Today, for almost every significant holiday, the sky is lit up with a bright firework, and at the same time, few people think about the history of this amazing sight. We have compiled for our readers the most interesting and truly amazing facts about fireworks.
The craft of making, installing and launching fireworks is called pyrotechnics, from the Greek “pyro” (fire) and “techne” (art).
The profession of pyrotechnics is the ability to apply the laws of physics, chemistry, have design abilities when creating a light or sound show, more about this profession and how to learn it from the link above.
2. The Chinese invented gunpowder
The earliest recorded use of fireworks dates back to 200 BC, to China during the Han Dynasty. People toasted bamboo stalks until the air inside them began to hiss and explode. The resulting loud clap is believed to frighten evil spirits and usher in the arrival of happiness and good fortune. However, when the Chinese invented gunpowder somewhere between 600-900 years of our era, fireworks became even louder and brighter.
3. Hanabi Taikai
In Japan, there is a tradition of holding many pyrotechnic holidays (Hanabi Taikai) in the summer, which take place almost every weekend. For example, in August there were more than 800 shows. Traditionally, these pyrotechnic shows have been used to ward off evil spirits.
4. First fireworks, then gunpowder
The invention of fireworks led to the invention of gunpowder, and not vice versa. During the medieval wars in China, sometimes fireworks were tied to rats, which were thrown into enemy territory. The Chinese also tied fireworks to arrows with straps to intimidate their enemies.
5. Fireworks – metal burning
The colors of the fireworks are the result of burning various metal elements. When burning various elements, they color the flame in various colors. For example, barium is green, sodium is yellow, and lithium and strontium are red.
6. Gunpowder brought to Europe by Arabs
Contrary to popular belief, Marco Polo was not the first to bring gunpowder from China to Europe when he returned from China in 1295. Gunpowder was probably brought earlier by the Arabs through the Silk Road, despite all the efforts of the Chinese to keep his recipe secret.
7. Titanium powder creates loud explosions
Pyrotechnics can create certain firework sounds. For example, aluminum or iron flakes can create hissing sounds, and titanium powder can create loud explosions.
8. Blue color of fireworks
Blue is by far the most elusive firework color for pyrotechnics. Even after thousands of years of existence of fireworks, no one has found the perfect composition to make a bright blue color. In contrast, red, green, orange and white are very easy to manufacture.
9. Henry VII, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I …
The earliest known fireworks in England was launched in 1486 at the wedding of Henry VII. His son Henry VIII also celebrated with his fireworks his wedding with Anna Boleyn. The daughter of Henry VIII and Anna Boleyn, Queen Elizabeth I loved fireworks so much that she established a special post at the court for the man who created the most beautiful fireworks show.
10. Intimidation of Native Americans
According to legend, the first firework in America was launched by Captain John Smith in Jamestown, Virginia in 1608. He wanted to impress or scare Native Americans.
11. Italian fireworks
Italians are known for turning fireworks into a work of art. In fact, many of the leading American companies that produce fireworks or engage in firework shows belong to families of Italian descent, such as Gucci, Rozzi and Zambelli.
12. Fireworks – part of the European holidays
Although fireworks were invented in China around 200 BC, it took about 17 centuries to become part of European holidays. In England, “firemasters” lit fireworks at parties with the help of their assistants or “green men.” The Green People wore green leaf hats to extinguish any sparks to prevent fire.
13. Pyrotechnics Olympics in the Philippines
The Philippines hosts the annual World Pyrotechnics Olympiad. Participants from around the world come together to determine who can create the best fireworks.
14. Fireworks in Oslo
The largest fireworks show was held in Norway on November 29, 2014, when 540,383 fireworks were launched. The spectacle lasted for 1.5 hours in honor of the Norwegian constitution.
15. Only 100 percent cotton
People who make fireworks should wear clothes and even underwear made from 100 percent cotton. Synthetic clothing can create sparks from static electricity that can explode fireworks.