following is the text of the Eaton Proposal for the Mississippi Lethal
SPECIFICATIONS LETHAL GAS CHAMBER
Chamber shall be of hexagon shape, fabricated from steel plate conforming
to A.S.T.M. Specifications No. A-283, Grade "C" of sufficient
thickness to withstand the pressure of the generated gas and the vacuum
induced by the exhaust fan. Chamber to be complete with necessary windows
and door, gas generating equipment, proper neutralizing equipment, execution
chair, valves, and all necessary accessories to insure a positive and rapid
execution without danger to operators or witnesses.
2 GAS GENERATING EQUIPMENT
A self-contained hydrogen Cyanide generator, equipped with all necessary
valves, levers, pressure gauge, etc., for introducing and controlling the
flow of the generated gas into the chamber. Complete with necessary neutralizing
agent inducing equipment properly attached so that exhaust gas generating
materials can be flushed out of the generator, with water into the sewer
connection after execution has been completed. All the above to be directly
beneath the chamber, in a basement room, provided by the Purchaser.
Chamber shall be equipped with suitable chair provided with proper
arm and leg shackle attachments for securing prisoner in proper position
4 GAS NEUTRALIZING EQUIPMENT
Chamber shall be equipped with proper ventilation including manifold,
with special ports spaced at proper intervals to insure rapid admission
of a neutralizer vapor into the chamber through a controlled system of
5 EXHAUST FAN AND INSIDE CHAMBER LIGHTING
Chamber to be equipped with a high volume, electrically driven exhaust
fan capable of completely exhausting the chamber in 90 seconds. Fan mounting
to be complete with quick acting large area exhaust valve with controls
to operating point. Inside lights to be vapor proof, of sufficient size
to properly flood chamber.
6 WINDOWS AND DOORS
Installed in the walls of the chamber shall be five windows of bullet
proof glass. One window at the executioner's station and four windows located
in the witness room. All windows to be properly gasketed so that they will
be gas tight. A quick acting bulkhead type door shall be furnished with
special designed hinges and locking hardware to insure continuous gas tight
operation without damage to gaskets. All gaskets (windows and doors) shall
be impervious and resistant to the generated gas and shall fit into the
retainer frame so as to insure perfect alignment and tightness, regardless
of temperature changes.
7 OPERATING CONTROLS
All operating controls, including switches, venturi tube, etc., shall
be brought to a point near the executioner's window for convenient and
Interior to be painted with a metallic, acid resisting, light color
Chamber enclosure building, including all necessary electric power,
water, and sewer connections, will be furnished by the Purchaser.
10 TEST AND ACCEPTANCE
Chamber must be properly tested in presence of the Warden, and proven
effective and safe.
To be assured of tightness of fluid service lines and gas generator
bowl first observe Drawing A-2249 attached.
Now open completely valves 3 and 4. Then turn on water at spigot above
mixing vat 9 and allow water to run through the system for about 5 minutes.
This will insure that the lines are clear from the mixing vat to the generator
in the bottom of the chamber and that the drain from the gas generator
to the sewer is perfectly clear.
Then close valve 3 which shuts off the line to the sewer, allowing
the water to fill the generator to chamber floor level. Then enter pit
beneath chamber and examine all lines, as well as bottom of the generator
to be sure that all piping is tight.
Then close valve 10 while water is still at floor level.
Then open valve 3 and allow water underneath valve 10 to drain to sewer,
trapping the water above valve 10.
Then close chamber tightly, including exhaust valve 2, putting a little
water around exhaust valve 2 to insure tightness, and start exhaust fan,
opening valve 5 in top of chamber, thereby pulling vacuum on chamber where
it can be observed whether there is any chance of gas leakage around valve
10 in bottom of chamber. If a constant vacuum is shown on vacuum gauge
6, this assures that the chamber is tight in every respect.
After chamber has been proven tight, and just before an execution,
the following procedure should be accomplished: At least two gallons of
distilled water should be flushed through the system by pouring it into
mixing chamber 9 and allowing it to run through to fill up traps in the
Then valve 3 should be closed permanently and valve 4 should be closed
to hold back the acid and distilled water which will be mixed in the mixing
Valve 10 should be in the closed position and the cyanide should be
placed in the receptacle above valve 10 just prior to the time the victim
is placed in the chamber.
The acid should be mixed into the distilled water at the time the death
sentence is being read to the victim, for the reason that better results
are obtained in the generation of gas from the hot acid and water mixture.
As the victim is being strapped into the chamber, valve 4 should be
opened allowing the mixed acid and water to drop into the generating chamber.
