On May 2, 1878, the Washburn ‘A’ Mill — the largest flour mill in the United States at that time — exploded. The mill exploded when flour dust in the air inside it ignited. The explosion claimed 18 lives, decimated the surrounding area, and brought instant notoriety to Minneapolis. The tragic explosion led to reforms in the milling industry. Ventilation systems and other precautionary devices were devised in order to prevent further tragedy.