On October 17, 1814 at the Meux family brewery in Tottenham Court, London, a massive vat of beer cracked open, spilling 3,500 barrels of beer and killing eight people. Smithsonian's Food & Think blog sums up the "London Beer Flood" and several other "Deadly Disasters Caused By Food." Here's another:
Boston Molasses Disaster: In Boston’s North End, near the city’s financial district and working class Italian neighborhoods, there stood a molasses tank owned by the Purity Distilling Company. Built in 1915, the vat was capable of holding some 2.5 million gallons; however, by 1919, locals were complaining that it was leaking, and on the afternoon of January 15, it exploded. Flying metal knocked out the supports of nearby elevated train tracks and a 15-foot-high wave of molasses crashed through the streets at some 35 miles per hour, knocking down and enveloping people in its path. Parts of Boston were standing in two to three feet of molasses and the disaster left 21 dead and 150 injured."Four Deadly Disasters Caused by Food"
"Boston Molasses Disaster" (Boston Public Library on Flickr)
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.