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Title: A Manual of Pyrotechny - or, A Familiar System of Recreative Fire-works
Author: Mortimer, G. W.
Language: English
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[Illustration: PLATE 1. (Figs. 1 to 16)]



  Recreative Fire-Works.


  Admotam rapiunt vivacia sulfura flammam.





The Introduction prefixed to the following little Manual supersedes
the necessity of an extended Preface, and leaves little more to be
mentioned than the design and occasion of the work.

The design of it is to be a useful assistant to those who are fond
of a rational and scientific amusement, and the occasion of it
arises from the great scarcity and general difficulty of procuring
any work on the subject; none having appeared worthy of notice since
that published by Lieutenant Robert Jones, in 1760, and those by the
French Artists mentioned in our Introduction.

In didactic particulars the Author has occasionally availed himself
of the language of the best writers, where such has been corroborated
by subsequent experience.

Perspicuity has been a particular object through the work, and when
technical terms have been used they are generally followed by
familiar explications, and the Author feels assured that the whole
will be found perfectly intelligible to every reader. To experienced
Pyrotechnists this little work cannot be expected to afford much
additional information, yet to them it may contain some little
particulars not known to them before, which from their practical
utility it is hoped will prove acceptable.

The Author publishes this little work, with the desire that it may
prove a useful assistant to those who are unacquainted with the
principles of the art on which it treats. If in any way it should
contribute to this purpose, an apology for obtruding it upon the
Public will certainly be unnecessary.

  _January 1st, 1824._



  Introduction                                                       1


  History and description of Gunpowder                              10


  Materials                                                         29

  Nitre                                                          ibid.

  Sulphur                                                           32

  To purify Sulphur                                                 34

  Charcoal                                                       ibid.

  Steel-dust                                                        35

  To prepare Iron-sand                                              37

  Second method                                                  ibid.

  Oil of Camphor                                                    40

  Benzoin                                                        ibid.


  Apparatus                                                         42

  Grinding Machines                                                 43

  Another method of Grinding                                        44

  Method of Mixing the Ingredients                                  45


  Description and Variety of Fire-works                             47

  Touch-paper                                                       48

  To make Touch-paper                                            ibid.

  Quick-match                                                       49

  To make Quick-matches; and composition for ditto                  50

  Port-Fires                                                        51

  Compositions for ditto                                            52

  Port-fires for Illuminations                                      53

  Leaders, or Pipes of Communication                             ibid.

  Application of ditto                                              54


  Of single Fire-works                                              57

  Serpents                                                       ibid.

  Crackers                                                          59

  Pin wheels                                                        61

  Stars                                                             63

  Strung Stars                                                      64

  Tailed Stars                                                      65

  Driven Stars                                                   ibid.

  Rolled Stars                                                       6

  Sparks                                                            68

  Another method of making ditto                                    69

  Marroons                                                       ibid.

  Construction                                                      70

  Saucissons                                                     ibid.

  Batteries of Marroons, &c.                                        71

  Gerbes                                                            72

  Small Gerbes                                                      75

  Roman Candles                                                     76

  Chinese Fire                                                      79

  Composition for ditto, Red and White                           ibid.


  Rockets                                                           81

  Sky Rockets                                                       83

  Dimensions of Rockets                                             88

  Calibre and Weight of Rockets                                     89

  Calibre of Moulds                                                 90

  Remarks on the foregoing Tables                                   91

  Preparing the Cartridges                                          93

  Filling and Ramming the Cases                                     96

  Directions for ditto                                              97

  Preparing and fixing the pots to the Heads of Rockets            101

  Table for the Length and Proportion of Rods                      105

  Tables of Composition for Rockets                                106

  To cause a Rocket to ascend in a Spiral form                     109

  Towering Rockets                                                 110

  Honorary Rockets                                                 111

  Caduceus Rockets                                                 112

  Signal Rockets                                                   113

  Table Rockets                                                    115

  Scrolls for Rockets                                              116

  Courantines, or Line Rockets                                     117

  Revolving Courantines                                            121

  To represent by Rockets various forms in the air                 122

  To cause a Rocket to form an arc in rising                       128

  To fire Rockets without Rods                                     124

  Theory of the flight of Rockets                                  125


  Tables of various compositions                                   130


  Compound Fire-Works                                              139

  Girandole chests of Serpents                                   ibid.

  Girandole chests of Rockets                                      141

  Pots des Brins                                                   142

  Jets of Fire                                                     143

  Chinese Fountain                                                 145

  Pyramid of Flower Pots                                           146

  Wheels                                                           149

  Ditto single Horizontal                                          150

  Ditto Plural                                                     152

  Wheels Spiral                                                    152

  Ditto Ditto Illuminated                                          153

  Ditto Balloon                                                    154

  Ditto Ground                                                     155

  Ditto Horizontal changed to a Vertical                           156

  Ditto Vertical Scroll                                            158

  Ditto remarks on                                               ibid.

  Fir tree, to represent                                           159

  Yew tree of Brilliant Fire                                       160

  Fixed Fire Globes                                                161

  Globes which leap or roll on the ground                        ibid.

  Moon and seven Stars                                             164

  Suns, fixed and moveable                                         165

  Composition for representing Animals and other devices in fire   168

  Aquatic fire-works                                             ibid.

  Fire fountain for the water                                      170

  Conclusion                                                       172

[Illustration: (Figs. 17 to 29)]


The term _Pyrotechny_ is derived from _pyr_ and _techny_, the two
Greek words for FIRE and ART; or it is the art of employing fire for
purposes of utility or pleasure. The term has been applied by some
writers to the use and structure of fire-arms, and Artillery employed
in the art of warfare; but in the present publication, we shall take
a different view of the subject; for we can see no amusement in the
motion of a bullet, which decimates so many of our fellow-creatures,
nor in the action of a bomb-shell, that carries with it more dreadful

We shall confine ourselves in this Work to a more pleasing
application of fire, and endeavour to give plain and efficient
rules for the _safe_ management of that element, and for the making,
by means of gunpowder, and other inflammable substances, various
compositions, agreeable to the eye, both by their form and splendor,
and to describe every principal article and instrument made use of in
these pleasing operations.

On the other hand, our Work does not pretend to dictate an _original_
set of rules and receipts, for those who term themselves _Artists
in Fire-works_, whose exclusive business it is to manufacture the
different articles on which it treats; to those, it is expected it
will yield but little instruction; but, to the sciolistic Tyro in
the Art, it is intended (as its title expresses) to be a _Manual
of Pyrotechny_, and to treat of fire-works as objects of rational
amusement; to describe in a perspicuous manner the materials and
apparatus made use of in their construction; and to select such
examples of their particular combinations, as are calculated rather
for private diversion than public exhibition. The directions herein
given (if strictly attended to) will enable youth to gratify
their taste for this species of recreation at a comparatively
small expense, and at the same time will guard them against those
accidents which often arise to the ignorant, in firing the larger
works purchased from the makers; and throughout the whole it will
strictly observe a principle of economy, the neglect of which has so
frequently retarded the operations of genius.

In regard to the origin of Pyrotechny, our knowledge is very
limited. The Chinese are said to have been the first people who had
any practical knowledge of it, or brought the art to any degree of
perfection; with them the use of fire-works is said to have been
very general, long before they were known in European countries;
and from accounts given of some recent exhibitions at Pekin, it
should seem that they have attained to a degree of perfection not
surpassed by any of our modern artists: Mr. Barrow, in his “Travels
in China” gives, from the Journal of Lord Macartney, the following
description of one of their exhibitions: “The fire-works, in some
particulars,” says he, “exceeded any thing of the kind I had ever
seen. In grandeur, magnificence, and variety, they were, I own,
inferior to the Chinese fire-works we had seen at Batavia, but
infinitely superior in point of novelty, neatness, and ingenuity
of contrivance. One piece of machinery I greatly admired: a green
chest, five feet square, was hoisted up by a pulley fifty or sixty
feet from the ground, the bottom of which was so contrived as then
suddenly to fall out, and make way for twenty or thirty strings of
lanterns, inclosed in a box, to descend from it, unfolding themselves
from one another by degrees, so as at last, to form a collection of
full five hundred, each having a light of a beautifully coloured
flame burning brightly within it. This devolution and development of
lanterns were several times repeated, and at every time exhibiting a
difference of colour and figure. On each side was a correspondence
of smaller boxes, which opened in like manner as the other, and let
down an immense net-work of fire, with divisions and compartments of
various forms and dimensions, round and square, hexagons, octagons,
&c. which shone like the brightest burnished copper, and flashed
like prismatic lightnings, with every impulse of the wind. The
whole concluded with a volcano, or general explosion and discharge
of suns and stars, squibs, crackers, rockets, and grenadœs, which
involved the gardens for an hour in a cloud of intolerable smoke.”
The diversity of colour, with which the Chinese have the secret
of clothing their fire, seems one of the chief merits of their
“Pyrotechny;” and which alone would set them upon an equal footing
with the Europeans. It is to them, no doubt, that we are indebted
for the discovery of that beautiful composition, which is still
known by the name of the “Chinese fire:” and to them we are likewise
indebted, for the method of representing with fire, that pleasing
and perpetual variety of figures, which (when judiciously arranged)
seem to emulate in splendour those endless beauties, which adorn our
celestial hemisphere. In Europe, the Florentines are said to have
been the first people that gained a knowledge of the invention, and,
we have reason to think it was not long after the discovery of the
use of gunpowder and fire-arms, about the end of the thirteenth, or
beginning of the fourteenth century; we say the _use_ of gunpowder,
or application of it to fire-arms, for we believe the discovery
of it to be of much earlier date, than what is generally given to
it: and, whether the invention of the art of fire-works is not
coeval with that of gunpowder, is a question not over-burthened
with improbability. The French have published several treatises
on Pyrotechny, such as the “_Traité des Feux d’Artifice pour le
spectacle et pour la Guerre_,” by Perrinet d’Orval. The _Manuel
d’Artificier_, by Father d’Incarville, and several others of the like
nature: in some of which, they attach to the Chinese a _very_ early
knowledge of the art, and consequently the composition of gunpowder,
or at least the effects of a similar combination, was not entirely
unknown to them. But as the French gained their knowledge of the
art from the Italians, they may probably be in an error respecting
its invention: whether they are or not, it will have but a negative
effect on the present Work. Tracing its progress to England, we
shall endeavour to give as good a delineation of the state in which
it now exists, as the nature of our Work will admit; supposing it to
be much nearer perfection than when in its earlier stages, for we
believe the English import nothing but what they improve.

An art which furnishes such an extensive field for amusement, reduced
to plain and simple rules, digested in a familiar manner, (which the
most limited capacities will be able to understand,) cannot fail to
be entertaining to every admirer of scientific amusement.

It has been regretted by many that no publication of a like nature
is now extant; and a celebrated writer, long known to the popular
reader, has even said, that “the English have no respectable work on
the subject.”

How far the present will supply such a desideratum must be left
for the candid reader to determine. The Author would wish it to
be understood, that although he has conducted some part of his
Work upon mathematical principles, it is not intended as a perfect
philosophical work on the subject, but as an attempt to embody into
one small volume, all that has hitherto been written on the subject;
and if from which, the Pyrotechnic Tyro receive any assistance for
the attainment of an Art, which has for its object such an endless
source of entertainment, the Author’s purpose will be positively

Though very much protracted, we cannot close our Introduction without
observing, that few spectacles are more beautiful or more calculated
for entertainment, than a well-conducted display of fire-works, in
which are exhibited such various bodies, so brilliantly illuminated,
and arranged in the most variegated forms: sometimes producing
surprising and unexpected manations, moving with velocity through the
air, throwing out innumerable sparks or blazing balls, which fly off
into the infinity of space: others suddenly exploding, scatter abroad
luminous fragments of fire, which are trajected with the most speedy
trepidation: and again, others are revolving on a quiescent centre,
and by their revolutions produce the most beautiful circles of fire,
which seem to vie with each other in their emanations of splendour
and light.

Such is a faint delineation of the various effects which are
producible by fire, and for which we shall endeavour to give every
requisite instruction; and for preparing the most pleasing garbs, in
which this element may be presented.




Before we enter into the practical part of Pyrotechny, we deem it
consistent with the nature of our Work to give an ample description
of the materials made use of; for we do not take it for granted that
all our readers are _chemists_, or that they are sufficiently versed
in that science to render such description unnecessary. But before
the principles of the art can be well understood, or successfully
applied, it is proper that the artist should possess a portion of
_chemical_ and _mechanical_ knowledge; the first will teach him to
select his materials with judgment, to free them from impurities, and
combine them in the proportions most suitable for each particular
purpose; and the latter will assist him in constructing his different
pieces so as to produce the desired effect with the least loss of
time and force. The _mechanical apparatus_ we shall defer describing
till they come immediately under hand, and such protraction we think
will be conducive to a better understanding of their utility: and,
in some other Section, we shall teach him to calculate the direction
which the flying fire-works (from their principles of construction)
are to move, and the velocity with which they are to proceed.

Gunpowder is the principal ingredient made use of in Pyrotechny; and,
being of itself a compound, we shall make it the first object of
description, and endeavour to point out the cause of every property
it possesses.

The invention of it is ascribed, by Polydore Virgil, to a chemist,
who accidentally put some of the composition, viz. nitre, sulphur,
and charcoal into a mortar, and covered it with a stone, when it
happened to take fire, and, what was a natural (though unexpected)
consequence of such combination, it shattered the stone to pieces.

Thevet says, the person here spoken of was a monk of Fribourg, named
Constantine Anelzen; but Belleforet, and other authors, with more
probability, suppose him to be Bartholdus Schwartz, or the Black, who
discovered it, as some say, about the year 1320; and the first use
of it is ascribed to the Venetians in the year 1380, during the war
with the Genoese; and it is said to have first been employed in a
place anciently called Fossa Clodia, now Chioggia, against Lawrence
de Medicis; and that all Italy made complaints against it, as a
manifest contravention of fair warfare.

But this account is contradicted, and Gunpowder shewn to be of an
earlier era, for the Moors, when they were besieged in 1343 by
Alphonsus XI. King of Castile, are said to have discharged a sort of
iron mortars upon them, which made a noise like thunder; and this
assertion is seconded by what Don Pedro, bishop of Leon, relates
of King Alphonsus, who reduced Toledo, viz. “that in a sea-combat
between the King of Tunis, and the Moorish King of Seville, about
four hundred and fifty years ago, those of Tunis had certain iron
tubes or barrels, wherewith they threw thunder-bolts of fire.”

