By Cole Domann
The invention of Gunpowder.
• Invented accidentally by Chinese cook.
• First firework probably a closed bamboo
tube with gunpowder inside.
• Figured out that if a hole was in the
bottom of tube it would fly up.
• Chemists developed modern mixture of
75% salt peter (which comes from bat
dung), 15% Charcoal, and 10% sulphur
(still used more than 1000 years later).
Invention of Firecrackers
• Started as gunpowder in bamboo tubes.
• Progressed to gunpowder in paper tubes
with tissue paper fuses.
• “ground rats” were invented to scare
enemies in war
• Rats ran around in unpredictable
patterns and sometimes flew up in the
• Chinese put guide fins on the rats which
led to rockets.
Advancements in fireworks.
• Gunpowder and fireworks brought to the
west by explorers.
• Italians try to advance the science of
• Until the 1800’s fireworks were still
missing one key component of fireworks
we all know and love…
Pyrotechnicians experiment with chemicals to
Colors and chemicals are as followed:
1. Red; strontium salts, lithium salts
lithium carbonate (for red), strontium carbonate
2. Orange; calcium salts,
calcium chloride, calcium sulfate
3. Gold; incandescence of iron (with carbon),
charcoal, or lampblack
• Yellow; sodium compounds,
sodium nitrate, cryolite
• Electric white; white-hot metal, such as magnesium or
aluminum, barium oxide
• Green; barium compounds, chlorine producer, barium
• Blue; copper compounds + chlorine producer, copper
copper, turquoise blue.
• Purple; mixture of strontium (red) and copper (blue)
• Silver; burning aluminum, titanium, or magnesium
powder or flakes
As with colors, shells are as followed:
• Palm Contains large comets, or charges in the shape
of a solid cylinder, that travel outward, explode and
then curve downward like the limbs of a palm tree
• Round shell Explodes in a spherical shape usually of
• Ring shell Explodes to produce a symmetrical ring of
• Willow Contains stars (high charcoal composition
makes them long-burning) that fall in the shape of
willow branches and may even stay visible until they
hit the ground
• Roundel Bursts into a circle of maroon shells that
explode in sequence
• Chrysanthemum Bursts into a spherical pattern of
stars that leave a visible trail, with an effect somewhat
suggestive of the flower
• Pistil Like a chrysanthemum shell, but has a core that
is a different color from the outer stars
• Maroon shell Makes a loud bang
• Serpentine Bursts to send small tubes of incendiaries
skittering outward in random paths, which may
culminate in exploding stars
• Currently 18 states allow almost all types
of fireworks (green)
• 20 only allow “safe and sane” fireworks,
(ones that don’t fly up and explode)
• 6 States only allow sparklers (yellow)
• 6 states don’t allow any fireworks (red)
• In 2006, eleven people died and an estimated
9,200 were treated in emergency departments
for fireworks-related injuries in the United
• An estimated 5% of firework injuries required
• Most common injuries were to the hands, eyes
and head totaling 5,200 injuries.
• More than half of those are burns.
• Also cause many house fires.
• The firecracker category is responsible
for 1600 injuries a year.
• In 2003 13% of all firecracker injuries
were because of M80’s, silver salutes,
quarter sticks, cherry bombs, etc.
• These fireworks are not classified as
illegal fireworks they are classified as
When newlyweds Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette
celebrated their royal bonds with a fireworks display on
May 10, 1774, they inadvertently set in motion a
stampede which left 800 of their wedding attendees
The use of fireworks more than doubled in the United
States in the decade between 1992 and 2002. In 2003,
American citizens blew up more than 220 million
pounds of the decorative explosives.
some fireworks used in religious ceremonies in
Thailand and china were 8-10 feet long and were on
bamboo sticks more than 40 feet long
1. Bradley, Colin. “The History of Fireworks,” Pyro Universe.
2007. January 28, 2009.
2. Kuklin, Susan. Fireworks; the science, the art, and the
Magic. South China Printing Company. 1996
3. Cobb, Vicky. Fireworks: Where’s the Science Here?
Millbrook Press. 2006
4. “Fireworks-Related Injuries.” Centers for disease control
and prevention. June 26, 2008. January 29, 2009.
5. “How Fireworks Work.” How Stuff Works. 1998-2009.
January 29, 2009.
6. “Chemistry of Fireworks.” About.com. 2009. January 29,