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The History of Fireworks - Middle ages to Modern Times(Part II)

After its beginnings in the Far East, gunpowder and fireworks began to move westward. Marco Polo is credited with bringing them to the Middle East where Crusaders from Europe discovered them and brought them on to Europe. Roger Bacon (1214-1294), the great English scholar, was one of the first Europeans to do a study on gunpowder. Recognizing the potential of gunpowder as something more than a big bang to entertain and celebrate, he wrote his work in code. In this way, he hoped that others would not easily learn the secrets he had discovered and use gunpowder as a weapon.

By the year 1560, Europeans had found the exact formula that would make gunpowder the most explosive it could become. They discovered that by mixing 75% saltpeter, 15% charcoal, and 10% sulphur, you had the best ratio. This formula is still in use today. It was the Italians who developed the art of explosive fireworks around this same time. They produced the aerial shells that produced the bright colored explosions we are so familiar with today. For almost two thousand years, fireworks were basically either yellow or orange. Today a wider range of materials were discovered that could be added to produce reds, greens and blues.

Amedee-Francois Frezier, a Frenchman, wrote “Treatise on Fireworks” in 1706. This was the first major study that concentrated on their use for recreational and ceremonial activities rather than their military use. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, fireworks became very popular. The Queen created a position called “Fire Master of England.” James II was so enamored with the fireworks display at his coronation that he knighted his Fire Master. Even William Shakespeare made references to fireworks in his plays.

In the United States, fireworks arrived with the earliest settlers, and quickly became popular. The first “Independence Day” celebration there was complete with firework displays even though actual Independence was not won for six more years. This tradition has continued ever since, and large fireworks displays are part of the celebration on July 4th in almost every city in the country.

Today China, the country where it all began, is the largest manufacturer and exporter of fireworks in the world. The technology has traveled from its beginning there all the way around the world. It is still a developing technology and there is still more to learn about it. In 2004, Disney Land in California used compressed air instead of gunpowder to launch the rockets into the air. This process reduced the fumes greatly and allowed even greater accuracy in height and timing. The history of fireworks is still being written. The discovery of the peaceful and entertaining side of fireworks changed the way gunpowder was used throughout the world.


About the Author: Ghengis fireworks is UK's leading online
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