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calcium carbide - explosives factory / Narni / 1908 - 1962/1991 / 2008


A calcium carbide factory was established here in 1908 by Società Industriale Elettrica della Valnerina, later taken over by the Rome-based Carburo Romano. Calcium carbide (8000 t/y) was obtained in nine single-phase furnaces of 1000 kW each and sold for metallurgical and lighting uses. Later carbide began to be used on-site to synthesize calcium cyanamide, a nitrogen fertilizer. In 1922 Carburo Romano was taken over by Terni-Società per l'industria e l'Elettricità, the owner of Terni steelworks. Temporarily closed during the 1930s, the plant was restarted in 1939 by SPEA-Società Prodotti Esplodenti Autarchici, a company founded by Terni, SIPE and Società Anonima Acetati e Derivati. The reconversion, promoted by the fascist government, was about explosives. During the first years of the Second World War the site became a major PENT (Pentaerythritol tetranitrate) producer. However, in 1942 the German troops stole almost all the machineries, leaving an empty useless factory. Once the war was over the site was used as storage area by the Italian Navy, before being chosen as a testing site for the production of RDX explosive nitroamine. Such a project was never realized. The site was definitively abandoned in 1991.