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Atlantic Dynamite Company payroll books

Creation: 1872-1898
Accession: 2706


The Atlantic Dynamite Company was one of the largest manufacturers of dynamite in the United States between 1882 and 1904. These are four volumes containing entries listing employees, hours worked, and wages paid at a dynamite plant at Kenvil, New Jersey.


  • Creation: 1872-1898



4 volume(s)

Historical Note

The Atlantic Dynamite Company was one of the largest manufacturers of dynamite in the United States between 1882 and 1904. The company was organized in California on November 2, 1870 and was named the Atlantic Giant Powder Company. Formal incorporation papers were filed on June 12, 1876. It was designed to be the eastern affiliate of the Giant Powder Company of San Francisco, a major manufacturer of dynamite, and in 1871 constructed a plant at McCainsville (Kenvil), New Jersey, southwest of Dover and near a major iron-mining area. About ten Chinese immigrant workers had to be sent from San Francisco to get the plant up and running, the last staying until 1879. On April 15, 1874, the Giant Powder Company transferred to the Atlantic Giant Powder Company all the rights to the Nobel dynamite patents for the territory roughly lying east of the Rocky Mountains.

Rival companies viewed the subsidiary at Kenvil as a growing concern for business in the area and began purchasing stock. By 1882, a major competitor, the Laflin & Rand Powder Company (L&R), and two dynamite industry execuitves, cousins, Lammot du Pont (1831-1884) and William du Pont (1855-1928) had acquired a one-third interest in the Atlantic Giant Powder Company at Kenvil. It was enough ownership control to be able to reorganize and rename the company, the Atlantic Dynamite Company.

The E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company (DuPont Company) was a black powder and explosives manufacturing company; and a major competitor of the Laflin & Rand Powder Company at the time. Lammot du Pont and William du Pont were both affiliated with the DuPont Company among other leading gunpowder and explosives companies, such as the Repauno Chemical Company. A separate New Jersey holding company, the Atlantic Dynamite Company of New Jersey, was incorporated on June 29, 1895. Also in 1895, the Eastern Dynamite Company was formed to hold the stocks of the Repauno Chemical Company and other dynamite producers. The DuPont Company purchased the Laflin & Rand Powder Company in 1902. The Kenvil Works passed into the hands of the Eastern Dynamite Company in June 1904 and thus was under the complete control of the du Pont family and DuPont Company interests. The DuPont Company had been found to be in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, and was court-ordered to breakup ownership of its explosives manufacturing businesses in 1911 to 1912, the ownership of the Kenvil Plant passed to the newly formed Hercules Powder Company.

Scope and Content

The volumes are monthly payroll registers in which the number of hours worked and wages paid are entered. In the first volume, workers signed their named or made their marks by the pay entry. The first volume also contains the names of the first Chinese workers. In the later volumes, the workers time is entered as a total and then broken down by department.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions on access; this collection is open for research.

Related Material

Atlantic Giant Powder Company and Atlantic Dynamite Company corporate records (Accession 500, Series II, Part 1), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Language of Materials


Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Atlantic Dynamite Company payroll books
Christopher T. Baer
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
Script of description:

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA