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November 24, 2011

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Ray Girvan

Here's the rest of the text (hacked from Google Books snippet view):

=quote=
The officer in question — a man whose name has not been made public by the War Department — was one of the Army's crack pitchers during his West Point days. Ever since the outbreak of the European War, this officer has been working on a hand grenade which would not explode when accidentally dropped or even struck. Reports from abroad indicated that the grenades in use in the trenches are trenches are almost as dangerous to the users as they are to the enemy. There have been many occasions when they have exploded prematurely or have been dropped, with disastrous consequences to the throwers.

The United States Army needed a grenade that would be accident-proof and the baseball-bomb has been the result.

This weapon is a sphere of very thin steel, painted a dull gray so as to be as nearly invisible as possible. The interior of the sphere contains a considerable amount of a very high powered explosive, together with a spring which, when pushed, removes a shock-absorber which has been placed between the explosive and the hammer at the end of the spring, resulting in the instant explosion of the entire grenade upon hitting anything.

The metal device which remains in the hand of the "pitcher"" is so constructed that it presses directly upon the head of the hidden spring as the "ball" leaves the hand so that the grenade, which has been practically harmless up to that time, becomes a whirling sphere of death, exploding with tremendous force upon the slightest contact.

It will therefore be seen that these grenades can be shipped in large quantities to the men at the front, only a reasonable amount of care being necessary in their handling, and that each "spit-ball artist" ought to be able to hurl a thousand of these death-dealing weapons a day.

The construction of this latest development in trench warfare, it is hardly necessary to state, is being very carefully guarded by the war department.
=unquote=

I don't think anything like this saw service in WW1. It looks like a conceptual precursor to the experimental T13 Beano Grenade http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T13_Beano_Grenade of WW2.

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