Farther, it appears that our Roger Bacon knew of Gunpowder near a
hundred years before Schwartz was born. That excellent friar tells
us, in his treatise, “_De Secretis Operibus Artis & Naturæ, & de
Nullitate Magiæ_,” that from salt-petre, and other ingredients,
we are able to make a fire that shall burn at what distance we
please; and the writer of the life of Friar Bacon says, that Bacon
himself has divulged the secret of this composition in a cypher,
by transposing the letters of the two words in chap. xi. of the
above-cited treatise, where it is thus expressed; “sed tamen salis
petræ _lura mope can ubre_, (i. e. carbonum pulvere) et sulphuris;
et sic facies tonitrum & corruscationem, si scias artificium:” and
from hence Bacon’s biographer apprehends the words _carbonum pulvere_
were transferred to the sixth chapter of Dr. Longbain’s MS. In this
same chapter Bacon expressly says, that sounds like thunder, and
coruscations, may be formed in the air, much more horrible than those
that happen naturally. He adds, that there are many ways of doing
this, by which a city or an army might be destroyed; and he supposes
that, by an artifice of this kind, Gideon defeated the Midianites
with only three hundred men, (Judges, chap. 7th.) There is only
another passage to the same purpose, in his treatise “De Scientia
Experimentalia:” see Dr. Jebb’s edition of the Opus Magus, p. 474.
Mr. Robins apprehends (see the preface to his Tracts,) that Bacon
describes Gunpowder, not as a new composition first proposed by
himself, but as the application of an old one to military purposes,
and that it was known long before this time.

Dr. Jebb, in his preface to the above-cited work, describes two
kinds of fire-works; one for flying, inclosed in a case or cartouche,
made long and slender, and filled with the composition closely
rammed, like our modern rocket, and the other thick and short,
strongly tied at both ends, and half filled, resembling our cracker;
and the composition which he prescribes for both, is two pounds of
charcoal, one pound of sulphur, and six pounds of salt-petre, well
powdered and mixed together in a stone mortar.

Mr. Dutens in his “Inquiry into the Origin of the discoveries
attributed to the moderns,” carries the antiquity of Gunpowder
much higher; and refers to the accounts given by Virgil, Hyginus,
Eustathius, Valerius Flaccus, and many other writers of the same date.

To close this tedious detail, we will mention one more work, which
seems to confirm the antiquity of this composition, viz. the “Code
of Gentoo Laws,” 1776; in the preface of which it is asserted, that
Gunpowder was known to the inhabitants of Hindostan, far beyond all
periods of investigation.

Having said thus much concerning the history and antiquity of this
wonderful composition, it remains for us to describe the method by
which it is now manufactured: but to retain that _gradatum_, or
progressive order, with which we commenced our Work, it is necessary
that we first describe the ingredients of which it is composed; for
it is only by a knowledge of the parts of any composition, that we
can gain a good understanding of the properties of the whole.

There are only three ingredients that enter into the composition of
Gunpowder; these are Salt-petre, Sulphur, and Charcoal. The first is
a combination of Nitric Acid[1] and Potash,[2] and is better known
in modern chemistry by the name of Nitrate of Potash. The second
is a substance very well known, from the inflammable properties it
possesses; it is found alone, or combined with other bodies, in
various situations; in volcanic productions it is found almost in its
last degree of purity: it is found also, in the state of sulphuric
acid; that is to say, combined with oxygen: it is found in this
state in argil,[3] gypsum,[4] &c. and it may be likewise extracted
from vegetable substances and animal matter. The third and last, is
an article so well known in commerce, that it is almost needless to
describe it; we shall therefore only observe, that the Charcoal found
to be best for the composition of Gunpowder, is that made from the
alder, willow, or black dog-wood.

This powerful composition is a mixture of these three ingredients,
combined in the following proportions: for each 100 parts of
Gunpowder, salt-petre 75 parts, sulphur 10, and charcoal 15. In some
countries, the proportions are somewhat different; but this is the
combination made use of by most of the English manufacturers.

The salt-petre is either that imported from the East Indies, or that
which has been extracted from damaged Gunpowder. It is refined by
solution, filtration, evaporation, and crystallization; after which
it is fused, taking care that too much heat is not employed, or there
is danger of decomposing the nitre.

The sulphur used is that which is imported from Sicily, and is
refined by melting and skimming; the most impure is refined by

The charcoal is made in the following manner. The wood is first cut
into pieces of about nine inches in length, and put into an iron
cylinder placed horizontally. The front aperture of the cylinder is
then closely stopped: at the other end there are pipes connected with
casks. Fire being made under the cylinder, the pyro-ligneous acid[5]
comes over. The gas escapes, and the acid liquor is collected in the
casks: the fire is kept up till no more gas or liquid comes over, and
the carbon[6] remains in the cylinder.

The three ingredients being properly prepared, are ready for
manufacturing. They are first separately ground into a fine powder,
then mixed in the proper proportions, and afterwards committed to
the mill for the purpose of incorporating their component parts. The
powder-mill is a slight wooden building, with a boarded roof, so
that in case of accidental explosions, the roof may fly off without
difficulty, and in the least injurious direction, and thus be the
means of preserving the other parts of the building.

The operative parts of the mill consist of two stones placed
vertically, and running on another placed horizontally, which is
called the bed-stone, or trough. On this bed-stone, about forty or
fifty pounds of the composition are spread out, and moistened with
water till reduced to about the consistency of a very stiff paste:
after the stone-runners have made the proper revolutions over it,
which requires about eight hours continued action of the mill, which
is worked sometimes by horses, and sometimes by water, it is then
taken from the mill, and sent to the corning-house, to be corned or
grained. Here it is formed into hard lumps, and these are put into
circular sieves, with parchment bottoms, perforated with holes of
different sizes, and fixed in a frame connected with a horizontal
wheel. Each of these sieves is also furnished with a runner or
spheroid of lignum vitæ, which, being set in motion by the action
of the wheels, forces the paste through the holes of the parchment
bottom, forming grains of different sizes. The grains are then
separated from the dust by sieves and reels made for that purpose.
The grains are next hardened, and the rougher edges are taken off
by shaking them for some time in a close reel, moved in a circular
direction with a proper velocity.

When the powder has been corned, dusted, and glazed, it is dried in
the stove-house, where great care should be taken to avoid explosion.
The stove-house is a square apartment, three sides of which are
furnished with shelves or cases, on proper supports, arranged round
the room; and the fourth contains a large cast-iron vessel, called
a “gloom,” which projects into the room, and is heated from the
outside, so that no part of the fuel may touch the powder. For
greater security against sparks by accidental friction, the glooms
are covered with sheet-copper, and are always cool when the powder is
put in or taken out of the room.

Here the grains are thoroughly dried, losing in the process what
remains of the water added to the mixture in the mill, for bringing
it to a working stiffness. A method of drying powder, by steam-pipes
running round and crossing the apartment, has been successfully
tried; and thus the possibility of any injurious accident from
over-heating is prevented. The temperature of the room, when heated
in the common way by a gloom-stove, is always regulated by a
thermometer hung in the door of the stoves.

If Gunpowder is injured by damp in a small degree, it may be
recovered by again drying it in a stove; but if the ingredients
are decomposed, the nitre must be extracted by boiling, filtering,
evaporating, crystallizing, &c. and then, with fresh sulphur and
charcoal, to be re-manufactured.

There are several methods of proving and trying the goodness and
strength of Gunpowder. The following, as common methods, are
frequently made use of. 1, By sight; for if it be too black, it is
too moist, or has too much charcoal in it; so also if rubbed upon
white paper, it blackens it more than good powder does. 2, By touch;
for if in crushing with your finger-ends, the grains break easy, and
turn into dust, without feeling hard, it has too much charcoal in
it; or if in pressing under your fingers upon a smooth, hard board,
some grains feel harder than the rest, or, as it were, dent your
finger-ends, the sulphur is not well mixed with the nitre, and the
powder is bad. And also by burning, in which method, little heaps of
powder are laid on white paper three or four inches asunder, and one
of them fired; which, if the flame ascend rapidly, and with a good
report, leaving the paper free from white spots, and without burning
holes in it, and if sparks fly off and set fire to the adjoining
heaps, the quality of the powder may be safely relied on; but if
otherwise, it is either badly made, or the ingredients are impure.

These are some from among the common methods made use of for this
purpose; but for greater accuracy in determining the relative
strength of Gunpowder, various machines have of late been invented
by men connected with military affairs. That excellent mathematician
and philosopher, C. Hutton, LL.D. F.R.S. and late Professor of
Mathematics in the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, has constructed
a machine for this purpose, which, for convenience and accuracy,
far surpasses any thing of the kind hitherto invented. It is called
Eprouvette, or a Gunpowder Prover, (for plans and description see
third vol. Hutton’s Tracts, page 153;) and from its possessing so
many peculiar advantages, is now generally used. It consists of
a small cannon, the bore of which is about one inch in diameter,
suspended freely like a pendulum, with the axis in a horizontal
direction. This being charged with the proper quantity of powder,
which is usually about two ounces, and then fired, the gun swings
or recoils backward, and the instrument itself shews the extent of
the first or greatest vibration, which indicates the strength to the
utmost nicety. The whole machine is so simple, easy, and expeditious
in its use, that the weighing of the powder is the greatest part
of the trouble; and it is also so uniform with itself, that the
successive repetitions or firings with the same quantity of the same
kind of powder, hardly ever yield a difference of the hundredth part
from the first vibration.

Having thus given an account of almost every thing necessary to
be known in regard to the process of making and ascertaining the
relative strength of Gunpowder, we shall close this article with a
few observations (which will be selected from the best authorities)
on the physical causes of its inflammation and exploding. When the
several ingredients of Gunpowder are properly prepared, mixed, and
grained, in the manner already described, if the least spark be
struck thereon from a steel and flint, the whole will be immediately
inflamed, and burst out with extreme violence.

The effect is not hard to account for: the charcoal part of the
grains whereon the spark falls, catching fire like tinder, the
sulphur and nitre are ready melted, and the former also breaks into
flame; and at the same time the contiguous grains undergo the same
fate.--Now it is known that salt-petre, when ignited, rarefies to
a prodigious degree. Sir Isaac Newton reasons thus on the subject:
“the charcoal and sulphur in Gunpowder easily take fire, and kindle
the nitre; and the spirit of the nitre, being thereby rarefied into
vapour, rushes out with an explosion much after the manner that the
vapour of water rushes out of an æolipils; the sulphur also, being
volatile, is converted into vapour, and augments the explosion: add,
that the acid vapour of the sulphur, namely, that which distils under
a bell into oil of sulphur, entering violently into the fixed body of
the nitre, lets loose the spirit of the nitre, and excites a greater
fermentation, whereby the heat is farther augmented, and the fixed
body of the nitre is also rarefied into fume; and the explosion is
thereby made more vehement and quick.”

For if salt of tartar be mixed with Gunpowder, and that mixture be
warmed till it take fire, the explosion will be greatly more violent
and quick than that of Gunpowder alone, which cannot proceed from any
other cause than the action of the vapour of Gunpowder upon the salt
of tartar, whereby the salt is rarefied.

The explosion of Gunpowder arises, therefore, from the violent action
whereby all the mixture being quickly and vehemently heated, is
rarefied and converted into fume and vapour; which vapour, by the
violence of that action, becomes so hot as to shine, and appear in
the form of a flame.

Another cause of the effects of Gunpowder, may be owing to the sudden
formation of a quantity of gas, and are consequently greater when
the gas is confined in all directions but one, as in our guns and
cannons. The nitric acid of salt-petre is decomposed, and affords the
gas. The other ingredients dispose it to be easily inflamed, which is
necessary to the decomposition of the acid. Dr. Ingenhousy accounts
for the effect of Gunpowder by observing that nitre yields by heat
a surprising quantity of pure dephlogisticated air, and charcoal
a considerable quantity of inflammable air; the fire employed to
inflame the powder extricates these two airs, and sets fire to them
at the instant of their extrication.

Count Rumford is of opinion that the force of the elastic fluid,
generated in the combustion of Gunpowder, may be satisfactorily
accounted for upon the supposition that its force depends solely on
the elasticity of watery vapour or steam.

M. de la Hire, in the history of the French Academy for 1702,
ascribes all the force and effect of Gunpowder to the spring or
elasticity of the air inclosed in the several grains thereof, and
in the intervals or spaces between the grains, the powder being
kindled sets the springs of so many little parcels of air playing,
and dilates them all at once, whence the effect; the powder itself
only serving to light a fire which may put the air in action, after
which the whole is done by the air alone.

Dr. Hutton seems to differ from the opinion of M. de la Hire, in
regard to the expansion of inflamed gunpowder. Is it, he observes,
occasioned by the air interposed between its grains, or by the
aqueous fluid which enters into the composition of the nitre? We
doubt much (continues he) whether it be the air, as its expansibility
does not seem sufficient to explain the phenomenon; but we know that
water, when converted into vapour by the contact of heat, occupies a
space 14,000 times greater than its original bulk, and that its force
is very considerable.

