatly debated, but it seems like there are several major issues that contributed. The tank was constructed poorly, and it was tested inefficiently and the harbor blew. The carbon dioxide production might have raised the internal pressure due to fermentation in the tank. Another contributing factor factor was the rapid rise in temperature in Boston, um, the day before, and it went from two degrees to 41 degrees Fahrenheit. So, like that's a pretty pretty rapid up defrosting. I guess

spk_0:   23:02
we literally did that this week.

spk_1:   23:03
I know. I'm like waiting for the reports that another molasses tank

spk_0:   23:07
burst. Hopefully, we've learned our lesson.

spk_1:   23:10
We're New Englanders. We don't learn any lessons, especially not with something that is used in, like the Boston baked beans. Um, okay, so additionally, a fresh delivery of molasses that had been warm to reduce its viscosity was transferred the day before, and the failure occurred at a manhole cover near the base of the tank where there could have been a like fatigue crack. So, like not examining the tank and not actually like making sure everything was working properly was definitely like a key factor in this. So this is possibly due to the thermal expansion of the older cold. Molasses is that was already inside, but the tank burst open and then collapsed, flooding the north end with sticky molasses. For anyone who's interested in the science, see part of this molasses is density is about 1.4 tons per cubic meter, or 40% more dense than water. So it has a great deal of potential energy, and the collapse translated this energy into a wave of molasses 25 feet high at its peak that moved at about 35 miles per hour. So, like that's like a slow car. That's a very fast moving, sticky, sticky substance. No. Yeah, and what this means is that the wave had sufficient force to drive steel panels of the burst tank against the girders of the adjacent Boston elevated railways. Atlantic Avenue structure of that actually tipped a streetcar momentarily off of the tracks. Nearby buildings were swept off their foundations and crushed, and several blocks were flooded to a depth of 2 to 3 feet. And remember molasses, a super sticky like very sticky. I don't know if anyone else is cooked with it, but like it's extremely sticky. So The Boston Globe reported that people quote, were picky, picks up by the rush of air and hurled many feet. Other people had debris hurled at them from the rush of the sweet smelling air. So, like just like the air that was coming before the like, thick wall of mud like push people over. A truck was picked up and hurled into Boston Harbor. And after the initial wave, the molasses became viscous, which, um, exasperated by the cold temperatures trapped anyone who is caught in the wave, which made it even more difficult for others to rescue them. It's like if you got swept off your feet and we're laying down, you were like, like, Imagine, kind of like you fell into a giant vat of like like custard or something. We're like it's extremely hard to move any of your limbs or anything like that, like is not sorting through water. It's very much like there's a lot of resistance there to any sort of movement, so if you fell down, you were in

spk_0:   26:14
a lot of trouble. I'm pretty sure there was a Mythbusters episode where they slammed through different viscosity ease. I don't remember what it was for. But I think molasses was one of the things that they tried to slip through.

spk_1:   26:24
Probably. Well, we'll get to some scientific stuff later. Um, where was I? Right, So for anyone, um, thinking that this was a funny book mark of history. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but 21 people and several horses were killed, and about 100 and 50 more people was pretty in fairly injured. Of those killed, two were 10 year old Children. Three of them were young adults who were 17 18 and 21 years old. Six were employees of the North and Paving Yard. And then another one was a firefighter who was stationed at the like state. The firefighting, the firehouse that was like directly across the street from the the tank. So, like, didn't really stand a chance. Guys him. So some of the people were crushed or drowned by the molasses on, and then some were, like, burried by the debris that it carried with it. I'm in my mind pretty much imagining the tar pits from the land before time movies.

spk_0:   27:32
Oh, yeah,

spk_1:   27:33
That always had, like, the skeletons of dinosaurs that had gotten stuck in them and, like, couldn't leave. So all in all, it was probably a really traumatic experience for everyone. Some of you may be wondering if the North and still smells like molasses, and the answer is thankfully, no, Um, I'm a gingerbread cake for the holidays this year, and molasses has a very potent smell. I don't even want to imagine what 2.3 million gallons of it would smell like, Um, and after the flood, coughing fits became one of the most common ailments that the people of the North End like had. So like it probably wasn't great for your health, either.

spk_0:   28:12
No, for reference, in case anyone does know Boston, it is next to the North and Carling Club, where this flood happened, like pretty much right next to it, and it's just a little bit north of the Old North church. The Old North Church was probably close to or touched by the flood. It looks like it's close enough that that's possible.

