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The danger of eye injury from the use of the Fourth of July torpedo is illustrated by the records of eight cases treated at Bellevue Hospital in 1930 and 1931. The history showed that in each instance the eye was struck by small pieces of flying gravel propelled by the explosion of the torpedo.
The torpedo in question consists of a small bit of concussion explosive, usually a percussion cap, surrounded by a mass of tiny pebbles, the whole being wrapped in a wad of paper. When this is hurled against any hard surface a loud explosion results and the contained gravel is scattered in all directions. The great possibility of eye injury from this flying material is obvious.
The eye injuries in our patients consisted of lacerations of the cornea and conjunctiva, burns and penetrating wounds, or a combination of these. The direction of the pellets (the torpedo being
Reuter CH. EYE INJURIES FROM FOURTH OF JULY TORPEDOES. JAMA. 1932;98(15):1266-1267. doi:10.1001/jama.1932.27320410001010