Louis XVI forbids the use of a more destructive explosive

October 31, 2011

Portrait of Louis XVI of France, painted by D'après Antoine-François Callet

The Italian scientist Poli invented an explosive ten times more powerful than gunpowder and he detonated it during an exhibition before Louis XVI.

Giuseppe Saverio Poli, 1746-1825, was an Italian physicist, biologist and natural historian.

Pondering on the destructive power he had just seen, the king turned to Poli and said: “Your invention is most terrible and I will reward you for your studies. However, war is already too deadly and cruel so I do not want your invention to be used. I command that it remain absolutely secret.”


Giuseppe Saverio Poli

Fernando Palazzi, Enciclopedia degli Aneddoti (Milan: Ceschino, 1935), col. 3999.




Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 122


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