The rockets red glare

By Roger Cowan

Yorktown News-View

Bringing to mind that line from the National Anthem, the fireworks Americans love on the Fourth of July have always been a staple of the holiday, and a sure way to keep a child’s attention for at least a few moments.

But, do you know the history of them?

Though fireworks are made with gunpowder, guns came nearly a century after fireworks. Gunpowder was used for fireworks in China in the 10th Century, while gunpowder for weapons is from the 11th century.

When was the first fireworks display to celebrate the remembrance of July 4, 1776? Well, that would be July 4, 1777. As Americans, we wasted no time in getting in on the act. At the time, we technically were not even a country yet.

The aerial shell that is the key feature of displays around the world would not be invented until the 19th century, when it was created in Italy. And FYI, blue is the hardest color to make.

And one interesting fact, the Walt Disney Company is the second largest purchaser of explosives in the world, second only to the United States Department of Defense.

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