spk_1:   28:32
Yeah, I mean, like, it went for a fair bit. It was extensive, so as to like, kind of bring this up a notch, as Mister Rogers would say, Look for the helpers and luckily, there were plenty. The first to the scene were, Ah, 116 cadets under the direction of Lieutenant Commander H. J. Copeland from the U. S s Nantucket, which was a training ship of the Massachusetts Nautical School, which is now the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. And it was Dr Nearby at the playground pier, they ran several blocks towards the accident and then work to keep the curious people like onlookers from getting in the way of the rescuers or, you know, from getting stuck themselves. The others also entered the knee deep, sticky mess to pull out any survivors. The Boston Police, the Red Cross, the army and the Navy personnel soon arrived. Some nurses from the Red Cross even dove into the molasses, while others tended to the injured, keeping them warm and feeding the exhausted rescue workers. Many of these people worked through the night, and the injured were so numerous that doctor's insurgents set up a makeshift hospital in the nearby buildings. Rescuers found it difficult to make their way through the syrup to help the victims, and four days elapsed before they stopped searching. Many of the dead were so glazed over and molasses that they were hard to recognize. Other victims were swept into Boston Harbor and were found 3 to 4 months after the disaster. So, like a long, long time

spk_0:   30:06
that is waiting to be

spk_1:   30:08
finding molasses flood victims, local residents brought a class action suit against the United States industrial alcohol company U. S. I. A. Which is the parent company of the purity. Distilling it is. It was one of the first class action suits of Massachusetts, and it's considered a milestone and paving the way for modern corporate regulation. That's really cool. Yeah. The company claimed that the tank had been blown up by Italian anarchists, and they were exploiting the anti Italian sentiments of the time, especially because the North End was fairly heavily Italian. Um, but a court appointed Oh and, um, sons. Molasses was sometimes used in making munitions during World War One, which we're talking about 1919 so a lot of anti Italian like anti that kind of general area sentiment going around. But a court appointed auditor found us I A responsible for three years. After three years of hearings and the company ultimately paid out 628,000. And damages, which adjusted for inflation, is about 9.26 million today. Woo pretty not bad. So relatives of those killed reportedly received around 7000 per victim, which is equivalent to about 100 3000 today. Cleanup crews used salt water from a fireboat to wash away the molasses and then sand to absorb it. And the harbor was brown with molasses until summer. Like a long time to have that leftover.

spk_0:   31:41
Let's be real. That harbor in that river were brown much for the molasses. Fled

spk_1:   31:47
directly, right? Actually, well Ah, yeah. No, this is like early 19 hundreds. Yeah, it was probably brown for different reasons. You're probably right. Um, the cleanup in the immediate area took weeks with several 100 100 people contributing to the effort, but it took even longer to clean the rest of Greater Boston and its suburbs. Rescue workers, cleanup crews and sightseers had all tracked molasses throughout the streets, and, um had spread it to subway platforms to the seats inside the trains and the streetcars to pay telephones and into homes and countless other places And the quote that I found was everything that a Bostonian touched was sticky. Gross. Yeah. Yuck. So some other things to consider in the realm of the causes of the molasses flood are that the tank had only ever been filled to capacity like it was that day eight times since it had been built. So the walls have been put under an intermittent, intermittent cyclical load. So, like being filled to the brim and then not in the Ming filled to the brim, really kind of put stress on it. Right? Um, alternately, the purity distilling company may have been trying to outpace Prohibition as the 18th Amendment was ratified the next day and took effect one year later. So they might have been trying to like up their stock of molasses so that it could be just like more of it could be distilled to try and beat out Prohibition. Additionally, an inquiry after the disaster revealed that Arthur Jell, which who was us aye, ayes treasurer, neglected the basic safety tests while he was overseeing the construction of the tank, like filling it with water, inefficient checks for leaks and ignoring warning signs like groaning noises each time the tank was filled. That should have been your first clue that something was wrong. If it groans and you do when you fill it with what, like what it's supposed to hold, something's wrong.

spk_0:   33:56
Maybe they just thought one of the other workers was really hungry.

spk_1:   33:59
Maybe. Ah, they use like a zombie. So he also had no architectural or engineering experience, which likely would have helped to know if the tank could actually be a bear. The load it was given, and it clearly couldn't, as when filled with molasses. The tank leaked so badly that it was painted brown to hide the leakage. So good job guys local residents would collect the leech molasses for their homes. And I'm hoping that they, like, collected it like as it leaked out and not like from it pulled on the ground because that would be a little gross in 2014 and investigation was done that applied modern engineering analysis and found that the steel was half a stick is it should have been for a tank of its size, and even with the lack steal of the lax standards of the day, it also lacks manganese and was made more brittle as a result. So, like everything that could have been wrong with the building of this thing, pretty much was wrong. Oh, boy, yeah, wasn't as thick as it should have been. Ish. Didn't have some of the stuff in it that should have been in it toe like keep it structurally sound. It was just a bad day. So to top it all off, the tanks rivets were also apparently flawed. And that's where the cracks first formed was at those rivet holes, which I don't know a whole lot about engineering. But I feel like the whole, like the fees, is holding it together pretty and foreign. Yes, fasteners are important. Okay, good. So in 2016 a team of scientists and students at Harvard University conducted extensive studies of the disaster, and they were trying to discern if reports and witness accounts were credible or if they had been exaggerated. The gathered data from many sources, including, um, 1919 newspaper articles, old maps and weather reports. And then they study the behaviour of cold corn syrup, flooding a scale model of the affected neighborhood. Dick, see how it how that reacted Ultimately, they determined that the reports of the high speed of the flood were, in fact, credible. They also determined that the stories of how quickly the viscosity of the molasses changed were accurate as well, with the warmer molasses cooling of thickening as it spread and encountered the winter cold temperatures like as the day went on, which seriously hampered the efforts to free victims before they suffocated. Which is what I was saying when you mentioned the Mythbusters. Is that like they did, like, tests on to see how quickly it cooled kind of thing. So, um, a direct result of the molasses flood was changes too many laws and regulations concerning construction sites. This included requirements for oversight by a licensed architect, a civil engineer. Hail, since that dude had neither qualifications and didn't know what he was doing, it's

