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Bovey Blasters: 1941

Bovey Blasters: 1941

August 1941. "Blasting crew in the Danube iron mine. Bovey, Minnesota." Medium format acetate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Safety glasses

And I thought they were a gathering of the Robert Woolsey fan club!

Those aren't tobacco cans

They are the tins that held the blasting caps that fired the dynamite. I remember my dad had his shot papers to shoot underground dynamite.

Happy Bunch

A really happy bunch. They get to blow things up!

Safety Specs

I have a very similar pair that belonged to my grandfather. He was a machinist during the run-up to WW2. If memory serves me the lenses are ground from quartz. My grandfather's pair has a deep scratch that was caused by something in a metal lathe shattering and the pieces flying everywhere. Better a scratched lens than a missing eye.


These cowboys look like they know how to joke and take a joke. I wouldn't be surprised if they had all put Groucho mustaches under their safety glasses for this picture.

Or Tape

As a longtime snuff chewer, I would agree that those are most likely smokeless tobacco cans, but there's a good possibility that those are rolls of electrical or friction tape, used to splice wire.

Light 'em up if you got 'em

Oh wait -- maybe that's why they're all using chewing tobacco.


Snus or snoose would be the local name for what's in those cans; a very common Scandanavian habit here back in the day.

Snuff cans

or hockey pucks in their shirts. I'm betting on "Red Man".


Wanted: Blast crew members. Must wear glasses. All others need not apply.

[The identical safety specs they're wearing are indeed mandatory. - Dave]

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