By Jon Hamilton
May 21, 2017
It took an explosion and 13 pounds of iron to usher in the modern era of
In 1848, a 25-year-old railroad worker named Phineas Gage was blowing up
rocks to clear the way for a new rail line in Cavendish, Vt. He would drill
a hole, place an explosive charge, then pack in sand using a 13-pound metal
bar known as a tamping iron.