The same learned author says, that the discovery of the true cause
of the expansive force of fired Gunpowder, is chiefly due to the
English philosophers, and particularly to the learned and ingenious
Mr. Robins. This author apprehends that the force of fired gunpowder
consists in the action of a permanently elastic fluid, suddenly
disengaged from the powder by the combustion, similar in some
respects to common atmospheric air, at least as to elasticity.
He shewed, by satisfactory experiments, that a fluid of this
kind is actually disengaged by firing the powder; and that it is
_permanently_ elastic, or retains its elasticity when cold, the force
of which he measured in this state. He also measured the force of it
when inflamed, by a most ingenious method, and found its strength in
that state to be about a thousand times the strength or elasticity
of common atmospheric air. This, our Doctor observes, is not its
utmost degree of strength, as it is found to increase in its force
when fired in larger quantities than those employed by Mr. Robins;
so much so indeed, that by more accurate experiments, we have found
its force rise as high as 1600 or 1800 times the force of atmospheric
air in its usual state. Much beyond this it is not probable it can
go, nor indeed possible, if there be any truth in the common and
allowed physical principles of mechanics. With an elastic fluid, of
a given force, we infallibly know, or compute the effects it can
produce, in impelling a given body; and on the other hand, from the
effects or velocities with which given bodies are impelled by an
elastic fluid, we certainly know the force or strength of that fluid,
and these effects we have found perfectly to accord with the force
above mentioned. Mr. Robins’s discovery and opinions have also been
corroborated by others, among the best chemists and philosophers.
Lavoisier was of opinion that the force of fired gunpowder depends,
in a great measure, on the expansive force of uncombined caloric,
supposed to be let loose in a great abundance, during the combustion
or deflagration of the powder. And Bouillon Lagrange, in his course
of Chemistry says, when gunpowder takes fire there is a disengagement
of azotic gas, which expands in an astonishing manner when set
at liberty; and we are even still ignorant of the extent of the
dilatation occasioned by the heat arising from the combustion.
A decomposition of water also takes place, and hydrogen gas is
disengaged with elasticity; and by this decomposition of water there
is formed carbonic acid gas, and even sulphurated hydrogen gas, which
is the cause of the hepatic smell emitted by burnt powder.

It has been found by experiment, that granulated powder inflames
with much greater rapidity than that which is not granulated; the
latter only puffs away slowly, while the other takes fire almost
instantaneously; and of the granulated kinds, that in round grains
much sooner than that in oblong irregular grains; the cause of which
may arise from the former leaving to the flame larger and freer
interstices, which produce the inflammation with much more rapidity.

Gunpowder is supposed to explode at about 600° Fahr. but if heated to
a degree just below that of faint redness, the sulphur will mostly
burn off, leaving the nitre and charcoal unaltered.

Experiments have also proved, that the variations in the state of the
atmosphere do not any way alter the action of powder. By comparing
several trials made at noon in the hottest summer sun, with those
made in the morning and evening, no certain difference could be
perceived; and it was the same with those made in the night, and in
winter. And indeed, considering the principles of the explosion, and
that it always contains the same quantity of the elastic fluid, it is
difficult to conceive how its force can be affected by the density or
rarity of the atmosphere.

The action and nature of this formidable composition being now
somewhat fully described, we shall proceed to the principal object of
our Work, that of constructing the most common and curious articles
for Pyrotechnic exhibitions.



Having in the preceding Section, entered somewhat largely on
the nature and properties of Gunpowder, and consequently of the
ingredients which compose it, any further observations on them would
be unnecessary, providing the ingredients and proportions always
remained the same. But as the ingredients used in the manufacture of
that article are frequently employed in various other proportions,
to form compositions for filling fire-works, it is necessary to give
some further directions for the choice and purification of these
articles, which, together with the apparatus made use of in the
making of fire-works, will form the subject of the present section.

1. NITRE.--Among the various articles made use of in the composition,
none are of greater importance than salt-petre, for on the quantity
and purity of this depends all the force and much of the brilliancy
of the fire. The most common sort is that usually sold by the
grocers, and is generally in large lumps formed of an assemblage
of small crystals somewhat transparent, and often mixed with earthy
matter and many other impurities. In its purest state it is in the
form of small six-sided prismatic crystals, not apt to grow moist or
powdery on exposure to the air. The pure nitre is now become very
expensive, so it is of consequence to know how the common nitre,
or nitre of commerce may be purified, for it is found to answer no
purpose in Pyrotechny unless such change or purification in it have
been effected.

Nitre is found, (like most of other saline bodies) to be much more
soluble in boiling water, than in water of the ordinary temperature.
If therefore the nitre of commerce be dissolved in a small quantity
of boiling water, and the solution be properly strained, the liquor,
when cold, will afford crystals that are very pure. The following
is the most convenient method of proceeding: dissolve the nitre in
boiling water, (which should be soft water,) in the proportion of
about a quart to each pound of nitre; and that the solution may be
more easily effected, let the nitre be reduced to a powder, previous
to its being immersed, and let the vessel containing the nitre and
water be kept at the boiling heat till all the salt is dissolved;
then strain the liquor, while hot, through thick blotting paper,
placed in a clean funnel; and set by the filtered liquor in a shallow
vessel, in a cold place, to crystallize. The crystals thus obtained
are to be dried, first in blotting-paper, and then before the fire,
and kept for use. From the remaining solution, which is sometimes
called _mother-water_, fresh crystals may be procured by boiling it
in a clean tin vessel till a filming scum arises to the surface, then
filtering it through paper, and setting it aside to crystallize as

Very pure nitre may also be obtained from damaged gunpowder, which
may be sometimes procured at a cheap rate, at the shops where it is
sold for this purpose. The damaged powder must be ground with a small
quantity of hot water, in a large wooden or stone mortar, otherwise
it may be boiled over a gentle fire, with as much water as will cover
it, till as much as possible of the nitre is dissolved; the liquor is
then to be strained through a thick flannel bag, afterwards filtered
through blotting-paper while hot, the sediment to be boiled down till
a film rises on the surface; again filtered and set by to cool and
crystallize, as directed in the process for the former method.

As the nitre must always be reduced to fine powder, previous to
mixing it with other substances, this is easily done by dissolving
it in a little more than its own weight of boiling water, keeping
the solution over a gentle fire, and continually stirring it with a
flat stick till all the water is evaporated, when the powder is to
be taken out and dried before a gentle fire; during which, care must
be taken not to let it remain too long, or exposed to too great a
heat, otherwise it will be melted into a firm cake. The drying may be
completed by suffering it to remain a sufficient time on paper before
the fire. For the purification of salt-petre, both these methods
may (by attending to the foregoing instructions,) be practised with
success; but of the two, we would more strongly recommend the former.

2. SULPHUR.--Sulphur is the next ingredient, in regard to importance,
as being the most inflammable material we are acquainted with. It
exists in three states, in all of which it is occasionally employed
in fire-works; the first is that brought from the neighbourhood of
volcanoes, and is called _native sulphur_, but more commonly _sulphur
vivum_, though (it may be observed,) what is sold in the shops under
this name is a drossy powder, the refuse left after purification.
The second is that in the roll, called _roll sulphur_, or _stone
brimstone_. The third is the _sublimed sulphur_, or as it is commonly
called _flower of sulphur_; this when genuine is the purest, and
is found to answer best for all nice and delicate articles, and
from its being already in a state of powder it is by far the most
convenient, as the others require to be ground or mealed previous
to their being used. The first kind is the cheapest, and answers
pretty well for all large and coarse articles, but as it is most
frequently mixed with earthy matter and other impurities, the use of
it we would not very much recommend. The second is found to be the
strongest, and which is mostly used, particularly for most of the
ordinary articles; but such is the desire of gain, that this article
of sulphur is not suffered to pass through the hands of dealers
without its quality being reduced by adulteration, which they effect
by mixing with it rosin, flour, &c.; when pure it is of a bright
yellow colour, dense but not too heavy, easily cracks with the heat
of the hand, and the broken parts look bright and crystallized.
There is another kind of _sulphur_ (though not generally known among
dealers) which does not burn like the others, and what is rather
singular, it emits no sulphurous smell, for being put upon the fire
it melts just like common wax; this sort is found in great abundance
in Iceland near Mount Hecla, and Carniola. This sulphur is commonly
of a reddish colour, like that found in the straits of Heildesheim,
where it is likewise of several colours, as pale yellow and green,
and generally adheres to the surface of stone and rocks, from which
it may be easily broken off and collected; that which is perfectly
yellow of each kind is the best. That of our first description,
or _sulphur vivum_, is sometimes called _quick sulphur_ from its
undergoing no change by fire, since its productions by nature; and
in some countries it is called _virgin sulphur_, because the women
and girls in Campania frequently make a kind of paint of it, for
no less delicate purpose than that of beautifying the face. Should
either kind be met with in an impure state the following method may
be applied for the purpose of purification.

3. _To purify Sulphur._--Melt a quantity of it in an iron pan, by
which means the earthy and metallic parts will be precipitated, and
then pour it into a copper-kettle, where it will form another deposit
of the impure matter with which it is mixed; after keeping it for
some time in a melted state, pour it into cylindric wooden moulds,
for the purpose of forming it into sticks; the moulds may be about an
inch in diameter; their length may be various. If the sulphur should
take fire during this operation it may be quickly extinguished by
covering the pan close over at the top.

4. CHARCOAL is also a considerable ingredient in our compositions,
but is of a much more simple nature than that of the foregoing ones.
It may generally be procured at the hardware shops, or at foundries,
or it may be easily prepared, for which put a quantity of small
pieces of wood, such as beech or alder, into a large earthen or iron
pot, filling up the vacuities, and covering the top with sand; then
placing the pot in the middle of a strong fire, and keeping it at a
red heat for two or three hours, as the sand excludes the air, the
wood is thus reduced to charcoal without the possibility of its being
consumed; and when the pot is cold, the charcoal is to be taken out
and kept for use in some very dry place. Small quantities should only
be made at a time, as it is always best newly prepared.

5. STEEL-DUST is another important ingredient in fire-works, for
being mixed with mealed powder or some other composition, and the
mixture inflamed in a proper tube, or case, the jet of fire produces
a most brilliant appearance by the sparks arising from the ignition
of the iron in the oxygen gas of the nitre.

Iron-filings, (for this Steel-dust is nothing more than pure iron
reduced into small particles by filing or some other method,) when
free from rust, and not mixed with any impurities, answer very well;
but fire-work makers generally prefer cast-iron reduced to powder,
by beating thin plates of it on a cast-iron anvil with a heavy
hammer, and sifting the broken particles through sieves of brass or
iron wire, of different degrees of fineness, so as to separate the
particles into grains of various sizes, according to the magnitude
of the pieces. The grains thus sorted have been called _iron-sand_,
and have been distinguished into sand of three or four _orders_,
according to their respective fineness; thus the sand that passes
through the finest sieve, is called sand of the _first order_; and
that which passes through the second, sand of the _second order_;
and so on to the fourth, which is generally very coarse. The finest
is calculated for fire-works of the smallest size, the second for
pieces somewhat larger, and that of the last order, only for pieces
of the largest size, such as gerbes of six or eight pounds, the
composition of which being of proportionate strength to bring such
large particles into a state of ignition.

As these grains are very apt to rust by keeping, they should be
preserved either in close stopped bottles, well dried, or in boxes
that shut close, and are lined with paper moistened in linseed oil.
It sometimes happens that fire-works may be required to be kept a
long time, or sent abroad; neither of which could be done with the
brilliant fires, if made with filings unprepared, for this reason,
that the salt-petre being of a damp nature it causes the iron to
rust; the consequence of which is, that when the works are fired
there will appear but very few brilliant sparks, but instead of them
a number of red and drossy sparks; and besides, the charge will be
so much weakened that if this were to take place in wheels, the fire
would scarcely be strong enough to force them round; but to prevent
such failures in the firing of them, the filings, or iron-sand, may
be thus prepared:--

6. _To prepare iron-sand._--Melt in a glazed earthen pan some
brimstone over a slow fire, and when melted throw in some filings,
which keep stirring till they are all covered with brimstone, this
must be done while it is on the fire; then take it off and stir it
very quickly till cold, when it must be rolled on a board with a
wooden roller, till broken as fine as corned powder, after which sift
from it as much of the brimstone as possible.

_Second method._--There is another method of preserving filings so as
to keep two or three months in winter, which is done by rubbing them
between strong brown paper, which has been previously moistened with
linseed oil. In heating the brimstone the caution given in Article 3,
must be observed in the event of its catching fire.

We must observe in fine on this article, that it will be well to
anticipate a little trouble in the preparation of this granulated
Iron-sand, for cast-iron being of so hard a nature as not to be cut
by a file, we are obliged to pulverize it, or reduce it to grains by
the method we have described, which is rather difficult to perform;
but when we consider what beautiful sparks this iron yields, no pains
should be spared to granulate such an essential material.

We must further observe, that when these plates of iron cannot be
procured, an old cast-iron pot may be employed; but especial care
must be taken that its surface be perfectly free from rust and other
impurities previous to its being pulverized, otherwise it will
entirely destroy the effect it is intended to produce.

It is to the Chinese we are indebted for this method of rendering
fire so brilliant and variegated in its colours, who discovered
it long before Father d’Incarville made it known to the European
countries. This sand, when it inflames, emits a light exceedingly
vivid; and it is surprising to see fragments of this matter not
larger than a poppy seed, form all of a sudden luminous flowers of
stars, twelve and fifteen lines in diameter. These flowers are also
of different forms, according to that of the inflamed grain, and
even of different colours, according to the matters with which the
grains are mixed. But rockets, into which this composition enters,
cannot be long preserved, unless prepared as described in the early
part of this article.

There are many other substances occasionally employed in the
composition of fire-works, but as they can be procured at all
Chemists and Druggists ready for the purpose, we consider it
unnecessary to give any detail respecting them, further than
enumeration. They are chiefly the following, viz. _Camphor_, which is
used to improve the appearance of the fire; _Antimony_, or _Sulphuret
of Antimony_, _Sal-ammoniac_, _Verdigrease_, and _Pitch_, for giving
to the fire different and particular shades of colour; _Flowers
of Benjamin_, or _Benzoic-acid_, for imparting to it an agreeable
odour; and _Spirits of Wine_, or _Camphorated Spirits_, for mixing
up the ingredients into a paste. These liquids are found to answer
much better than common water, or gum-water, which is sometimes
used, as they do not dissolve the salt-petre, and are therefore
not so liable to produce a separation of the materials employed.
_Lamp-black_ is sometimes used instead of charcoal, and is supposed
to have the effect of diminishing the heat of the fire, while it does
not materially lessen its brilliancy. Thence it is a considerable
ingredient in what is called _cold-fire_, the seeming paradox of
which we shall hereafter reconcile. For the same purpose, that of
diminishing the force of the composition, _powdered glass_ and
_saw-dust_ have been frequently employed; but probably these effects
might be better, and with more certainty answered, by lessening the
proportion of nitre.

