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Who Invented Fireworks?

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Fireworks have been a crowd pleasure in many celebrations. The large thundering sounds, whirls, and explosions that light up the sky can be seen from a far distance. Often, fireworks are associated with celebrations such as the Fourth of July, New Years, and Chinese Celebrations. It has often been a joke that when one needs fireworks, they should go Chinatown in order to acquire some.

Li TianA large statue of Li Tian, the inventor of fireworks. It can be seen in the Liuyang Fireworks Museum in Hunan, China.

Where did it came from?

Fireworks originated in China. It was during the Song dynasty that Li Tian, a Chinese monk, invented fireworks. This invention came soon after the creation of gunpowder. Gunpowder is created by a mixture of saltpeter, which is also a flavoring agent, charcoal, and sulfur. It must be enclosed in a casing in order to have the exploding effect, otherwise it will simply burn. This is most likely where the legend of a Chinese cook accidentally spilling saltpeter into a fire came from.

What was it used for, originally?

Stocked in bamboo casings, these fireworks were shot into the sky for New Years celebrations, though the original purpose was to scare away evil spirits. They were actually used for religious purposes, but also appealed to the crowd. The main focus for in fireworks was the booming sounds that came from them, with the colors and lights being an additional desired effect. It was this loud thundering sound that was considered to be what frightened dark spirits away. It was in 1110, a grand display of fireworks was held for Emperor Huizong of Song, in a martial demonstration.

Other uses for fireworks

Firework technology was not only limited to religious and celebratory use. Recorded evidence of military use was found as well. The Chinese would use rocket propelled projectiles, sending them towards their enemy in battles. Fireworks became a large part of celebrations by the 15th century. They were often used for weddings of military victories.

Fireworks for celebrations

Soon enough, the celebratory use of fireworks was found everywhere, marking great events, such as the stereotypical Fourth of July tradition. During the inauguration of George Washington, fireworks were displayed in honor of him becoming the first president.

Life is so much better with fireworks

Every April 18th, the Chinese people celebrate the invention of fireworks by celebrating its inventor, Li Tian. Fireworks have become a cherished part of many celebrations and often is the event that everyone looks forward to. The loud noises, light and vibrant colors are a sight to see, exciting crowds with awe.

Explosive invention: Gunpowder invention and dynamite invention.