Category Archives: Firework Facts

HOW DO FIREWORKS WORK?

Good question and the answer is not pixie dust or fairy magic, it’s a little more complex than that.

Luckily the good people at Lego wanted to answer the very same questions for their customers.

Having vast resources and tons of Lego, they decided to put a video together for their younger clientele, and very informative it is too.

Explained in a simple no-fuss way, this is the perfect introduction to chemistry for six-year-olds.

The use of Stop-Go filming engages your younger ones and is well worth watching for people of all ages 🙂

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10 FUN FACTS ABOUT FIREWORKS THAT YOU MAY OR MAY NOT KNOW

10 FUN FACTS ABOUT FIREWORKS THAT YOU MAY OR MAY NOT KNOW

1. The Chinese use firecrackers to scare off mountain men
As early as 200 BC the Chinese were writing on green bamboo and heating it over hot coals to dry, they discovered that if left on the coals for too long the wood would expand and crack creating a bang of course.
It is believed that these noises scared off the abnormally large mountain men that brought terror to the towns. But Down to this, the firecracker was born. As time progressed the fireworks were used in the same way to scare away evil spirits.

2. You can’t recycle fireworks
Due to the chemical elements in the fireworks, it isn’t a good idea to just throw them in the rubbish exploded or not. The best way to make sure that the fireworks can be disposed of safely is to soak them in water for 24-48 hours. Fireworks hate the damp, so this will render the fireworks safe to dispose of. Always check with your local waste department as they may have special disposal procedure or places for explosives just to be on the safe side.

3. China may have created the firework, but Italy gave them colour
The Chinese were the ones that created fireworks but in 1830, it was Italy who gave them their colours by burning different metallic powders. They were quick to discover that by doing this they could create different colours for example; calcium produces the colour orange, sodium makes yellow and barium makes green. One of the hardest colours to produce for a firework is blue, to get any kind of blue colour you need a copper compound and if this gets too high in temperature the blue hue gets washed out. Some of the colour goes from just lighting the firework itself.

Fireworks and Chemistry - Different Colours

4. Fireworks were invented before weapons not the other way around
Sometime between 600 & 900 AD Chinese alchemists created fireworks by searching for a potion for immortality. They thought by mixing saltpetre (Potassium nitrate), charcoal, sulphur and other ingredients then pouring into empty bamboo shoots and adding fire they thought that this would do the job. Instead of the potion they wanted for immortality they created the firework. It took them over several hundred years to discover that using the same mixture they could use them in battle by attaching firecrackers to arrows, or using them in the gunpowder catapult.

5. Fireworks are just a chemical reaction
A firework comprises of 3 components – an oxidiser, a fuel and a chemical mixture. The oxidiser breaks the chemical bonds in the fuel, releasing all its energy stored in the bonds. To ignite the chemical reaction all you need is fire whether that be from a direct flame or a fuse.

6. Marco Polo wasn’t the 1st person to bring fireworks to Europe
As Marco Polo returned from china with fireworks in 1295, some Europeans argue that they were introduced to gunpowder weaponry a lot earlier during there crusades. China began to control the flow of gunpowder to its neighbours as they thought doing this would leave them with more themselves in case of conflict. But despite China’s efforts, gunpowder spread through the silk road to the Middle East, giving them the opportunity to create and use gunpowder weaponry during their crusades.

7. Sparklers burn a greater temperature than a blowtorch
Sparklers may be one of the most fun and pretty of pyrotechnics but they can burn from anywhere from 1800-3000 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, they are recommended to be used with gloved hands and lit and used one at a time. Small but mighty.

8. Boom, Crackle, Hiss Some fireworks come with sounds
It is layers upon layers of organic salt, combined with the oxidizer potassium perchlorate that is burnt a layer at a time slowly that releases a gas that gives the whistling sound that is in most fireworks. To create hissing or sizzling sparkles aluminium or iron flakes are added, while titanium powder is used to create the loud bangs in addition to white sparks. Add them all together and you have one very noisy explosive indeed.

9. Americans have been celebrating their independence with fireworks since 1777
The very first Independence Day celebrations that involved fireworks was on July 4th, 1777 in Philadelphia. They put together a day of elaborate activities and celebrations which included a 13-cannon display, a parade, fancy dress, music, musket salutes and of course the main attraction fireworks. 13 Rockets were set alight on the commons lighting up the city below marking the memorable day, and this has now been the case ever since. All around most the US they now celebrate the day of independence with fireworks the only places that cannot do this due to them still been banned are New Jersey, Massachusetts and Delaware.

10. Elizabeth, I & King James II were pyro lovers
Both Queen Elizabeth I and king James II were both fireworks lovers. So much so that Elizabeth created a court position called the ‘fire master of England’ she granted this title to the best and most respected fireworks-maker in England. Also, King James knighted the man who did the fireworks display at his coronation.

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4th July or Independence Day

4th of July Celebration Poster - Epic Fireworks

Here we have 10 facts about the 4th July.

• The oldest established July 4th celebrations which have continued without interruption have been held in Bristol, Rhode Island since 1777 as outlined in dispatches about ‘celebratory cannon and musket firing heard over the waters’ by a British Officer stationed over in the US.

4th of July Calendar

• Since 1868, Seward, Nebraska has held their 4th July celebrations in the same spot in the Town Square.

happy 4th of july Fireworks

• Since 1972 there has been an annual hot dog eating competition which is televised nationally from Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY. Did you know that the USA spends 7 BILLION dollars annually on hot dogs JUST for this event.

Mt Rushmore

• Baseball is the national sport and never more so than on the 4th when many Major and Minor league games are scheduled – more family time.

HAPPY 4TH USA

• Macy’s Fireworks have been held since 1976. In 2009, in recognition of the route taken by Henry Hudson in 1609, the fireworks were moved from their usual site over the East River to the Hudson. Controversially, they were said to be returning the following year and it never happened but in the news recently, following a massive number of continued complaints about the change of venue, this year’s event will be moved back to the East River, much to the delight of the residents of the Brooklyn area.

Macys Fireworks New York barges map 2010

• More than 74 million Americans will spark up the BBQ for July 4th.

May the forth be with you

• When America achieved independence the population was some 2.5 million and in the census of 2010, it stood at around 300 million.

We got Epic Fireworks This Year

• An average of $2 billion spent on food for 4th July.

3rd of July Fireworks Poster 2008

• Over 68 million cases of beer are sold on Independence Day annually.

Happy 4th July from #EpicFireworks

• They spend an INCREDIBLE $600,000,000 on FIREWORKS just for the 4th July.

usa large epic logo

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