Philadelphia, PA - In celebration of different events like New Year's Eve, Independence Day, and the Fourth of July, we light up our sky with colorful fireworks. But did you know that fireworks actually have been around for thousands of years? In fact, they were invented more than 2000 years ago in China! These first firecrackers were simply chunks of green bamboo. The bamboo grows with air pockets in the plant segments. When heated, this air expands and cracks through the bamboo's sides.
Fireworks Were Invented More Than A Millennium Ago
The history of fireworks dates back many millennia. Most historians believe fireworks were invented in China, but some suggest they originated in the Middle East or India. In any case, the first fireworks were probably made by Chinese alchemists around 800 B.C., when they mixed charcoal with saltpeter and sulfur and burned it in a bamboo tube enclosure. The idea was that this would keep evil spirits away.
While fireworks have become synonymous with baseball, apple pie, and the National Anthem, the history of fireworks goes back thousands of years. These beautiful and terrifying displays were first invented in China around two thousand B.C., and they were used to celebrate important events like the inauguration of George Washington. In 1812, an American naval hero named George Marshall, a pyrotechnics specialist began mentioning fireworks in his book, Practical Marine Gunnery.
They Are Made Of Gunpowder
Did you know that fireworks are made of gunpowder? Did you know that they have four main parts? The fuse, the pasted paper container, and the bursting charge made of black powder are all part of the process? And, did you know that the black powder used for these fireworks is almost carbon? Here's a quick breakdown of this explosive substance. You can thank Marco Polo for bringing it to Europe and the rest of the world.
The first known use of gunpowder dates back to around 2000 B.C., when people in China burned bamboo stalks over a fire. This ignited the bamboo's hollow air pockets, which exploded when the bamboo heated up. During the 600-900 A.D. period, alchemists in China developed a compound that contained potassium nitrate and charcoal. They then poured this powder into bamboo sticks or stiff paper tubes.
They Are Made Of Chemicals
Fireworks are made of chemicals. The chemical mixture used to make them is responsible for the different types of sounds they produce. Pyrotechnics are made from a mixture of sulfur and other chemicals to burn and create a sound. The bursting charge is made of gunpowder, a mixture of sulfur and charcoal, and a substance called potassium nitrate. The gunpowder fuse burns into the center of the shell while a time-delay fuse lights the bursting charge.
The colors that fireworks produce are made from the combination of three metal compounds. These compounds include table salt and metal salts. Metal salts are chemical compounds with ionically-bonded metal and non-metal atoms. Different combinations of these compounds give different colors. In general, sodium compounds produce yellow, and orange fireworks, copper and barium salts give green or blue colors, and calcium or strontium salts produce red and white.
They Are Dangerous
Fireworks are flammable, explosive devices that can be dangerous if they are not stored properly. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks cause approximately 50,000 fires each year. Even if they are stored safely, fireworks can cause injuries. Even three sparklers burning together can produce the same amount of heat as a blow torch. Children shouldn't handle fireworks. It is best to let an adult handle them.
During the Fourth of July celebrations, Americans shoot off nearly one pound of fireworks per person. In 1976, the average was half that amount. In 2000, however, the average was just one-tenth of that amount. But, this trend has not stopped the proliferation of fireworks. The dangers of fireworks have led to new laws that have regulated them more. So, how do you stay safe from fireworks this Fourth of July?
They Are A Symbol Of Celebration
For decades, Americans have celebrated the Fourth of July with fireworks, which produce colorful bursts of light in the sky. Fireworks were first used in China, where they were believed to ward off evil spirits. They spread throughout Europe as public entertainment and religious celebrations and were used as royal entertainment in medieval Indian kingdoms. Today, fireworks are a global symbol of celebration. Despite their symbolism, fireworks are a source of concern for many people.
In the Middle Ages, fireworks were often used to celebrate religious festivals. In China, fireworks accompanied religious mystery plays. During one of these plays, emperor Li Tsung brought rockets to the palace and the empress Kung Sheng gathered her skirts to catch the rocket. The popularity of fireworks grew in Europe in the 18th century, when fireworks became popular as a way to celebrate national prosperity and patriotism.