7 OIL OF CAMPHOR.--This liquid is frequently used for the purpose of
moistening the compositions; it is thus easily procured: put a small
quantity of Camphor into a brass mortar, and to it add some oil of
sweet almonds, sufficient to reduce it to a stiff paste, then work
the mixture well together, and it will turn to a green colour, after
which add a sufficient quantity of oil to liquify it for use. We must
observe on the use of this liquid, that the composition into which it
enters must be kept as much as possible from the air, as an exposure
to it will cause it to evaporate, and thereby cause a failure in the

8. BENZOIN.--Benzoin, or as it is vulgarly called Benjamin, is a
resinous matter obtained from the tree called _Benzoin_, and is
brought from different parts of the Indies, where it is found of
various kinds, and of different colours; the best is that which is
full of white spots and is easily broken. It is used in odoriferous
fire-works, but prior to which it must be reduced to a fine powder,
which may be effected by the following method:--put about three or
four ounces of Benzoin grossly pounded into a deep and narrow earthen
pot, and cover the pot over with a cone of thick paper, which tie
closely round the edge, then place the pot over the fire and apply a
moderate heat; after the interval of an hour take off the cone, and
you will find some flower sticking to the under-side of it; or in
the language of chemistry, the acid is sublimed and is deposited on
the paper; the cone must be returned to the pot, and the operation
continued till the flower appears very white and fine.

The acid which is frequently used may be obtained by digesting
Benzoin in sulphuric acid, and by this it is obtained much purer and
in finer crystals than by any other method.

On this article we deem it requisite to give the above information;
but to the private practitioner, it will be more eligible to purchase
it ready prepared.



In the practical part of Pyrotechny, the constructing and due
proportioning of the moulds is a very material consideration, for on
these the goodness of the article depends nearly as much as on the
purity of the ingredients. They consist chiefly of solid and hollow
cylinders made either of wood or metal; those that are hollow are
called _moulds_, and those that are solid _formers_; both are used
in the construction of rockets; similar cylinders either of wood
or metal are used for ramming down the composition; a machine for
contracting the aperture of the cases, the operation of which is
called _choaking_; another for boring them after they are filled; and
a simple apparatus for grinding the materials previous to the cases
being filled, as well as others of less importance, which we shall
choose rather to describe as their assistance is required.

We shall begin the important Apparatus with describing those which
come most immediately into use.

1. GRINDING MACHINES.--For the purpose of triturating or properly
mixing the several ingredients together, various contrivances have
been resorted to. A common iron mortar, such as is used by druggists
and apothecaries, is found to answer very well for grinding or
pounding the brimstone, charcoal, salt-petre, &c. _separately_; and
apothecary’s close sieves, fitted with wire-cloth, are the best
possible implements for obtaining the fire powder; but when corn
gunpowder is to be _mealed_, or the various ingredients are to be
mixed together, such mortars cannot be used, as the heat generated
by the continued action of the pestle might inflame the mixture,
and thereby place the life of the operator in imminent danger. To
obviate these dangerous probabilities a very simple contrivance has
been effected; this is called the mealing table, and for that purpose
has proved very speedy and effectual. It consists of a rectangular
elm board, with a rim round its edge, four or five inches high, at
one end of which a part of the rim is made to slide in a groove,
so that after mealing the powder it may be swept clean out from
the table. A representation of it may be seen at plate 1, fig. 3.
Fig. 4 is a small copper shovel, generally made use of for filling
and emptying the table. When about to meal a quantity of powder,
observe not to put too much on the table at once; but when you have
put on a moderate portion, take the muller (fig. 5,) and rub it
till all the grains are well broken; then sift it in a lawn sieve,
that has a receiver and top to it, such as is generally used by the
apothecaries, and that which does not pass through the sieve must be
returned to the table, and with an additional quantity ground over
again. Sulphur and charcoal may be ground in the same manner, only
these being much harder than powder the muller must be of ebony, or
any other hard wood, else the ingredients would stick in the grain
of the elm, and be very difficult to grind. As sulphur is apt to
stick and clod to the table, it will be found best to have one for
that purpose, as they are easily procured; this will be but little
trouble, and more than compensated by your sulphur being always kept
clean and well ground.

The following is another method for the above purpose, which some
consider equally effective. This is a mortar made of hard wood,
shaped like that of the druggists, with the bottom rounded within,
and having a wooden lid fitting close on the top, and in the centre
a hole just large enough to admit easily the stalk of the pestle, to
the lower end of which is connected a piece of marble terminating
in a spherical surface. With this apparatus gunpowder may be safely
ground to meal, or its ingredients mixed by the continued motion of
the pestle in the hole of the lid.

2. _Method of mixing the Ingredients._--Connected with that of
grinding is the operation of mixing the ingredients, and which is
considered a principal part of the business of Pyrotechny; and
indeed many articles depend as much on the well mixing as on the
proportion of their composition; therefore great care should be taken
in this part of the work, and particularly so in the composition of
sky-rockets. When you have about four or five pounds of ingredients
duly prepared for mixing, (which is a sufficient quantity to mix at
one time,) first put them together in some vessel convenient for the
purpose, then work them about with your hands, till their various
natures are pretty well incorporated; after which put them into your
lawn sieve with the receiver and top to it, and sift it into some
other clean vessel, and if any remains that will not pass through
the sieve, grind it again till fine enough; and if it be suffered
to pass twice through the sieve it will be more than the trouble
the better. For rockets and all fixed works, from which the fire is
to play regular, the ingredients must be prepared as above; and
we may observe here, that all compositions which contain steel or
iron filings must be mixed or shifted with the copper shovel, for
the hands are apt to impart a moisture, which is injurious to their
nature. Nor will any works which have iron or steel in their charge
keep long in damp weather without being properly prepared, as was
directed in the preceding Section.

There are several other moulds and apparatus made use of, but as
most of them are used in the making of rockets, and some few other
articles, and are so immediately connected with the practice thereof,
we think their use and application will be better understood when we
come to treat of that article in the next Section, rather than by
entering their descriptions in this place.



Fire-works are generally divided into two classes, those which
compose the first are chiefly _squibs_, _serpents_, _crackers_,
_sparks_, _marroons_, _saucipons_, _pin-wheels_, _leaders_, _gerbes_,
or _roman candles_, and (when without any appendages) _rockets_;
these by their requiring but little dexterity in the preparation are
called simple, or more properly single fire-works, and are said to be
of the first class. Others which are of more difficult constructions,
are called compound or complex fire-works, and are said to be of the
second class. These consist of _suns_, _moons_, _stars_, _wheels_,
_globes_, _balloons_, _batteries_, _flower-pots_, _fire-pumps_,
_pyramids_, _&c._; these are generally composed of some of the single
pieces, as gerbes, serpents, marroons, saucipons, &c. properly
arranged on suitable frames, according to the taste of the operator,
and connected with each other by long pipes filled with inflammable
composition called leaders, and fired by means of _quick-matches_ or
_port-fires_, and very frequently by common touch-paper. We shall
begin our descriptions and instructions, with those of the simple or
single kind, which will lead us progressively to those which are more
complex, the order we purposed pursuing at the commencement of our

In the subsequent directions we shall have frequent occasion to
mention pipes of communication, commonly called _leaders_, by which
the several parts of a compound work are connected with each other;
and several other articles of less importance, as touch-paper,
quick-match, port-fires, &c.

1. TOUCH-PAPER.--This is a paper impregnated with a solution of
salt-petre, by which it acquires the property of burning slowly away
without flame, and yet with sufficient strength to communicate its
fire to meal powder, with which it comes in contact. It is prepared
in the following manner:--

2. _To Make Touch-Paper._--Dissolve a quantity of salt-petre in
vinegar or any other acid, more or less of the salt-petre according
as you would have your paper to burn slow or fast; then dip into this
solution some thin blue paper, let it be well saturated, then take
it out, and dry it for use. If, on trial, it is not found to burn
properly, or if it blazes on being set on fire, it is an indication
that your solution is too weak; you must therefore strengthen it by
adding more of the nitre, and the paper must be passed through again.
On the application of this paper to fire-works, two modes are in
use:--For small articles, or such as are _choaked_ (to be hereafter
explained) tie a piece round the orifice with thread or fine twine,
leaving enough of the paper at the end to form a small tube, in which
is put some mealed gunpowder, and the paper is then twisted over it,
and ready for firing.

For larger articles, as Rockets, Roman Candles, &c. the paper,
instead of being tied should be pasted round the orifice with thin
flower paste; but care must be taken that the paste does not extend
beyond the end of the case, for this would prevent the fire from
communicating with the composition, and the piece would consequently
fail in the going off.

3. QUICK-MATCH.--The purpose of the Quick-match is similar to that of
touch-paper, but chiefly used to form the inside of leaders; it is
generally made of cotton-wick, (such as is usually made use of in the
manufacture of candles) impregnated with nitre. It is made of several
sizes, from one to six threads, as is most suited to the pipes, or
articles for which it is designed. The pipes must be sufficiently
large to receive the match easily, as its quality will be much
diminished by its breaking. The following is the best method of
making this match:--Having distributed the cottons into the number of
threads requisite for your purpose, coil it very lightly into a flat
bottomed copper or earthen pan, then pour in a part of the salt-petre
and liquor, and boil them together about twenty minutes, after
which coil it again into another pan and put to it the remainder of
the liquor, then put in some meal powder, and well mix it with the
liquid; after which place the pan beneath the wooden frame (fig. 12)
and tying one end of the cotton to one side of the frame, then by one
hand by means of the handle (A) turn the frame round while you let
the cotton pass through the other, holding it very lightly, and at
the same time keeping your hand full of the wet powder; if the powder
is too wet to stick to the cotton put more in the pan, so as to keep
a supply until the match is all wound up; you may wind it as close on
the frame as you please, providing it do not stick together; when the
frame is full take it off the joints and sift dry meal powder on both
sides the match, till it appears quite covered, afterwards hang it in
some warm place to dry, which, if it be in summer, will be effected
in a few days, but if it be in winter it will be a fortnight before
it is fit for use; when it is perfectly dry, cut it along the outside
of one of the side-pieces of the frames, and tie it up in skains for

The proper ingredients for the Match are, cotton, one pound twelve
ounces, salt-petre, one pound, spirits of wine two quarts, water
three quarts, isinglass three gills, and meal powder ten pounds; or
half the quantity may be prepared by taking the ingredients in the
same proportion. Four ounces of isinglass should be dissolved in
about 3 pints of water.

4. PORT FIRES.--This term is applied to paper tubes, filled with
mealed powder, or a similar composition, and which is generally used
in setting fire to rockets, or compound fire-works, which require
to be lighted very expeditiously; there are two kinds, the one used
as above, the other for illuminations: those of the former kind are
usually called common Port-Fires, and may be made of any length, but
are seldom more than 21 inches; they are rolled on rods about half
an inch in diameter, and made of cartridge paper in three or four
folds till their exterior diameter is about five-eighths of an inch,
the last fold being well secured at the edge by paste, and one end
pinched or folded down. The moulds, five-eighths of an inch diameter,
should be made of brass or tin, and to take to pieces length-wise,
forming two semi-cylindrical tubes, and when used, to be connected
together by several rings fitted to the outside of the tube. If about
an inch of metal be made fast to one extremity of the half tube of
the diameter of the rod or former, it will supersede the necessity
of a foot, and be much more convenient; but the part of the former
as we may term it, must be made very fast to the tube, or it will
easily be detached by the ramming of the cases. The composition for
filling these cases generally consists of salt-petre, sulphur, and
mealed powder, in various proportions, according to the intended
strength of the fire, though salt-petre is generally in the greatest
proportions. When the fire is to be very slow, saw-dust is sometimes
added, and the ingredients are frequently moistened with spirits of
wine or linseed oil; these compositions should not be rammed too
hard. In using this kind of Port Fires, the close end is fixed in a
metal socket made like a port crayon, which is attached to a stick of
sufficient length to reach any required part of the fire-work.

The following compounds are recommended for filling Port Fires to
Fire Rockets, &c.

        Salt-petre   Sulphur    Meal-powder

  I.     12 ozs.      4 ozs.      2 ozs.
  II.     8 do.       4 do.       2 do.
  III.   18 do.      10 do.      24 do.
  IV.    34 do.      10 do.       6 do.
  V.      8 do.       2 do.       2 do.

PORT FIRES FOR ILLUMINATIONS.--These differ only as it regards their
length from those above described, their diameter is the same, their
length from three to six inches, pinched close at one end and left
open at the other; they are filled by small quantities at a time and
rammed very lightly, or their cases will be endangered. Three or four
rounds of paper, with the last round pasted, will be strong enough
for these cases, the compositions the same as before.

5. _Leaders, or pipes of communication._--These are small tubes of
paper, of lengths adapted to the distances to which they are to
extend, and filled with a combustible composition that will not burn
too fast. As it is much the best to have them in long lengths some
large size paper must be used for the purpose, that which is called
“Elephant” is found most convenient, and which for this purpose is
generally used. It is cut into slips two or three inches broad, or
sufficient to go four times round the formers, which will make the
tube strong enough for most ordinary purposes; indeed, if they are
made with greater substance much inconvenience will be found in
the application of them to the different works to which they are
designed, from flying off without communicating their fire.

The formers for these leaders should be about one fourth of an inch
diameter; this size I have found to answer most purposes, though they
are sometime, made of less, as well as larger diameters, but from
one-eighth to three-eighths must be the extreme; smooth brass wire of
proper dimensions make the best formers we can use, which when you
use observe to dip them in oil or grease to prevent their sticking
to the paper, which must be pasted all over; in rolling them, make
use of a rolling board, but press it very lightly upon them; when
you draw out the former, which must be done with one hand while you
retain the tube with the other, great care must be taken in doing
this, or the former will stick and tear the paper.

In the joining and placing these leaders you must be as particular
and careful as in their manufacture for on the well securing and
adjustment of them depends much of the performance of all complex
pieces, on which account we shall give in detail the best method, and
that in as plain a manner as possible:--your works being ready to
be clothed (as this operation is termed) cut your pipes in lengths
sufficient to reach from one case to the other, then put in the
Quick-match (prepared as taught in the last article,) which must
always be made to go in very easy; when the match is in the tube, cut
it off about an inch beyond the end of the pipe, and let it project
as much at the other end, then fasten the pipe to the mouth of each
case with a pin, and put the loose ends of the match into the mouths
of the cases of the works, with a little mealed powder; this done,
paste over the mouth of each two or three bits of paper, and the
joint will be pretty well secured.

