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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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£10 For London’s New Year’s Eve Fireworks Display

It has been announced by #FatCatBoris, AKA Boris Johnson, Mayor of London that this year, tickets for this spectacular will cost £10 per person.

With just 100,000 tickets available will this mean that some regulars will have the choice of losing out or simply not attending. At these costs, an average family would be forking out £50+ when you take into consideration travel, food and other incurred sundries, not a small cost in this time of austerity.

With an average crowd of over half a million this year’s London New Year’s Eve display may fall a little short of expectations as the reaction to the news is very mixed as some feel that the main reason, safety, should be paramount but some of the general public feel very much that it is more about the money-maker that is London Borough.

It would appear that ticket holders would have to arrive early for the show to ensure a good viewing area, meaning they could be waiting for a long time in cramped conditions with somewhat inclement weather. Alarm bells may already be ringing for anyone with children as they can easily get bored waiting for exceptionally long periods of time for the chimes of Big Ben and the start of the festivities.

The event, first staged by the London Eye in 2003, has steadily grown in popularity to a stage where viewing areas are now full to capacity by early evening. The London New Year’s eve display is not just a national event but world-wide spectacle, viewing figures from the BBC for the 2013 display topped 13.3 Million viewers, with millions more watching on their local T.V stations.

Will the change to the way the event is funded increase this figure? Will most stay at home and watch on T.V in the comfort of their own home? or will the cost outweigh the atmosphere provided at this stunningly popular event?

It has been suggested by those in the know that the introduction of tickets had to be done to ensure the safety and continuation of this icon event. Ed Lister, Deputy Mayor has insisted this is a non-profit exercise, as all the funds received will go towards the costs incurred from the extravaganza; this includes the tickets themselves the actual pyro, fencing, stewards, police and ambulance cover, transport subsidies, etc.

The cost of the fireworks alone for the 2103 New Year’s Eve was £200,00 at £10 per person this means potential recouping £1 Million toward the event. However, these figures are contradictory as the same offices press release last year confirmed that the amount of money brought in by the event ran into the £300 million mark so this begs the question whether or not this is really such a great idea after all.

Simon Bray the Metropolitan police commander has welcome the move as they feel this will help towards the policing of the event and ensure a safe and crime free area for all ticket holders.

Being from “up North” and not au-fait with the ways of the Capital, I expect the tickets available on the night from the ticket touts will double if not triple in cost as there always seems that there is someone who just happens to have a couple of tickets spare for a cost, example: tickets for Red Bull X fighters 2012 online £21.00 cost of similar ticket from guy stood by gate £65.00. Time will tell if this becomes the norm for years to come, experience has told us that once an event becomes ticketed it very rarely becomes a free event again.

Hopefully this change to the festivities will increase the budget for the actual Pyro and not take anything away from the spectacle that is in a sense a show a nation is proud of and become a corporate entity filled with adverts from the major brand manufacturers or even worse a pay-per-view.

Tickets will be available from 12 noon on September 26th by visiting www.london.gov.uk/nye

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