Richard Veit and Mark Nonestied
Bombs Away! Unearthing a Cache of Terra Cotta Practice Bombs from the First World War

Ceramics in America 2002

Full Article
  • Figure 1
    Figure 1

    This photograph shows several workmen standing in front of a machine used to press clay slabs into terra-cotta bombs, ca. 1918. Note the finished bombs on the table in the front center of the photograph and the extruded clay slabs stacked on the oor in the front right of the photograph. (Courtesy, Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission.)

  • Figure 2
    Figure 2

    Women affixing fins to terra cotta dummy bombs on an assembly line at an unidentified New Jersey site, ca. 1918. (Courtesy, Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission, Stephen Kermondy Donation.)

  • Figure 3
    Figure 3

    Workmen loading pallets of terra cotta practice bombs at the Atlantic Terra Cotta Company’s Plant #1, Staten Island, New York, ca. 1918. (Courtesy, Staten Island Historical Society.)

  • Figure 4
    Figure 4

    A blueprint for the manufacture of the “Drop Bomb Dummy, Mark 1” from the New Jersey Terra Cotta Company, dated April 11, 1918. (Courtesy, Susan Tunick.)

  • Figure 5
    Figure 5

    The stacked terra cotta practice bombs as found in the field. (Photo, Mark Nonestied.)

  • Figure 6
    Figure 6

    A sample of the 124 bombs recovered by the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission. (Photo, Mark Nonestied.) Note the unexcavated samples in the upper left corner of the photograph.

  • Figure 7
    Figure 7

    An intact terra cotta practice bomb. L. 25 3/4". (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.) Notice the coarse texture of the clay body. Apparently the bombs were hastily and rather sloppily manufactured.

  • Figure 8
    Figure 8

    Upright view of bomb illustrated in figure 7.