For Illuminations and small cases, the following method is generally

First thread a long pipe, then lay it on the tops of the cases and
cut a piece off the under side over the mouth of each case, so that
the match may appear; then pin the pipe to every other case, but
before you put on the pipes put a little mealed powder into the mouth
of each case. If the cases thus clothed are Port-fires or illuminated
works, cover the mouth of each case with a single paper; but if they
are choaked cases so situated that a number of sparks from other
works may fall on them before they are fired, secure them with three
or four papers, which must be pasted on very smooth that there be no
creases for the sparks to lodge in, which often set fire to the works
before their time.

Avoid as much as possible placing the leaders too near or one
across the other, so as to touch, as it may happen that the flash
of one will fire the other, and thereby destroy the beauty of your

If your works should be so formed that the leaders must cross or
touch each other, be very careful to make them strong and secure at
the joints, and likewise at every opening.

When a great length of pipe is required, it must be made by joining
several pipes together, after the following manner. Having put on one
length of match as many pipes as it will hold, paste paper over every
joint, but if a still greater length is required more pipes must be
joined by cutting about an inch off one side each pipe near the end,
and laying the quick-match together and tying them with small twine,
after which cover the joining with pasted paper.



We now proceed to enumerate and describe that class of articles,
which from the simplicity of their construction have obtained the
name of Single Fire-works; among these, the first which offers itself
to notice is the serpent, or what is commonly called the squib.

1. SERPENTS.--These Serpents are generally made about six or eight
inches long, and about half an inch in diameter, they are sometimes
made strait, and sometimes with a choak in the middle of them; the
name which they bear, probably rose from the hissing noise which
they make when fired, or from the zigzag or vibrating directions in
which they move when properly constructed, on their being projected
from the hand. Fig. 17 represents a Serpent complete, where A C, the
length of the case, may be about six inches for an ordinary size.
These cases must be made of some strong paper, and rolled in a former
about one-fourth of an inch diameter, or somewhat more, and having
choaked or tied one end up close, with strong twine, fill the case
about two-thirds of the way with some of the composition described
in the general Table in Section VII, rammed moderately hard in the
mould proper for the diameter of the case, and then it is either
choaked in the part B. that is, pinched with a piece of twine, so
as to leave a very small aperture, or some obstructing body, such
as a small piece of paper, or a vetch seed is introduced, and the
remainder of the case must be filled with grained or corn powder.
Lastly, this other extremity is to be well secured with twine, and is
commonly dipped into melted pitch: the other end must be now untied
and a little moistened meal powder is introduced, over which a piece
of touch-paper being properly fastened, the Serpent is completed.

If the Serpents are not choaked towards the middle, instead of moving
in a zigzag direction they will ascend and descend with an undulating
motion, till the fire is communicated to the grained powder in the
part B C, when they will burst with a loud report.

To introduce the compositions into small cases, a quill cut into the
form of a spoon will be found very useful. The trouble of first
temporarily choaking and tying the ends of the cases may be dispensed
with, if the mould in which they are rammed have attached to them a
foot and nipple as described in the article Rockets.

The common squibs, or such as are of small dimensions, may be
made with still less trouble, for the cases being rolled, pasted,
and dried as before, one end may be permanently tied and sealed,
or dipped into hot pitch, after which they may be filled in the
following manner:----first put in a small quantity of grained powder,
which with your rammer and mallet ram down quite hard, then fill up
the case as before with the composition, ramming it hard down in the
course of the filling two or three times; this done, cap it with
touch paper, as before directed, and the Squib is fit for action.

2. CRACKERS.--The best material for the cases of Crackers is
cartridge paper, the dimensions of which for an ordinary size is
about 15 inches long, by three and a half ditto wide, folded in the
following particular manner; we call it particular, because on it
depends the goodness of the Cracker; the method is, first to fold
one edge down about three-quarters of an inch broad, then the double
edge is turned down about a quarter of an inch, and the single edge
is bent back over the double fold, so as to form within a channel
a quarter of an inch wide, which when opened is to be filled with
mealed powder, not ground very fine, this powder is then to be
covered by the folds on each side, and the whole to be pressed very
smooth and close, by passing over it the edge of a flat ruler or
some like instrument, and this part containing the powder is to be
gradually folded into the remainder of the paper, taking care to
press down every fold in the same manner.

The Cracker thus far advanced is to be doubled backwards and forwards
in folds about two and a quarter inches, as many times as the length
of the paper will allow. After this, the whole should be pressed
quite close together by means of a small wooden vice, (similar to
those known by carpenters under the name of hand-screws, the use of
which would be found extremely convenient for many other purposes,)
and a piece of twine passed twice round the middle across the folds,
and the joinings secured by causing the twine to take a turn round
the middle at every fold successively; one of the ends of the folds
may be doubled short under, which will produce an extra report,
the other must project a little beyond the rest for the purpose of
priming and capping with the touch paper; when this is done the
cracker is complete. Crackers when well made and of sufficient
strength, are productive of much mirth, and when of considerable
magnitude, furnish excellent means of dispersing a crowd; at the same
time they are so perfectly harmless that no evil consequence may be
expected to follow the amusement they afford.

3. PIN WHEELS.--Pin or Catherine Wheels are of very simple
construction, nothing more being wanted than a long wire former,
about three sixteenths of an inch diameter; on this wire are formed
the pipes, which being filled with composition are afterwards rolled
round a small circle of wood, so as to form an helix or spiral line.

The cases are generally made of Elephant paper, or such as will admit
of the greatest length; rolled about four times round the wire and
pasted as they are rolled; when a number of pipes are made and got
perfectly dry, they are filled with the composition described at No.
2, in the table; these cases are not rammed, but filled by means of
a tin funnel with a long pipe, made so as easily to pass down the
case, which is gradually filled by shaking the composition out of the
funnel; all the cases prepared being thus filled, one of them being
closed at one end, is to be pasted round the flat circle of wood,
which must not be above half an inch thick, and one inch in diameter,
and secured at every half turn by sealing wax; when this is all
wound round the circle and the wheel not sufficiently large, a second
case may be inserted into the mouth of the last, taking care that the
end introduced is only loosely twisted, otherwise it might obstruct
the communication and destroy the effect; but this being properly
adjusted and the joining secured by pasting paper round it, the
spiral is to be continued in the same way as before, till the wheel
be increased to the proper dimensions, or such as suits the taste of
the Tyro.

The central block must be pierced in the middle for the purpose of
receiving a strong pin, or a small piece of wire, by which the wheel
may be attached to a post or any other convenient object, or the pin
or wire being inserted into the pith of an hazel stick, the wheel
without any danger may be let off in the hand; when the mouth of
the last round is primed and capped with touch-paper, on its being
lighted, the impulse of the flame against the air forces back the
ignited part of the wheel, which continues to revolve till the whole
of the composition is consumed.[7]

4. STARS.--These are small paper globes filled with a composition
that emits a most beautiful radiating light, which has been compared
to the light of “those endless beauties which adorn our celestial
hemisphere;” as the purposes for which they are used are chiefly as
ornaments to other articles, such as rockets, roman candles, &c.
their dimensions must of consequence be limited or adapted to those
articles, therefore their diameters must seldom exceed three-quarters
of an inch, unless the articles to which they are attached are of
more than ordinary dimensions, and for small articles their diameter
must be less in proportion. At the beginning of this article we
called them “paper globes,” but we must observe that they are only
put in paper, when their composition is prepared dry; and instead of
paper they are frequently wrapped in a small piece of linen rag, tied
closely round with small twine, and when either of these wrappers are
used, a hole must be pierced through its middle, to receive a piece
of match left projecting a little on each side.

Though the above mode of making Stars is frequently practised, yet I
have always found it best to use the composition moist, in the form
of stiff paste, when it will not be necessary to inclose the Star
in any thing, because when prepared of such paste it can retain its
roundness; there will be no need also of piercing a hole in it for
the match, because when newly made and consequently moist, it may be
rolled in pulverized gunpowder, which will adhere to it; this powder
when kindled will serve as a match, and inflame the composition of
the Star, which in falling will form itself into stars, and exhibit a
most beautiful appearance. For the composition for stars consult the
table Sect. 7, No. 3, and No. 4.

STRUNG STARS.--To make these cut some thin paper into pieces of about
an inch and a half square, then on each piece lay equal quantities of
dry star composition, nearly as much as the paper will contain, then
twist up the paper as light as possible, when done rub some flower
paste on your hand and roll the star between them, then set them in
some warm place to dry; the stars being thus prepared, get some flax
or fine tow, and roll a little over each star, then paste the band
and roll them as before, after which set them again to dry; which
when that is quite effected, with a piercer make a hole through the
middle of each, and thread them on a cotton quick-match, long enough
to contain 10 or 12 stars three or four inches distance; by joining
sundry lengths of match we may string any number of stars we choose.

TAILED STARS.--Or, as they are sometimes called cometic-stars, from
their sending out a great number of sparks, which represent a tail
similar to that of comet; there are two kinds which bear the above
name, which are those that are rolled, and those that are driven;
when rolled they must be moistened with a liquor made of half a pint
of spirit of wine, and half a gill of thin size, (vellum or any other
that is fine,) of which as much as will bring the composition to a
consistency proper for rolling into balls; when that is done, sift
mealed powder over them and set them to dry.

DRIVEN STARS.--For these, the liquid used for moistening the
composition must be spirit of wine, with a little camphor dissolved
in it, and but a very small quantity of it, as for Driven Stars the
composition does not require to be wet; cases containing one or two
ounces are best for this purpose, which must be made of some very
thin paper.

The composition being damped with the spirit of wine and camphor as
above, they are to be filled and rammed moderately hard, taking care
that the case be not broken or the paper drove down on the inside;
as a protection to them, while filling and ramming, it will be best
to procure several moulds fitted to their exterior diameter. These
moulds may be of tin, or any kind of wood, of dimensions suited to
Stars from 8 drams to 4 ounces; when they are filled, their cases
must be made considerably lighter, which is effected by unrolling the
paper within three or four rounds of the charge, which is to be cut
off, and the loose edge made fast with a little paste, and afterwards
set by for two or three days to dry; when they have attained
sufficient dryness they must be cut into lengths proportionate to
their weights, which will be nearly as follows: from quarter to
half-ounce cases, their lengths may be five or six eighths of an
inch; from half to one ounce cases, their lengths may be one inch;
if two ounces, one inch and a quarter; from 3 to 4 ounces one inch
and a half long: of the smaller pieces, one end must be dipped into
melted wax in a manner to cover the composition, the other end must
be sprinkled with mealed powder wetted with spirit of wine. Of the
larger pieces both ends must be primed with mealed powder wetted as

Stars made after the above manner are used almost exclusively for
Air Balloons, and are driven in cases to secure them from the force
of the composition with which the Balloons are filled, therefore
their application to Rockets, and other small articles, is quite
incompatible with their nature.

ROLLED STARS.--These are so called chiefly from the operation
employed in their manufacture. Their dimensions are from half an inch
to one inch diameter. In the composition care must be taken that the
ingredients are well mixed, and previous to its being made up, it
must be wetted with the following liquid sufficient to convert it
into paste; spirit of wine one quart, in which dissolve one fourth
of an ounce of Isinglass. Too much of the composition must not be
prepared at once, one pound will be sufficient for an ordinary number
of Stars, for if a greater quantity is wetted the spirit will be
liable to evaporate, and leave the composition dry and unfit for the
purpose, before it can be all rolled up. To make the stars of uniform
dimensions, I have found the following method most eligible, and of
least trouble; when the composition is properly moistened, roll it
with a smooth round stick on any flat even surface, as stone or wood,
till its thickness is about half an inch, then divide it accurately
into squares, of dimensions suitable to the desired magnitude of
the Stars; there are other methods for regulating the size of the
Stars, but this I have found most practicable which will justify
me in recommending it. Having rolled up the portion of prepared
composition as directed, shake them in some meal powder while they
are damp, and set them in some warm place to dry, which will be
effected in two or three days; but if wanted immediately they may be
quickly dried, in an earthen pan over a slow fire, or in an oven of
moderate temperature; when the Stars are perfectly prepared they must
be preserved in some small box for use, for if exposed to the air
they will grow weak, and produce but few of those effects which at
other times render them so beautiful.

5. SPARKS.--It is only as it regards magnitude that Sparks differ
from stars above described, they being generally made of very small
size, and consequently of short duration in their exhibition. The
method of preparing them is as follows: put into an earthen vessel
one ounce of mealed gunpowder, three ounces of powdered salt-petre,
and four ounces of camphor, reduced to powder by rubbing it in a
mortar with a small quantity of spirit of wine; pour over this
mixture some weak gum-water, in which some gum-adraganth has been
dissolved, till the composition is brought to a state of thin paste;
then take some lint, prepared by boiling it in vinegar or salt-petre,
and afterwards dried and unravelled, and put into the composition
enough of it to absorb the whole, at the same time take care to
stir it well. This matter is to be formed into small balls, of
about the size of a pea, which being dried by a moderate heat are to
be sprinkled with mealed gunpowder, for the purpose that they may
readily catch fire.

_Another method of making Sparks._--Take some saw-dust made from
fir, or any kind of wood that burns readily, and boil it in water in
which salt-petre has been dissolved; after boiling about a quarter
of an hour, the vessel must be removed from the fire, and the liquid
poured off so as to leave the saw-dust at the bottom of the vessel,
then place the saw-dust by itself upon a flat board or table, and
while in a moist state sprinkle it with sulphur, sifted through a
fine hair sieve, the sifting powder (sulphur) will be improved if to
it be added a small portion of bruised gunpowder. When the whole has
been well mixed and of proper consistence, it is to be made up into
Sparks, as described in the other method.

6. MARROONS.--Marroons are of very easy construction, being nothing
more than small cubical boxes, filled with a composition proper for
making them burst, and thence producing a loud report, which, and the
suddenness of it, is their chief property. They are used principally
in combination with other pieces, or to form a battery, in which,
by different lengths of quick-match, they are caused to explode at
distinct intervals.

_Construction._--Cut a piece of pasteboard into the form represented
in fig. 18, which will fold up into a cubical case, the angles must
be well secured by pasting paper over them, the top being left till
it is filled: when this is done the box is to be filled with grained
powder, then cement strong paper over the top, and again in various
directions over the body; and to increase the strength of the box
(which will produce a louder report) wrap round two or three rows of
packthread dipped in some strong glue, then make a hole in one of
the corners, and introduce into it a piece of quick-match, and your
Marroon is ready for action.