When all the mixed acid and water has dropped into the generating chamber,
valve 4 should then be closed tightly and the mixing chamber 9 should be
filled entirely with water from the spigot above this mixing chamber. Ammonia
chambers, which have been previously filled, then should be put in readiness
for operation. It is, of course, understood that valve 2 which is the intake
valve, should be closed at all times, with the exception of when exhausting
the chamber after the execution has been completed.
Sheet # 2
With the ammonia injectors ready, with valves 3 and 4 closed, with
the acid in the bottom of the gas generator, and with the cyanide in the
container above valve 10, the victim in the chair and the door properly
closed and sealed, the chamber is ready to perform the execution. Valve
5 should be closed and the fan running. All that is left to do is pull
lever 1, which opens valve 10 above the gas generator, allowing the cyanide
to drop into the acid. You then immediately get gas.
Have the operator constantly watch the vacuum gauge 6 to be sure that
during the time of the execution the chamber is under vacuum.
When it has been determined that the victim has expired, then lever
1, operating valve 10, should be put in the closed position thereby isolating
further gas going into the chamber.
Then valve 5 is to be opened wide, then valve 2 is to be opened wide,
and the ammonia injector No. 7 opened into the intake passage to neutralize
the gas and raise it into the exhaust. The chamber should be completely
cleared within one minute.
While the exhausting of the gas in the chamber is being accomplished,
valve 3 is to be opened allowing the acid and the residue from the cyanide
to pass into the sewer.
Valve 4 is immediately opened after valve 3, allowing the water which
has been placed in mixing chamber 9 to drop into the gas generator, flushing
same completely through to the sewer. In flushing this water through it
is, of course, understood that the ammonia injector in the mixing room
be opened into the flush line to go through the system with the flush water.
The water valve above the mixing pot can be opened to accomplish continual
flushing during the same period of time as the chamber is being exhausted.
If there is to be two or more executions simultaneously, it should
be noted that after the flushing with ordinary water which has had ammonia
contained in it, should be completely flushed out of the system by a repeat
of the flushing of the system with distilled water to eliminate ordinary
water with ammonia which will be caught in the traps.
The second execution can be accomplished by repeating the procedure
for the first operation.
For record purposes, the amount of distilled water required is 6 quarts.
The amount of acid is 6 pints. The amount of cyanide is 16 ounces, and
the cyanide should be in 1/2 oz. pellets.
After each execution the inside of the chamber should be thoroughly
washed down and allowed to dry out, and the door gasket should be greased
with vaseline. Valves 3 and 4 should be left in the open position.
This, we believe, covers the full testing, operational and final cleanup
of this apparatus.
In terms of weight the total mix in mixing bowl and trap combined will
then be: Water in trap, 40 oz. 2.5# Measured water to mixing bowl 9.5#
Measured acid to mixing bowl 7.0# Total 19.0#
Concentration 7.3 equals 37.5% 19.0#
Prior to the actual execution the water and acid should be measured
out and held in separate containers ready to mix together in the acid mixing
hopper. The actual mixing is to be done 10 minutes prior to the time it
must be released to the chamber acid receptacle.
In a single execution one mix shall be used and released to the receptacle,
under the particular chair to be used. In a double execution two mixes
shall be used and released to the receptacles under each of the two chairs.
2. Sodium Cyanide - One pound of sodium cyanide shall be used with
each acid mix. In a single execution one pound of sodium cyanide in appropriate
gauze bag shall be immersed in the receptacle under the particular chair
used. In a double execution one pound of sodium cyanide in appropriate
gauze bag shall be immersed in the receptacle under each of the two chairs.
RULES FOR OPERATION OF CHAMBER Preliminary preparation:
1. Inspect thoroughly and test the chamber and all piping above and
2. Assign operatives to duties and rehearse so that each is absolutely
familiar with his duties.
3. Measure the distilled water and acid required for the execution
and place in separate containers ready for actual use. DO NOT MIX ACID
AND WATER AT THIS TIME. USE RUBBER GLOVES IN HANDLING ACID.
4. Place sodium cyanide in gauze sack properly tied and ready to attach
to chair. PUT AWAY IN A CONVENIENT PLACE TO ELIMINATE DANGER UNTIL NEEDED.
KEEP AWAY FROM ACID.
5. Fill ammonia containers for air flushing and water flushing systems
6. Turn on all necessary lights in chamber and rooms to be used in
connection with execution.
7. Turn on ventilation fans for witness areas.
8. Turn on chamber exhaust fan.
9. See that chamber exhaust valve 3 is closed.