Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Dynamite Idea

On this day in 1867 armaments manufacturer Alfred Nobel patented a new explosive which he called Dynamite. It changed warfare and the craft of bank robbery forever, and gave Alfred Nobel a nickname he disliked. In 1888 he read a premature obituary of himself in the newspaper and was so appalled by what people thought of him that he made a decision. To leave his immense wealth to an organization dedicated to undoing what he'd spent his life at. He was 54. You can call the Nobel Peace Prize a change of heart or a masterful public relations achievement, but one thing's certain: when people hear the name Nobel, the first thing that comes to mind isn't blowing people up. Alfred Nobel appears three times in A Book of Ages. His is only one of many life-changing moments I included in the book.

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