Marroons may be rendered luminous, or caused to emit a brilliant
appearance previous to their explosion.

This is effected by covering them with paste made of flower of
sulphur, mixed up with thin starch, and afterwards rolling them in
pulverized gunpowder, which will serve as a match or communication;
when made after this manner they are called luminous marroons.

7. SAUCISSONS.--These differ only in form from the foregoing
articles; till lately no distinction was made between them, nor (in
our opinion) ought any to exist, but the French Artists have thought
proper to give them the above name from the supposed resemblance they
bear to a sausage.

The cases of Marroons are made cubical, those for the present
articles are made cylindrical, and in proportion must be about four
times their exterior diameter in length; their diameters may be from
one to two and a half or three inches, and their cases increasing in
strength as their dimensions.

The cases must be choaked or pinched at one end after the manner
of rockets, and tied quite close; and afterwards the former, on
which they are rolled, should be pressed hard upon the bottom to
make it smooth, and to take out the wrinkles left by the choaking;
the former, or interior diameter, should not exceed one half of the
exterior diameter of the case.

The cases being thus prepared, they are to be filled with coarse
powder one diameter, and one fourth high, and the rest of the paper
must be folded down tight upon the powder; then bind them tight in
every direction with strong packthread dipped in glue, and they are
then left to dry as before.

They may be rendered luminous, and the match applied in the same
manner as to Marroons.

_Batteries of Marroons_, &c.--These, it has been said, if well
managed, will keep time to a march, or a slow piece of music. They
must indeed be well managed to do so; I have (with care) made
several trials, but in neither was I fortunate enough to produce
that uniformity in their intervals, as to mark correctly their
commencement of each bar of the music; which, if they do not, they
fail entirely as to this property. But, however, much effect may be
produced by these noisy pieces by arranging them on several stands,
with a number of cross rails, on which they are to be nailed, and
connected together by means of leaders &c. of different lengths,
according to their distance asunder, observing to use the large and
small marroons and saucissons in order to produce a greater variety
in the reports, which during the exhibition of other articles is
their chief purpose.

A Battery with the leaders complete is represented in Fig. 19.

8. GERBES.--This is a species of Fire-work which, from a cylindrical
case, throws up a luminous and sparkling jet of fire, which From its
partial resemblance of a water-spout, the French have given it the
appellation of Gerbe.

Gerbes consist of a strong cylindrical case made of thick paper or
paste-board, and filled with brilliant composition, and sometimes
with stars or balls placed at small distances, so that the
composition and balls are introduced alternately; immediately below
each ball is placed a little grained powder. This last kind of Gerbes
are more properly called Roman Candles, which we shall describe in
the next article. Gerbes are sometimes made wholly cylindrical, and
sometimes with a long narrow neck; the reasons for making them with
a neck are deduced from rather philosophical considerations: when
fired they exert great force on all parts of the case, especially at
the mouth, from which it proceeds with great velocity; the reasons
therefore deduced for making them with a long neck are--first, that
the particles of iron, which enter into their composition, will have
more time to be heated, by meeting with greater resistance in getting
out than with a short neck, which would be burnt too wide before
the charge be consumed, and spoil the effect; secondly, that with
long necks the stars will be thrown to a greater height, and will
not fall before they are spent or spread too much; but when made to
perfection, will rise and spread in such a manner as to represent
pretty exactly the form of a wheat-sheaf.

The diameter of Gerbes is generally estimated by the weight of a
leaden ball, which the case is capable of receiving; thus we say
Gerbes of eight ounces, of one pound, &c. Their length from the
bottom to the top of the neck should be about six diameters; the neck
being about one-sixth diameter, and three-fourths diameter long. They
are filled in two ways, according as they have a neck, or are wholly
cylindrical; the cases of the latter kind are closed below, and
are filled like those of serpents, but the composition must be put
in by small quantities, and rammed very hard; cases with necks are
filled from the bottom, but you must be careful, before you commence
ramming, to plug up the aperture of the neck with a piece of wood
fitted to its diameter, for if this is not done, the composition will
fall into the neck, and leave a vacancy in the case, which will cause
it to burst as soon as the fire arrives at that part of it.

You must observe, too, that the first ramming or two be of some
weaker composition than the body of the case. When filled the plug
must be removed, and the neck filled with some slow charge, and
capped with touch-paper; a foot of wood is afterwards to be fixed to
the Gerbe and well secured, either by a cylinder fixed to the outside
of the case, or by having in it a hole, into which the case may be
inserted; when either of these methods is employed the foot must be
firmly attached.

Sometimes sparks (Article 5,) are introduced during the filling of
the cases, but in this case special care must be taken that they are
not broken by hard ramming; their number should be regulated by the
size of the case, and when carefully used, they produce a pleasing
effect, but they are most adapted to such Gerbes as are wholly

The following method of finding the interior diameter of Gerbes is
generally employed:--supposing the exterior diameter of the case at
bottom (which is usually made somewhat larger than the top) to be
four inches, then by taking two-fourths for the sides of the case,
there will remain two inches for the bore, which will be a tolerable
good size, and from the rules given for the height the same will be
about twenty-four inches to the top of the neck. Fig. 20 represents
a wooden former; and fig. 21 a Gerbe with its foot complete. The
composition for filling will be found in the Table, Section 7.

In ramming large Gerbes an external mould will not be requisite, the
cases being sufficiently strong to support themselves.

SMALL GERBES.--These are frequently called “White Fountains;” they
differ but little, when used as Gerbes, from the foregoing: they are
made of four, eight, or twelve ounce cases, of any length, pasted and
made very strong: before they are filled, drive in about one diameter
of their orifice high some good stiff clay, and when the case is
filled, bore through the centre of the clay to the composition a
vent-hole of common proportion, which must be primed and capped as

These cases are sometimes filled with Chinese fire, in this case the
clay must not be used, but filled the same as cylindrical cases, and
footed and primed in the same manner.

9. ROMAN CANDLES.--Roman Candles are constructed nearly after the
manner of Gerbes; their cases are made perfectly cylindrical,
as above described, and between the layers of composition, are
interposed balls, or stars, which are prepared as directed in Article
4. In filling and ramming Roman Candles, especial care must be taken
that the stars are not broken in the operation. When the cases have
been properly rolled and dried, and their bottoms firmly secured by
tying them with some strong twine, it is best, previous to putting
in the composition, to ram a little dry clay, which will fill up the
hollow, and leave a better bottom to the case. This being properly
done, put in a small quantity of corn powder, and over this a small
piece of paper, just to prevent the composition from mixing with the
powder; then as much of the composition is to be put in as will, when
rammed hard down, fill the case about one sixth of its height; then
over this a small piece of paper (covering about two thirds of the
diameter) as before, then a little corn powder, and upon that a ball
is to be placed, observing to let the ball be somewhat less than the
diameter of the case. Over this first ball more of the composition
is to be introduced, and pressed lightly down, till the case is
about one third full, when it may be rammed, but with some gentle
strokes, lest the ball is broken by it; then a piece of paper, a
little corn powder, and upon it another ball, as before; so that the
case after this manner will contain five or six balls with regular
beds of composition between them, and have about the same length of
composition above the highest ball. When the case is thus filled it
is to be capped with touch-paper by pasting it round the orifice, and
a little priming of mealed powder being added, the piece is rendered

In regard to the stars or balls, it is best that their form be flat
and circular, or even square rather than spherical, as they will
be less liable to be injured in the filling; they should also be
somewhat different in size, which is found to add much to their
effect; that is, let the first star be about two thirds the diameter
of the case, let the next be a little larger, and so on increasing
to the fourth, fifth, or sixth, which last should fit tight into the

Observe also to let the quantity of powder at the bottom of each ball
increase as the balls increase in diameter, or as they come nearer
the top of the case; not on account of the additional weight of the
ball, but, as on those balls situate near the top, the force of the
powder ceases to act on the ball, sooner than on those situate lower
in the case, consequently the force to throw the ball to the same
distance must increase proportionally; another reason for decreasing
the quantity of powder towards the bottom is, that the same quantity
used with the bottom as with the top ball, would cause the case to
burst, and destroy all the effect which they are intended to produce.

The composition for filling will be found in the Table, Section 7.

The best way of exhibiting these Roman Candles is to place them in
rows on a stand, some fixed quite perpendicular, others declining
at different angles, that the balls may be projected to various
distances, and produce a more beautiful effect. The greatest angle of
declination should not exceed forty-five or fifty degrees.

A very pleasing variety of Gerbes may be produced by filling the
cylindrical cases with the compositions called Chinese fire, (see
next article,) being filled with red or white, and used with
different proportions of the ingredients, they may be cast into many
and various shades of colours.

10. CHINESE FIRE.--The principal ingredient which forms this
beautiful composition, has been already described in article 6,
section 2, under the name of Iron-sand; what we have to give in
this place is, the proportion in which it is used with the other
ingredients; the composition is rendered into two particular
distinctions, namely, red and white, and each of them made with
different proportions of the ingredients according to the calibres of
the cases intended to be filled with it, which calibre is estimated
by the weight of lead balls, which will just fill out their diameter,
as was taught in the Article Gerbes.

_For Red Chinese Fire._

        Calibres.     Salt-  Sulphur. Charcoal. Sand 1st
                     petre.                      order.
  I.   12 to 16 lb.   1 lb.   3 ozs.   4 ozs.    7 ozs.
  II.  16 to 22 lb.   1 lb.   3 ozs.   5 ozs.    7 ozs. 8 drs.
  III. 22 to 36 lb.   1 lb.   4 ozs.   6 ozs.    8 ozs.

_For White Chinese Fire._

        Calibres.     Salt-  Bruised    Charcoal.     Sand 3d
                     petre.  powder.                   order.
  I.   12 to 16 lb.   1 lb.  12 ozs.   7 ozs. 8 drs.  11 ozs.
  II.  16 to 22 lb.   1 lb.  11 ozs.   8 ozs.         11 ozs. 8 drs.
  III. 22 to 36 lb.   1 lb.  11 ozs.   8 ozs. 8 drs.  12 ozs.

After carefully weighing the several ingredients, observe to sift
the salt-petre and charcoal two or three times through a hair sieve
in order that they may be well mixed; the iron-sand is then to be
moistened a little with brandy or spirits of wine, which will make
the sulphur adhere, and they must be well incorporated. The sand
now said to be sulphured, must be put to the mixture of salt-petre
and charcoal, and then stirred and turned about till the parts are
thoroughly incorporated.



We come now to that part of our work which treats on the most
beautiful of all Pyrotechnic productions.

Rockets have ever held the first place among single fire-works since
the invention of the art; and to which they are justly entitled, both
for the pleasing appearance they produce when fired by themselves,
and the extensive application of them to increase the beauty of the
other exhibitions.

They are called by the Italians _Rochette_ and _Raggi_; by the
Germans _Raketen_ and _Drachetten_; by the French _Fusées_; and
by the Latins _Rochetæ_; from which appears to be derived the name
given them by the English; so much for their names:--as to their
invention it is most probable that it took place at a very early
period, if not among the first productions of the art. By the
ancient Pyrotechnicians, they were considered as the most difficult
articles of manufacture, insomuch that it was the first task enjoined
to the disciples of Prometheus,[8] or professors of the art; and the
goodness of the article, furnished a criterion of their pretensions.

It is to be questioned whether the ancients had such a variety of
these articles, as we now have; but it is pretty certain that they
were well acquainted with the proper proportions of the moulds
requisite for their manufacture, insomuch that in many of their
treatises, we find them employing the most difficult mathematical
calculations, and giving intricate algebraic formulæ, for the
purpose of finding their true proportion; but many of such useless
difficulties we shall endeavour to evade, and essay to render
our explications familiar without wholly sacrificing scientific

Rockets consist of strong paper cylinders, which being filled
with the proper composition rammed hard, and fire being applied
to their apertures they are caused to ascend into the air, or in
any required directions; they have generally a head fixed to them
containing corn powder, sparks, and many other decorations, which,
when the body of the Rocket is consumed, take fire, burst in the
air, and produce a most beautiful appearance; these are called
Sky-rockets. Others are made to run with great velocity along a
line, and are therefore called Line-rockets, or Courantines. Some
are fixed on the circumference, or on the axle of a wheel, and are
denominated Wheel-rockets; while another kind have their cases made
perfectly water-tight, and being filled with stronger composition,
admit of being plunged in and under water without retarding
their inflammation; these receive the significant appellation of

1. _Sky-rockets._--Sky-rockets, in regard to size, are divided into
three kinds, namely, those the calibre or internal diameter of which
does not exceed that of a pound bullet; or having their orifice equal
to a leaden bullet, which weighs exactly one pound; for the relative
magnitude of Rockets is estimated by the diameter of lead balls
or bullets, after the manner taught in the Article Gerbes. Those,
therefore, the calibre of which does not exceed a pound bullet, are
termed small-size Rockets; those whose calibre is from one to three
pounds are of the middle size; and those whose calibres exceed the
last dimensions, are termed Rockets of the largest size; or are
named after their weight, estimated as above.

We now proceed to describe the moulds and apparatus requisite for
making Rockets, for on the due proportion of which (as was before
observed) depends much of the goodness of the article. These moulds
are also requisite in order that any number of Rockets may be
prepared of the same size and force. As Rockets are made of various
sizes, it is evident that moulds of different diameters must be

Fig. 1, plate 1, represents a mould made and proportioned by the
diameter of its calibre, which is divided into equal parts and
rendered into scale, by which the relative proportions may be
understood, merely by a contemplation of the figure. Thus A B is
the calibre, or diameter; C D its whole height, including the foot
complete, and equal to eight diameters, as per scale: E is the
thickness of the mould, and may be about half a diameter; it should
be made of some hard wood, such as lignum vitæ, or box, and may be
either ornamented or plain; F is an iron pin, which serves to fix
the cylinder firm to its foot. Fig. 2, is the foot detached from the
cylinder, and drawn in true proportion as per scale; G, H, I, J, is
the base, and may be about one and half diameter high; K, the choak,
which serves to connect the cylinder to the foot; L is the nipple,
which is half a diameter high, and in thickness equal to the former,
or five-eighths diameter; M is the piercer, whose height is three
diameters and a-half from the nipple, and at the bottom one third
or fourth diameter, from thence tapering to one-sixth diameter in
thickness. This piercer should be of iron, and inserted firmly into
the foot; its purpose is to preserve a vacuity in the centre of the
charge, the nature of which we shall hereafter explain. Fig. 3, is a
former in two pieces, connected by an iron pin, (in diameter equal to
the bottom of the piercer,) to which both ends are rounded off, in
order that the choak or contraction in the cartridge may be effected
more easily; the diameter of this former must be the same as that
of the nipple, or suppose the diameter of the mould be divided into
eight equal parts, (which is done on one part of the scale,) then the
diameter of the former must be equal to five of these parts.

