Historic 1914 Hanover Fatal Celluloid Collar Fire


Submitted 2 years ago
Created by
Michael Hinsley

February 5 1914 Hanover Painter Dies after Fire in his Paint Shop.

Today in Hanover and Dartmouth College History February 5, 1914 the paint shop of William E Stone, located at the intersection of Lebanon St and South Park St, was destroyed by fire. The fire started while Mr Stone was mixing paint on a woodstove. It is not reported if the fire was caused by Mr Stone's Celluloid collar igniting or the volatile paints igniting. Regardless of the initial item ignited, the Shop and adjacent buildings were consumed and Mr Stone was found with burns around his neck and face from his celluloid collar burning.

The Intersection of Lebanon St and South Park St in the center of this image was the Paint Shop destroyed by Fire February 5 1914, igniting William E Stone's Celluloid Collar resulting in fatal burns.

Feb 5 1914 entry into the Hanover Fire Hose Company Fire Log.

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Celluloid was certainly all the rage in men's and women's fashion for a period of time. The wonder material was used in many items of daily living, everything from men's collars, women's undergarments and dress materials, to hair combs and baby rattles. The wonder material had one very significant shortcoming, it is extremely flammable. There are numerous reports of fatalities associated with women's dresses catching fire when their hoop dress was too close to a heat source, hair combs spontaneously igniting when the owner is combing their hair and even infants being badly burned in their crib when their baby-rattle burst into flames...

Despite Dr Gilman Frost's best efforts William E. Stone died from the burns to his face neck and airway.

William E Stone is buried in the Dartmouth Cemetery

1910 US Census for Hanover NH. William E Stone is the last entry . Note the "Safety Film" marking. This indicates that it is a non-celluloid film. Celluloid film is extremely flammable.

                            Photo credit Dartmouth College Rauner Library.

                        Find a time, make an excuse but check that place out!!

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