The Adventures of Average Jones by Samuel Hopkins Adams

Page 33:

“A submarines mine is a very ingenious affair. I’ve recently been reading somewhat extensively on the subject. The main charge is some high explosive, usually of the dynamite type. Above it is a small jar of sulphuric acid. Teeth, working on levers, surround this jar. The levers project outside the mine. When a ship strikes the mine, one or more of the levers are pressed in. The teeth crush the jar. The sulphuric acid drops upon the main charge and explodes it. Do you follow me?”

“I’ll follow you as far as the front door,” said the politician balefully. He rose.

“If the charge were in a chair, in the cushion of an easy chair, we’ll say, on the third floor of a house in Brooklyn–“

The Honorable William Linder sat down again. He sat heavily.