The length of this former, or roller, is not particular, providing
it be long enough to admit of good hand-hold in the rolling of
the cases; the short part of the former A may be two diameters in
length, and should have a line B marked round it in the middle, or
one diameter from the end; the longer part may be seven or eight
diameters, which will give good hand-hold in the rolling.

Fig. 4 and 5, are rammers, or drift pins, used in loading the cases,
which must be pierced lengthwise to fit on to the piercer.

Fig. 4. The first rammer should be pierced the whole length of the
piercer, the second rammer should be pierced one and a half diameter;
when the case is loaded and rammed above the piercer, a short solid
rammer must be used, and these rammers should be a little less than
the former, to prevent injury to the inside of the cartridge, when
driving in the charge. They should be made of some hard wood, and
their extremities secured by ferrels of brass, or any other metal,
which will keep them from splitting or extending: their lengths are
of little consequence, providing they do not much exceed the relative
depths of the cartridge; for, as the workmen say, the longer the
rammer the less will be the pressure on the composition by the blow
given by the mallet.

The proportion between the length of Rockets and their calibre, is
not the same in Rockets of greater or less dimensions than those
given above, but should vary nearly as their magnitude; that is to
say, their length should be diminished as their calibre is increased.
The length of the mould for small Rockets should be six times the
calibre, but for Rockets of the mean and larger size, it will be
sufficient if the length of the mould be five times, or even four
times that of the calibre.

The following is a table computed to regulate the height and diameter
of the mould according to the weight of the Rockets, when they are
driven solid, or without the use of a piercer. It is extracted
from an old treatise on fire-works by Lieutenant Robert Jones; and
inserted for the assistance of those who may wish to construct
Rockets without the piercer, a practice we would never recommend to
those for whom our “Manual” is designed. To those who manufacture
fire-works for sale it is certainly the most expeditious method
to ram them solid, and with the machine to bore or pierce them
afterwards; but to those who make Rockets for their own private
recreation, it is by far the most eligible to load them over a
piercer, for by the other method it will require a very expensive
apparatus,[9] and at first more skill to use it than what the Tyro
will possess, and at last he will never be certain that he has made
a good article.



             Length of the
  Weight of  moulds without   Interior diameter    Heights of the
  Rockets.     their feet.      of the moulds.        nipples.
   6 lbs.     34.7 inches.       3.5 inches.         1.5 inches.
   4 do.      31.6 do.           2.9 do.             1.4 do.
   2 do.      13.3 do.           2.1 do.             1.0 do.
   1 do.      12.2 do.           1.7 do.             0.85 do.
   8 ozs.     10.12 do.          1.3 do.             0.6 do.
   4 do.       7.75 do.          1.12 do.            0.5 do.
   2 do.       6.2 do.           0.9 do.             0.45 do.
   1 do.       4.9 do.           0.7 do.             0.33 do.
   ½ do.       3.7 do.           0.55 do.            0.25 do.
   6 drs.      3.5 do.           0.5 do.             0.22 do.
   4 do.       2.2 do.           0.3 do.             0.2 do.

By this table we find that a six-pound Rocket rammed solid, must be
thirty-four inches, seven-tenths in length; its external diameter
three inches five-tenths or three and half inches, and the height
of the nipple one inch and a-half. The diameter of the nipple in
this and all other cases must be equal to that of the former, and
in regard to its height I have never found it to answer better than
when the cavity which it formed at the mouth of the Rocket was
hemispherical, or equal in height to half its diameter.

We shall now, by the following table, shew the method of finding the
calibre of Rockets according to their weight, which is computed by
the principles already given; that is, a pound Rocket is such that
its aperture will just admit a bullet of a pound weight, and so of
the rest.



  16 ounces.     19½ lines.[10]   14 drams.    7¼ lines.
  12 do.         17   do.         12  do.      7   do.
   8 do.         15   do.         10  do.      6⅓  do.
   7 do.         14¾  do.          8  do.      6¼  do.
   6 do.         14¼  do.          6  do.      5⅔  do.
   5 do.         13   do.          4  do.      4½  do.
   4 do.         12⅓  do.          2  do.      3¾  do.
   3 do.         11½  do.
   2 do.          9⅙  do.
   1 do.          6½  do.

The use of _this_ table will be easily understood, for, as in the
first instance, if a Rocket of 16 ounces ought to be nineteen and
a-half lines in diameter, one of 12 must be 17 lines, one of 8 ounces
15 lines, one of 8 drams six and a-quarter lines; and so of the

If the diameter of the Rocket be given, we can as easily, by the
reverse method, find the weight of the ball corresponding to that
calibre. For example, if the diameter be 15 lines, it will be
immediately seen, by seeking for that number in the column of lines,
that it answers to a ball of eight ounces.

As the foregoing table extends only to Rockets of 16 ounces, or one
pound, and from that downwards, the following will be found equally
useful for those of superior dimensions.



  Pounds.  Calibre.      Pounds.  Calibre.      Pounds.  Calibre.
    1        100           20       271          39       339
    2        126           21       275          40       341
    3        144           22       282          41       344
    4        158           23       284          42       347
    5        171           24       288          43       350
    6        181           25       292          44       353
    7        191           26       296          45       355
    8        200           27       300          46       358
    9        208           28       304          47       361
   10        215           29       307          48       363
   11        222           30       310          49       366
   12        228           31       214          50       368
   13        235           32       317          51       371
   14        241           33       320          52       373
   15        247           34       323          53       376
   16        252           35       326          54       378
   17        257           36       330          55       380
   18        262           37       333          56       382
   19        267           38       336          57       385

By this Table, the weight of the ball being given, the size of the
mould may be found after the following manner: suppose it be 18
pounds; opposite to it, in the column of calibres, is 262; then say
by the rule of proportion, as 100 is to 19 and a half, so is 262 to a
fourth term, viz. 51.09 which is the number of lines of the calibre
required; therefore, the Calibre of a Rocket of 18 pounds, will be 52
lines nearly, or 4 inches and 4 lines. The calibre may be also found
by multiplying the number answering to the pounds by 19½, and cutting
off from the product the two last figures; thus suppose the number be
252, which multiply by 19½, the product 4914 separated by the decimal
point will give 49.14, or four inches a line and one-eighth.

Now suppose the calibre to be given in lines, the weight of the ball
may be found with equal ease, e. g. if the calibre given be 36 lines,
then as 19½ : 100 :: 36 : 184; the nearest number in the table to
this is 181, which shews that the weight of the ball will be rather
more than six pounds; therefore a Rocket, the calibre of which is 36
lines, is a Rocket of a six pound ball.


TABLE I gives the dimensions of Rocket moulds when the Rockets
are rammed solid; it was calculated, as its Author informs us,
from repeated experiments; we insert it for the information of our
readers, but we would advise none to practise the method of solid

TABLE II.--This table may be perfectly understood by the explanation
given of its use, and from considering that a lead bullet of a
pound weight, is just 19½ lines in diameter, as may be proved by
experiment; the inferior numbers are likewise the diameters of the
inferior weight.

TABLE III.--This table is only an extension of the latter, although
its arrangement is somewhat different; for if 19½, the diameter of
a ball weighing one pound, be assumed as unity with any number of
cyphers, answering to the number of parts which the same diameter is
divided into, (which may be done by means of the diagonal scale,)
let this number be 100, which answers to one in the column of
pounds:--that is to say, if you assume 100 for the first number, and
it be rose to the third power,[11] your first cube will be 1,000,000,
the cube root of which (being 100) must be placed in your table as
the first root, and answering to unity in the column of pounds: then
for the second number, which is two pounds, we must extract the
cube root of double that number, viz. 2,000,000, which will be 126
nearly, (or continued to more places 1,259,921) and this will be the
second number in your Table; and in the same manner will the third
number be found, that is, by trebling the first cube and extracting
the root as before, which will be 144, and so of the fifth, sixth,
&c. to the end of the table. These tables are indispensable in the
making of Rockets, in order to preserve an uniformity in Rockets of
the same kind, and to render more certain their effects, as has been
corroborated by repeated experiments.

_Preparing the Cartridges._--For this purpose large stiff paper
of a particular kind is to be used; namely, that which from being
principally used for this purpose, is known by the name of _Cartridge
paper_. For cases from the smallest size, up to five or six pounds,
this is the best material we can employ; it must be wrapped round the
former, (whose proportion to the mould we have already given) till it
fits tight into the cylinder, and the last fold secured by means of
common paste. If some thin paste is used throughout the rolling, the
cases will be much improved.

For Rockets of a larger size, the cases must be made of some stronger
material, such as pasteboard, of the thin and inferior kind, the
folds of which must be well secured with some strong paste or glue.
In making the cases a pattern of the outer fold, with one end sloped
off, should be preserved for each size, and on it marked the number
of sheets or folds requisite to make that size cartridge. This method
will help to ensure a regularity in the make and formation of the

The paper being prepared of the proper size, one part of the first
sheet must be folded down so far, that the double thickness will go
two or three times round the _former_; the _former_ is then to be
laid on this double edge, and the handle projecting over the table,
the paper is to be wrapt round within two or three turns; when a
second sheet is to be laid on the loose part of the first, and then
roll the whole of it tight and evenly on the former; these two sheets
should be of lengths sufficient for the size of the case, but if they
are not, a third must be added in the same manner as the second.

For the purpose of rolling the cases tight and even, they are passed
two or three times under the _rolling-board_, (which is a smooth
piece of deal about eighteen inches long, and in breadth equal to
the length of the Rocket, with a handle at the top, when complete
something similar to a plaisterer’s float;) taking care to roll them
the same way as in rolling them on the former.

The cartridge being formed to the proper size, and the last fold
being secured by paste, &c. it is now to receive the contraction, or,
as it is generally termed, the choak; which is effected by the simple
apparatus represented by Fig. 7. Let the former and small end-piece
be now joined by means of their connecting wire, and let the short
piece be thrust into the case as far as the line B, marked round it
for the purpose; then pass the cord once round the case, exactly over
the juncture of the formers, and at first press gently with the foot
on the treadle, and keep rolling the case on the line, which will
cause the choak to be free from wrinkles and other inequalities.

Cases of small dimensions may be easily contracted after the above
manner, but when of larger size, they will present more resistance
to the choaking cord than it will be able to overcome; but this
difficulty may be obviated, by moistening with water the end of the
case, and choaking it previous to the envelope of the last sheet;
which may then be put on, and again choaked, and the contraction
well secured by twine, or strong waxed thread, which must be passed
several times round the cartridge, and afterwards secured by two or
three running knots made one above another.

The case (still remaining on the former,) is now to be inserted into
the cylindrical mould without its foot, and set upon some solid
block, and the former driven hard upon its end-piece, so as to make
the contraction smooth and close; after which the case is to be cut
to its proper length, so as to rise a little above the mould, and
allowing half a diameter from the choak to the edge of the mouth: the
cutting the case to its proper length will be best effected while
on the former, which when done, the former is to be pulled out, and
the case being put again into the mould, having the foot and piercer
properly fixed to it, must be driven down upon the piercer with the
long perforated rammer, so as to make the contraction of the proper

_Filling and ramming the cases._--In this part of the operation, we
must be as careful as in any of the past; for if any inequality exist
in the density of the composition, produced by inattention to the
ramming, the Rockets will not rise with an uniform motion, nor ascend
to their proper height; but on the contrary, will observe a very
erratic motion, and be deflected by every renitent particle they may
meet with in their course.

To avoid this disappointment, and to render more certain the ascent
of the Rockets, the following directions must be attended to:--

1. Your composition must not be too dry, or it will be liable to
disperse, and fly about in a kind of subtile meal or dust, while
you are driving it; but if you moisten it a little just to destroy
its dusty nature with some of the liquid mentioned in the early part
of our MANUAL, it will cause it to collect, and be more solidly
compressed in the case of the Rocket.

2. No more of the composition should be put into the case at each
ramming, than will cause it to rise one half of its interior
diameter; and the filling must be thus gradually continued, till the
charge rises exactly one diameter above the piercer.

3. Much has been said by writers on Pyrotechny respecting the number
of blows proper to be given to the rammer, to each ladle full of
composition, (a piece of copper made into the form of a scoop, and
holding the proper quantity answers best for a ladle;) some have
assigned to Rockets of four ounces sixteen strokes with the mallet,
to those of one pound twenty-eight strokes, and so increasing the
number of strokes by six, to every pound; but in our opinion these
rules are more ridiculous than useful; for the same mallet, by
possessing a different momentum, might produce an effect, at one
time _double_, _treble_, or perhaps _less_, than at another. It is
therefore impossible to assign any determinate number of strokes,
to be given at each ramming; the only certain rule is, that the
composition ought to be driven till it becomes quite firm and
compact, and that its density (as near as possible) be the same
throughout the whole of the charge. If the rules for the number of
strokes assist in any way to impart this property to the charge, we
have not the least wish to depreciate them.

4. In ramming, it is best to keep the rammer constantly turning round
in the case, and in using the perforated rammer, be sure to knock out
the composition from the hollow every ramming, or it will be liable
to be split by the piercer.

5. Invert the cartridge at the close of each ramming, in order that
the loose particles of the composition which are not compressed may
escape, for if suffered to remain in they would prove injurious to
the article.

6. Rockets should always be rammed on a solid block, or on a post set
fast into the earth; their ramming cannot be properly effected on any
table whatever.

