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Antique powder flash.
An example of the element Magnesium

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Magnesium Antique powder flash
Antique powder flash.
This is a very old magnesium powder flash. The seller stated the following: "Not sure on the age, but it's prewar. Came from my grandfather who had a photo in the late 20s to the 30s." I have no reason to doubt this, and the instruction sheet does not contain any dates to confirm or deny the age claim. The instructions do, however, use the name I.G. Farben, a company which was dismantled by the allies in 1951, which puts a lower limit on how old it could be. (Why, you may ask, was I.G. Farben dismantled by the allies? Because it was one of the principle industrial engines of the Nazi death machine, being as it was a major financial supporter of the Nazis as well as the producer of the Zyklon B used in their gas chambers.)
The instructions say to mix the powder in the small glass vial (which is an oxidizer of some sort, perhaps potassium permanganate) with the magnesium powder in the tin, hang the tin up with its strap, then stick the provided paper fuse into the powder and light it. This is a single-use flash: I assume you would normally have a pack of several of these with you.
Source: eBay seller oakwilde
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 25 October, 2005
Text Updated: 29 January, 2009
Price: $38
Size: 1.25"
Purity: 95%
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