Picatinny Arsenal covers more than 6400 acres and is located close to Lake Denmark, in New Jersey. It is popular for inventing the famous tactical rail, also referred to as the Picatinny rail. It is a specific bracket that can be used on a few types of weapons to deal with an advanced mounting system. The place is run and owned by the US government and its primary mission implies researching and manufacturing of various types of weapons.
Before the American Civil War started, most of the weapon reserves were hosted in small depots around the eastern and southern parts of the country. When the war began, most of them were taken over by the Confederate forces. The government changed the tactics then and decided to establish more depots, but in the close proximity of large cities. This is how the Dover Powder Depot took place, in the autumn of 1880. A few days later, the authorities renamed it to what it is today.
After more than a decade of improvements and expansions while buying more and more land, the authorities finally raised the first powder factory at the base in 1907. As years passed by, the base slowly changed its mission from manufacturing to research operations. In 1911, the base was manned with a school to train individuals in weaponry sciences. By 1919, the depot began manufacturing artillery ammunition. Between the two world wars, the place was responsible for inventing the haleite and improving the current explosives over the limits.
Prior to World War II, Picatinny Arsenal was taken through a new round of improvements, after the authorities constantly rounded its borders with small expansions. When the war began, the site capability to deal with research operations was altered. As the country needed ammunition, a little over 18000 workers joined the base to produce bombs and shells.
The amazing inventions went on during the Korean War too – the illuminating grenade or the improved bazooka. When not involved in a conflict, the specialists concentrated on research operations and worked on improving the radar systems and pyrotechnics. Every new conflict saw a new category of weapons and ammunitions that were upgraded for the current necessities. Things haven’t changed in the modern era either, as Picatinny Arsenal successfully supported the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. It was also awarded with the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 2007.
One of the darkest moments in the history of Picatinny Arsenal took place in 1926, when a lightning struck the place. The tons of ammunition provided a nice looking show for about 3 days, as the powders were constantly exploding. The base was devastated. Unfortunately for the troops hosted on site, many of the workers were also hurt and killed in the explosions. By the end of the show, the authorities decided that a few million pounds of ammunition and explosive materials detonated. Ever since that moment, the protection on site and the storage capabilities have been significantly improved. No such incidents occurred again.