How a deadly fabric was made safer through ten thousand burning tests

At Public Domain Review, see Your Flannelette Cure: Fire Tests with Textiles (1910)

In the late 19th century a fabric known as Flannelette became extremely popular, especially in the use of women's gowns and pajamas. Unfortunately, "The fabric turned out to be extraordinarily flammable" and could ignite in mere seconds after coming in contact with a spark. Many people died as a result of this, and coroners began to ask for a ban on  flannelette.

This led to one of the biggest  manufacturers of flannelette, Manchester's Messrs Whipp Bros & Tod, to try and design a less dangerous version of the material. They had chemists and fire scientists conduct 10,000 burning experiments  that eventually lead to a "Non-Flam Flannelette" in 1910.

The burning gowns in the photos look like flaming, headless ghosts. Without context, these photos look like they could be part of  an art series. I find these photos to be  especially haunting because of the many real-life deaths that happened due to burning gowns. I'm glad they were able to invent a safer version of the material. 

See also: Watch a Tesla burn as it sinks into the ocean (video) – Boing Boing