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Fun Firework Faq's

Who Invented Fireworks

It is commonly believed that Fireworks were invented in China as a means to ward off evil spirits. The first fireworks were simply bamboo stalks that when thrown into the fire would make a loud bang. The bang was caused by the air in the hollow pockets of the bamboo heating up and exploding.
Around AD 900 Chinese alchemists were searching for a way to extend life when ironically they invented gunpowder. They had been experimenting with saltpetre in medical compounds for centuries, and eventually, someone tried mixing it with sulfur and charcoal.
The result was burnt hands, feet and the demise of their laboratory.
From there, it did not take much imagination to stuff this mixture into a bamboo tube, and the first firework was born.

How Do Fireworks Get Their Colors?

Fireworks get their colours from metal salts. In the early days of fireworks, there were fewer intense colours. Yellow was produced by arsenical sulphide, green from copper acetate and white from adding mercurous chloride. In 1786 Bertholet discovered that oxidations with potassium chlorate resulted in a violet colour. Further studies on oxidation revealed that chlorates of barium, strontium, copper, and sodium resulted in intense emission of vibrant colours. Specifically, orange is created with Calcium, yellow with Sodium, violet with Potassium, green with Barium, red with Lithium and blue with Copper. Gold sparks are produced by iron filings and small pieces of charcoal. Magnesium burns an intense white, so it is used to add white sparks or to increase the brilliance of a firework.
The metal salts are inserted into the firework as pellets called stars.
After a firework is lit, the powder launches it into the sky. At the same time, a fuse burns into the interior shell of the firework. As the cartridge reaches, it's zenith the wick ignites the stars which explode in a wondrous shower of colour.

What Is An Ariel Shell Firework

An Ariel Shell is a firework that is used in most displays. it was invented in the 1830's in Italy a country with a long tradition of outstanding pyrotechnics. Ariel Shells look a lot like that other Italian speciality the ice cream cone. The shell contains fuel in the bottom while the scoop contains the stars, tiny balls of the chemicals which produce the colour and the ignition charges. The abundance of firework shapes available to today's display designers is a direct result of the inner construction of the shell. 

Why Do Fireworks Make Different Sounds?

The sounds  made by fireworks created by the chemical compounds used in their construction. Aluminium or iron flakes will create hissing or sizzling sparkles, titanium powder causes loud blasts and white sparks.  

What Do The Different Firework Classifications Mean?

The classifications F1, F2 and F3 indicate the fireworks you can buy from your local shop and let off in your garden or during a community event. F1 fireworks are considered safe for indoor use and have minimal power. The difference between an F2 and an F3 firework is the distance that is considered safe between the person lighting the firework and the spectators. F2 category fireworks require a distance of between 8 an 15 meters. F3 category fireworks require a distance of 25 meters. 

Fireworks on sale to the general public have to pass rigorous safety tests, have a safety fuse and clear instructions.

F4 fireworks are for licensed professional display companies use only. Ariel Shells are an example of F4 fireworks which it is illegal for the public to purchase. However the Arial Shells smaller cousin the rocket can produce a similar dramatic effect.