Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Looking at the History of Fireworks

The first fireworks were probably made in China, around 2000 years ago by a Chinese cook who accidentally spilled saltpetre into a cooking fire made of charcoal and sulphur and the mixture burned with a pretty flame resulting into a black, flaky concoction that came to be known as gunpowder.

The Chinese developed this powder further by inserting this mixture into the hollow of a bamboo stick and when thrown into a fire, the gases produced by the ignited burning powder inside caused an immense build up of pressure and blasted the tube apart resulting in the invention of a basic fire cracker. These Chinese crackers are still used in China today to celebrate weddings, births and religious festivals.

Sometimes the firecracker did not explode but instead shot out a jet of fire and flew away in the air or along the ground resulting in the primitive rocket. The Chinese made rockets by fixing tubes packed with gunpowder to sticks, that kept the rockets pointing in the right direction as they flew through the air.

Another discovery made by the Chinese was that powdered iron mixed with gunpowder made beautiful, flower like sparks. However they did not know about the chemicals needed to make coloured flames and white sparks, these effects were developed in Europe over the last two hundred years. It is believed that Marco Polo was the one who transported this invention to the Middle East from where European Crusaders then brought it to England.

The first recorded fireworks in England were at the wedding of King Henry VII in 1486. They gained popularity during the reign of Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth I even invented the post of fireworks master so that someone would be in charge of organising firework displays for great occasion.

An etching of the Royal Fireworks display on the Thames, London, England in 1749 , Source
Nowadays, fireworks mark celebration of families and of the nation so if you are celebrating something special why not get your hands on fireworks available at our store and online to create awesome displays and to end the party with a bang.

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