Adventures in Research: Tear Gas and Salesmanship

Posted by ractrose on 4 Oct 2014 in Non-Fiction

My Curious Reading

Adventures in Research
Tear Gas and Salesmanship



From the NYT of September 25, 1936. “Tear Gas War on Bootleg Miners.”

During this period the coal mines in Pennsylvania, racked by strikes, were infiltrated by bootleggers, miners illegally harvesting coal to sell, generating an income they would otherwise have lacked in the midst of the Depression. The mine owners hatched a plan to smoke them out with tear gas. The Senate’s Lafollette Subcommittee held hearings on civil liberties violations.

A. S. Ailes, Vice President of the Chemical Co. of Cleveland, testified that he had gassed himself 1000 times, insisting upon the harmless nature of his company’s product. He stated, “I am sorry we have strikes. I am sorry we have Communists in the country.”

Rival chemical firms aggressively promoted their products to corporations as a means of arming themselves pre-emptively. Ignatius H. McCarty, a Chemical Co. salesman had himself appointed as a special officer to the San Francisco police, so that he could demonstrate the use of his company’s gas equipment.

“He said he had demonstrated much of it during the San Francisco waterfront strike, largely to overcome the sales efforts of his competitor representing the Federal Laboratories.”



Tear Gas
Tear Gas and Salesmanship

Theft and Trousers





Congratulations! You’ve found a bonus poem!

Adventures in Research: Tear Gas and SalesmanshipAdventures in Research: Tear Gas and Salesmanship


The Face


Suppose a thing that can’t be true

A clown, feet torn away

Rolled newspapers for legs

Written in Japanese characters

A green-bound book about robbers


Shocks run through the earth

And typhoon rains

And shallow roots spread node by node

Shift the surface as they turn

Against a pebble of resistance

Form patterns older than the temple


Back-breaking stones fall one by one

Four corners build a pyramid

On yielding ground

Forces older than the culture push

Slowly down

Inexorably over time


Missionaries and soldiers saw the face

Smiling askew pale stone

In the fevered swelter of the tropic zone

Some image in a photograph or drawing

Became the talisman


And minds too new to understand

Escapees and adoptions

After all

What is the ghost

Only the thing that haunts you





(2014, Stephanie Foster)




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