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Pyrotechnics

flame, gunpowder and color

PYROTECHNICS, the art or business of manufacturing or displaying fireworks. The common ingredients are nitre, sulphur and charcoal, together with filings of iron, steel, copper, zinc and resin, camphor, lycopodium, etc. Gunpowder is used either in grain, half crushed, or finely ground, according to the de sired effect. The proportions of the materials differ very much according to the speed of com bustion and the color of flame desired, and the utmost care and precaution are necessary in the manufacture. Lampblack produces a very red color with gunpowder, and a pink with nitre in excess. Yellow sand is introduced to secure golden showers. Verdigris imparts a pale green, sulphate of copper and sal-ammoniac a palm tree green. Camphor produces a -very white flame, with aromatic perfumes, which mask the bad smell of the other ingredients ; berizoine and. storax are also used on account of their agree able odor. Lycopodium, which is often used in the manufacture of stagelightning, burns with a rose color and a magnificent flame. The familiar types of fireworks are: (1) set pieces, that give off. showers of colored sparks or flame, sometimes elaborately arranged to form pictures of fire in the air; (2) pinwheels, that discharge products of combustion from radiant spokes, and so rotate a burning wheel sup ported by a central pin; (3) rockets, that are held by.a light stick, discharged rearward, the

reaction carrying them off in the air (a de scription of sky-rockets will be found under Pepiscritss) ; (4) Roman candles, that dis charge flaming colored balls or stars or bombs; (5) firecrackers, small paper cylinders having a charge of gunpowder ignited by a fuse. Nearly all of these are confined in cylindrical paste board cases, with a fuse of paper cord enclosing a fine train of quick-burning powder. Great in genuity has been expended in obtaining beauti ful effects in The indiscreet use of fireworks by boys and incompetent persons re sulted in so many accidents, especially on the fourth of July, in the United States, that afire less have resulted in most large cities, and the tendency is to confine exhibitions a pyrotechnics to displays under the management of trained experts, the combustibles being so placed that they are largely shut off from any crowd of spectators.