Pyrotechnics is the art of manufacturing or setting off fireworks. Also called pyrotechny.
Ancient China is the most likely origin of fireworks. Legend has it, thousands of years ago a Chinese chef mistakenly mixed together three common kitchen ingredients: Potassium nitrate or saltpetre, sulphur, and charcoal. He then ignited, which resulted in flames of many different colors. This man also realized that when burned in a closed bamboo shoot, an enormous explosion was produced. At first the ancient Chinese only used this for fun. Soon they realized that the noise created by these curiosities would be great for driving away evil spirits. Eventually, they began to use them at weddings, religious ceremonies, and victory parties. In the sixth century, they realized that this black powder could be used as rocket fuel. They carved wooden rockets to look like dragons and used them to battle invading Mongolians. Fireworks have come a long way from these humble beginnings.
In the USA where fireworks began near the 1600s; settlers brought fireworks over from Europe for various celebrations. They also used them to entertain or frighten off Native Americans in the area. In 1777, one year after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, we celebrated our very first 4th of July.
Pyrotechnics have had a million different uses in our civilization. The ancient Chinese used them in their battles against the invading Mongolian hordes. During the gold rush, miners used dynamite to blow up a rock that was in the way of their treasure. Today we use this chemical for construction, destruction, in the military, and well, fireworks! The rockets that landed in Baghdad follow the same basic recipe used by the ancient Chinese thousands of years ago. If it wasn’t for these advances in chemistry, we may have never been able to land on the moon or explore space. One of the more common products of this invention is the gun. The gun has shaped the history of man, unlike any other instrument. Now whether rockets and guns are good things or bad things in your mind, it must have taken a great deal of ingenuity to formulate these creations, ingenuity that started thousands of years ago.
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