spk_0:   37:04
crazy what happens when you actually pay for the right work,

spk_1:   37:06
right? So today they're properly formerly occupied by the molasses tank. Since U S I. A chose naturally build. Probably a good move. Um, and the North and Paving Company has become a yard for the Boston elevated. Became a yard for the Boston, elevated a Railway, which was the predecessor to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, also knows the M B T A, also known as sometimes my personal ao. So it's currently the site of a city owned recreational complex, which is officially named Langan Park, which features a Little League baseball field. Ah, playground in bocce courts. Now there's only a small plaque by the park that commemorates the flood, although some local residents claim that even now, on a hot summer day, you can still smell the molasses. Yeah, Yanks, can you? Actually,

spk_0:   38:05
no. That's just like one of those things that people who live in Boston will say just because it's Boston history. All right, well, well, Kylie blows her nose for the 100th time. Ah, let's go on to the call to action. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter at halfway history. You can find our patri on at Half Wit pod. You can send us an email to half wit pot at gmail dot com.

spk_1:   38:35
Yeah, we'd really appreciate any input, thoughts, suggestions, potential topic ideas like Gloria sent this one to our like D and D group chat and was like it was today, and I'm like I'm taking that. Um, so you need anything like that? Like it? We'd super appreciate. And we just love to hear from you guys.

spk_0:   38:56
Yeah, and make sure to ah, you know, give us ah, like or view or whatever you can do on whatever platforms you use. And if you can't do any of that, or you don't use platforms that support that kind of, you know, rating review system just share our stuff with your friends or people who like history. Um, you can share our website www dot half wit dash history dot com. If people aren't already used to podcasting that has links to all of our well one. It has all of our episodes on it. So you can listen right in the web site. Or, if they do, use the pod catcher. It has a list of all the different pod catchers that were listed on.

spk_1:   39:35
Yeah, um, so word of mouth is a huge, huge aspect of getting like our stuff out there. So we'd really appreciate your recommendations

spk_0:   39:46
years and also just want to give a thank you to the fishermen for the use of our theme song. Another day. You confined him in our show. Notes He has a soundcloud. Go listen to this stuff. It's all pretty good.

spk_1:   39:59
Yeah, is a fun fact time.

spk_0:   40:02
I think it's fun. Fact time.

spk_1:   40:03

spk_0:   40:06
I'm over him, man. Back Just when the

spk_1:   40:08
fun facts e Want

spk_0:   40:11
to get to my phone? Fax? Yeah, right. When is your fun fact? I only have one.

spk_1:   40:21
Then you should probably go first.

spk_0:   40:23
Okay. On January 14th of 16 99 Massachusetts holds a day of fasting for wrongly persecuting witches.

spk_1:   40:31
I saw that wanted to maybe laugh. I

spk_0:   40:34
figured I'd take that, considering Ah, people were persecuting or alchemists and calling them witches. So and yes, unbeknownst to me, Kylie at a Massachusetts topics. So my fun fact fit right in?

spk_1:   40:45
Yes. And I'm actually going to jump in on that whole Boston thing again. Look, on January 18th of 16 44 purpose perplexed Pilgrim's in Boston reported America's first UFO sighting. Oh, yes. I like the perplexed pilgrim's aspect of it because literally you're like, What the heck? What is that? Why are the lights falling from the sky?

spk_0:   41:11
This have anything to do with them? Dang natives.

spk_1:   41:14
Oh, okay. Well, then, that's

spk_0:   41:18
probably what they thought.

spk_1:   41:19
That is what they thought. What have they done?

spk_0:   41:22
Poor natives. Yeah. All right, well, we will see you again in just a few minutes. Um, we have a special announcement in the next episode is

spk_1:   41:34
Well, I'm so excited.

spk_0:   41:36
Okey doke. Well, as always, I've been your half

spk_1:   41:39
wit, and I'm your historian,

spk_0:   41:40
and we hope you listen in a few

spk_1:   41:42
more seconds. Five go.