Cactus Jack wrote:BTW, Torpdeo, listed in the customer list is in PA, and not NY. I think at one time there may have been a powder plant there.
Actually, the term "torpedo" was in common use in the Pennsylvania oil fields, a torpedo being used to fracture or widen the opening to a well to increase production. There were many frightful accidents in the region in the late 1800s, when nitroglycerin being transported to a well site exploded, killing many people and horses transporting the explosive.
In the case of Torpedo, PA, I consulted "Place Names In Warren County, PA" by Ernest C. Miller, a reprint from the Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, published in 1971. Here's what Mr. Miller has to say about the origin of the name:
"Named from an incident when nitroglycerine, generally exploded by a falling weight in oil wells to increase production, failed to "go off" when struck by a train as the explosive was being transported to Clarendon, Warren County, PA."
Mr. Miller then goes on to reproduce an article from the Titusville Herald
of Feb. 24, 1882. I won't retype the entire article here except to mention that the incident involved a Dunkirk, Allegheny Valley and Pittsburgh passenger at Ross' Switch.
I'm a native of Warren County and heard many tales of how the name Torpedo originated over the tears (including one that railroad torpedos were amnufactured there) but respect Mr. Miller's many years of research and documentation of Warren County and surrounding vicinities.