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Source: Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Fatal Bullet Not Poisoned”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Date of publication: 17 September 1901
Volume number: 116
Issue number: 44
Pagination: 5

“Fatal Bullet Not Poisoned.” Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette 17 Sept. 1901 v116n44: p. 5.
full text
Frederick T. Aschman (public statements); McKinley assassination (poison bullet theory).
Named persons
Frederick T. Aschman.
The condition of the newspaper (an online scanned document) is poor in places, rendering selected letters/words difficult or impossible to read.


Fatal Bullet Not Poisoned


Chemist Aschman Points Out the Improbability of This Theory.
To Poison a Bullet Effectively Is a Difficult Matter, Requiring Considerable
Chemical Knowledge. Analysis of Remaining Balls Easy.

     Frederick T. Aschman, the well known chemist, does not take any stock in the theory that a poisoned bullet was used by the assassin of the president.
     “It seems to me to be highly improbable,” said he. “It would be a rather difficult thing effectively to poison a bullet without cutting grooves in it or otherwise roughening it. It will be very easy for a chemist to determine by analysis whether the bullets left in the revolver were poisoned or [?].
     “There are two general kinds of poison that might have been used,” said the chemist, “organic and inorganic or chemical. The organic poison might be obtained from snake venom, bacteria of gangrene, or some other kind of bacteria. The chemical poison might be an arsenic or copper solution, or any one of the group of mineral poisons, or some one of the rare alkaloids.
     “If an organic poison were used, in my opinion, it would be rendered harmless by the action of the lead in the bullet, lead being a poison and destructive to all forms of organic life, and also by the fire of the powder. The lead and fire ought to kill the bacteria and render them entirely harmless.
     “If a chemical poison were used, one of two things would happen. If the chemical were anything but a mineral, the lead would render it harmless, as in the case of the organic poison, but if it were a mineral, the lead would not have any effect upon it, and could not render it harmless.
     “But I do not believe that a mineral poison or any other kind of chemical poison would produce gangrene, and hence the only kind of poison that could be applied by means of a bullet would not produce the effect that was discovered by the autopsy of the president’s body. It seems to me, therefore, highly improbable that the missile was poisoned.
     “I am not enough of a physician to speak with authority on this subject, but it looks to me as though the unusual condition of the wound, the gangrene being present throughout the course of the bullet, was due to a bad condition of the blood. Even had the bullet been poisoned it would in all probability have been cleaned off entirely before it had plowed through its whole course. But the reports show that the gangrene was present all along the course of the bullet, and not only at the point where it entered.”
     Mr. Aschman is also of the opinion that the assassin’s intelligence is not sufficient for him to have had the knowledge of poisons necessary to select the proper one to carry out [his?] scheme. He declared that the whole controversy can easily be settled by an analysis, which he says is comparatively simple.



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