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TNT (Trinitrotoluene)

German chemist Joseph Wilbrand discovered TNT in 1863, but the material was not known to be an explosive until almost 30 years later. The first country to manufacture TNT was Germany, which began industrial production in the 1890s and commercial operations in 1901. By 1902, the German Army had begun utilizing TNT for filling munitions. Other countries soon followed Germany’s lead, and during World War I, TNT became the standard explosive for troops of all nations. In fact, the tremendous demand for TNT at this time resulted in a shortage of the material since its manufacture was limited by the amount of toluene available from coal tar. Many countries began utilizing TNT in mixtures with other substances during this period in order to make dwindling supplies of the important explosive last longer.

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