Hercules Historical Society

Significance of the Hercules Works

Hercules is the name of a settled place occupying the watershed of Refugio Creek, in Contra Costa, California. Hercules was also the name of a hero in Greek mythology and the brand name of an industrial product, dynamite. How this name and this place came together unfolds an important story of the global Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century. It is also the earliest story of California-born technological innovation. Hercules, California is therefore a place of significance in mankind’s mastery of energy, particularly the energy of chemical explosives, which is fundamental to every aspect of our lives today. 

High Explosives Enable Modern Life

High Explosives Enable Modern Life

The story of explosives begins with black powder, used by the world’s major civilizations for six centuries. Until about 1840,...


Industrial Outpost on the Pacific