7. Rockets must be rammed with mallets somewhat proportionate to
their magnitude; that is, if a Rocket of one pound can be properly
rammed with a mallet weighing two pounds, a Rocket of two pounds
should be rammed with a mallet of four pounds, or nearly in that
proportion. Rockets above eight pounds cannot well be rammed by
hand; but when wanted of such magnitude they must be rammed by
means of a machine similar to that used for driving piles into the
earth; Rockets of large dimensions, whose cases are made of a strong
material, properly prepared, may be conveniently rammed without
being placed in a cylinder, which will be an advantage, as so many
moulds will not be required. But for this method of ramming we
must be prepared with some _brass_ or _iron_ nipples, of the size
proportionate to the Rocket, which should be made to screw into one
part of the driving block; and for the purpose of making the case
more firm upon it while ramming, a stake or upright piece must be
made firm to the block, standing up the height of the case, and at
a suitable distance from the nipple; the side of this stake next
the case must be fluted out so that the case will fit closely into
it; on the opposite side of the case must be applied a loose piece
fluted in a similar manner; then with a cord tie the case and two
half moulds (which these two pieces will nearly form) together, and
the case will be ready for filling. The cartridges being filled to
the proper height, i. e. one diameter above the piercer, if the
Rocket is to be without furniture, separate with a wire of any kind,
half the folds of the paper which remains above, and having turned
them back on the composition, press them down with the rod and
mallet in order to make them smooth and even. Then pierce three or
four holes in the folded paper by means of a piercer, which must be
made to penetrate to the composition of the Rocket. These holes are
for the purpose of forming a communication between the body of the
Rocket and the vacuity at the extremity of the carriage, as it is
called, or that part which has been left empty. In small Rockets this
vacuity is filled with granulated powder, (which serves to let them
off when their charge is consumed;) they are then covered with paper,
and either pinched quite close by means of the choaking apparatus,
or crowned with a little conical cap, which will cause it to ascend
to a greater height. If one hole only is made in the centre of the
folded paper, it will answer the purpose of three or four, taking
care that it be as straight as possible, and about one-fourth the
diameter of the calibre of the case; in this hole a little of the
composition of the rocket should be put that the fire may not fail to
be communicated:--a Rocket finished after this manner is represented
in fig. 23. In Rockets of larger dimensions, instead of granulated
powder, the coffins, or pot containing the stars, serpents, petards,
&c. are adapted to the top of the case: the petard is a small round
box of tin-plate united to the diameter of the case, and filled with
fine gunpowder; it is deposited on the composition after the ramming,
and the remaining paper folded down over it to keep it secure; the
petard produces its effect when the Rocket is in the air and the
composition is consumed. The other furniture is attached to the
Rocket by adjusting to its head an empty pot or cartridge of larger
dimensions than itself, in order that it may contain the various
appendages, which are to render it so superior to the others, in the
beauty and splendour of its emication.

_Preparing and fixing the pots to the head of Rockets._--Rockets
which have furniture attached to them, are rammed somewhat different
to those which are without any appendages, but the difference is
only in this particular; when rammed one diameter above the piercer,
instead of turning down upon the composition the inner folds of the
paper, ram on to the composition one-third diameter of pure dry clay,
and through the centre of it bore a hole (about one fourth diameter)
and put into it a little of the composition, in order that the charge
may communicate with the powder, &c. in the head.

The head of a Rocket must be about two diameters high, and one
diameter one-sixth wide. The case must be rolled upon a former,
having at the end opposite the handle a square indent, corresponding
to the thickness and width of the collar, as is represented in
fig. 9. Fig. 10 is the collar, turned out of lime-tree, poplar, or
any light wood; its exterior diameter must be equal to the interior
diameter of the case, or the same as the former, and its interior
diameter, not quite so wide as the interior diameter of the Rocket
case; in thickness it should be equal to one-sixth diameter, and
round its edge should be a groove, so that the case for the head
may be firmly fixed to it. To form the case, three or four rounds
of paper or pasteboard must be rolled round the former, with the
collar on, and well secured by paste; the end over the collar is
to be pinched by means of the cord and choaking apparatus into the
groove in its edge, and afterwards secured by some twine tied closely
round it. The purpose of the collar is to keep the head in a proper
form, to make a bottom for the filling of it, and to make it more
firm and better connected to the case. When the head is thus made,
being properly fixed to its collar, it is to be made fast (by means
of ordinary glue) to the top end of the Rocket, in which operation
the reason and use of making the interior diameter of the collar
less than the exterior of the cartridge will plainly appear; it will
be evident that the cartridge of the Rocket will be too large for
the former, without some alteration, which alteration must be made
in the following manner:--mark round the diameter of the Rocket the
proper distance from the top, or so that the collar is about its
thickness above the ramming of the cartridge, and take off about
three rounds of paper, which will leave a shoulder to the case, on
which the collar may rest, and be made quite secure by pasting paper
round their joinings beneath.

In the manner of charging the pot above described we must almost
leave the Tyro to himself, it depending chiefly on his taste and
wishes, as he may either fill it with Serpents, Crackers, Saucissons,
Marroons, Stars, Sparks, Showers of Fire, or any thing to which its
capacity is adapted; it will be best however to unite several of the
different articles in one head that the beauty of the exhibition may
be increased.

In the filling of the head, the following directions must be

The paper over the charge of the Rocket must be pierced, and a
little of the same composition shook into the holes; then arrange
in the head the different articles with which it is to be charged,
but take particular care that the quantity introduced is not heavier
than the body of the Rocket. When the head is loaded, a few balls
of paper should be put round the different articles so as to keep
them properly in their places. At the top part of each head put a
ladle full of meal powder, (the ladle you use in filling the cases is
meant,) which will be enough to burst the head and disperse the stars
or whatever it contains.

In loading the head with cases of any kind be sure to place their
mouths downward without any touch-paper; the head may be nearly
filled, with the articles they are loaded with, after which paste
on the top of them a piece of ordinary paper; and over this must be
placed a cone of the same material, made upon the conical former,
fig. 8. To make the caps, describe (with a pair of compasses opened
to the length of the former) a circle, which being divided into two
equal parts, will make two caps; over which must be pasted another
similar cap, but of larger dimensions, so that it extend below
the bottom of the inner one; so that being just clipped a little
and applied to the head, it may be pasted to it, which will be a
sufficient fastening.

The last business in the manufacturing of a Rocket is that of fixing
it to its rod, which we shall now describe, as much nicety being
required in it as in any of the past operations.

The rod should be made of a clean piece of fir, perfectly straight,
and its dimensions regulated by the size of the Rocket, in such
manner, that when suspended on the edge of a knife or wire, about an
inch from the choak, the rod and Rocket shall be in equilibrium. The
following Table has been computed for the lengths and proportions of
the rod, and may be relied on:--

  Weight   |[12]Length of | Thickness and | Square
  of the   | the Rods.    | Width at top. |  at
  Rockets. |              |               | Bottom.
  lb. oz.  | Feet. Inches.|    Inches.    | Inches.
   6   0   |   14     2   |   1½ by 1⅞    |  0 ¾
   5   0   |   13     8   |   1¼ -- 1¾    |  0 ⅜
   4   0   |   12     9   |   1¼ -- 1½    |  0 ⅝
   3   0   |   10     8   |   1-1/7 -- 1⅛ |  0 ½
   2   0   |    9     3   |   1⅛ -- 1     |  0 ½
   1   0   |    7    10   |    ¾ -- ⅞     |  0 ⅜
   0   8   |    6     6   |    ½ -- ¾     |  0 ¼
   0   4   |    5     2   |    ⅜ -- ⅝     |  0 ¼
   0   2   |    4     1   |    3/10 -- ½  |  0 3/16
   0   1   |    3     5   |    ¼ -- ⅜     |  0 3/16
   0   ½   |    2     3   |    3/16 -- ¼  |  0 ⅛
   0   ¼   |    1    10   |    ⅛ -- 3/16  |  0 ⅛

By the above Table we find that a Rocket of six pounds will require a
rod 14 feet 2 inches long, which being properly planed to the other
dimensions, is to be hollowed out on the side next the Rocket; and on
the side opposite, two notches must be made, one about an inch from
the end, (the rod going up to the under side of the head,) and the
other opposite the choak of the Rocket, in order to admit the string
with which it is tied, and that it may be more firmly attached to the
rod. Although the foregoing Table has been carefully computed, and
that from experiment, yet it will not be well to depend entirely upon
it, but rather to produce an equilibrium between the rod and Rocket,
(by means of a lighter or heavier rod,) when suspended as before.
It is of consequence that this is attended to; for without a proper
equilibrium, the Rocket will ascend in an oblique direction, and fall
to the ground long before its composition is consumed.

In firing these Rockets, two fixed rings must be screwed fast into
an upright post, and exactly opposite to each other, the upper one
near the top of the post, and the other about two-thirds the length
of the rod downwards; the rod must be passed down them, and the mouth
resting lightly on the upper one, the Rocket must be quite free
from the post. When thus fixed and a lighted port-fire is applied
to its mouth, it will (if properly made,) immediately ascend with a
prodigious velocity, and having attained its greatest height will
there burst and discharge its luminous beauties in the atmosphere. A
Rocket with its head and rod complete is represented at fig. 22.


As we wish to complete the article Rockets in this section, we
shall here give the composition proper for filling them, which must
vary in the proportion of its ingredients according to the size of
the Rocket; this variation in the strength of the composition, is
positively necessary; for that which is proper for small Rockets,
would be much too strong for large ones, therefore its strength
should increase nearly as the dimensions of the Rockets decrease.

1. For one and two ounce Rockets, the ingredients for a proper
composition should be--

One pound of gunpowder, two ounces of soft charcoal, and one ounce
and a-half of salt-petre.

2. Two to three ounce Rockets:--

To four ounces of gunpowder, add one ounce of charcoal, or to nine
ounces of powder, add two ounces of salt-petre.

3. Four ounce Rockets:--

To one pound of gunpowder, add four ounces of salt-petre, and one
ounce of charcoal. The composition will be much stronger if in this
proportion:--To ten ounces of powder, add three ounces and a-half of
salt-petre, and three ounces of charcoal.

4. Five or six ounce Rockets:--

Gunpowder two pound five ounces, salt-petre half-a-pound, sulphur two
ounces, charcoal six ounces, and iron-filings two ounces.

5. Seven or eight ounce Rockets:--

Gunpowder seventeen ounces, salt-petre four ounces, sulphur three

6. Eight to ten ounce Rockets:--

Gunpowder two pounds five ounces, salt-petre eight ounces, sulphur
two ounces, charcoal seven ounces, iron-filings three ounces.

7. Ten or twelve ounce Rockets:--

Gunpowder one pound one ounce, salt-petre four ounces, sulphur three
and a-half ounces, charcoal one ounce.

8. Twelve to fourteen ounce Rockets:--

Gunpowder two pounds four ounces, salt-petre nine ounces, sulphur
three ounces, charcoal five ounces, iron-filings three ounces.

9. One pound Rockets:--

Gunpowder one pound, charcoal three ounces, sulphur one ounce.

10. Two pound Rockets:--

Gunpowder one pound four ounces, salt-petre two ounces, charcoal
three ounces, sulphur one ounce, iron-filings two ounces.

11. Three pound Rockets:--

Gunpowder four ounces, salt-petre one pound, sulphur eight and a-half
ounces, charcoal two ounces.

12. Four pound Rockets:--

Gunpowder half-a-pound, salt-petre fifteen pounds, sulphur two
pounds, charcoal six pounds.

For Rockets of the largest size:--

To eight pounds of salt-petre, add twenty ounces of sulphur, and
forty-four ounces of charcoal.

The several ingredients should be each ground separately, and sifted,
and afterwards weighed and mixed together, in readiness for loading
the cartridges

We now proceed to describe some of the various modifications which
Rockets are susceptible of in their exhibitions; in which we shall
endeavour to blend the most prominent features: were we to attempt
to give the whole, it would annihilate the purpose of our work;
indeed it is impossible to set limits to the field of variety which
here opens itself; we shall therefore describe a few of the most
particular, and leave the rest to the Tyro, assuring him it will
afford a pleasing source of amusement, and furnish excellent matter
for the exercise of his ingenuity.


The rod of a Rocket has been compared to the rudder of a ship, or
tail of a bird; the purpose of which is to make the ship or bird
turn towards that side to which it is inclined; a straight rod, as
experience proves, causes a Rocket to ascend in a straight line,
because the centre of gravity lays in, or is parallel to the centre
line of the rod; but if we apply a crooked rod, or one that forms
part of a circle, this will not be the case, for the first effect
will be to make the Rocket incline towards that side to which it
is bent; but the centre of gravity bringing it afterwards into a
vertical position the result will be, that the Rocket will ascend in
a spiral form.

Rockets exhibited in this way, evidently displace a greater volume of
air, therefore as a consequence they cannot ascend so high as those
that are impelled in a straight direction; but, nevertheless, their
peculiar flight will produce a very pleasing effect.


So called from their ascending to a greater height than any others;
it is effected by fixing one Rocket on the top of another of superior
dimensions:--thus, suppose the lower one to be a twelve-ounce, then
the upper one should be a three-ounce Rocket; the larger one must
have a small head formed round its own diameter, then place the mouth
of the smaller one in it; the mouth should be rubbed with mealed
powder wetted with spirits of wine; the bore in the charge should
not be filled, but have inserted in it a bit of quick-match, the
other end of which should enter the perforations at the top of the
greater Rocket, which will form a communication between them. The
large Rocket must be filled only half a diameter above the piercer;
if filled higher, it will begin to descend before the upper has taken
fire, and produce no additional effect.

The force by which the small Rocket goes off, will be sufficient to
disengage it from the other, without the use of powder to effect it;
one round of paper pasted round the juncture of the two Rockets will
be sufficient to connect them together.

In regard to the rods for Towering Rockets, the same principles are
to be applied as for the others.


Take about a pound Rocket of our first description, such as is
represented in fig. 23; then on the case, close to the top of the
rod, tie on, in a transverse direction, a two-ounce case, which
should be filled with a strong charge, and choaked quite close at
both ends; then towards each end, and in the reverse sides, bore a
hole of moderate size, and from each carry a leader into the top of
the large Rocket. When the Rocket attains its greatest height, it
communicates fire to the cross one at top; from the holes being made
in a transverse direction, will turn round very fast, and represent
in its return to the ground, a spiral of descending fire. There are
several other methods of adjusting the small case; one consists in
letting the rod rise about an inch or somewhat more above the top of
the Rocket, and tying the case to it, so as to rest on the Rocket;
when adjusted after this manner, the Rockets should be without their
conical cap.


If two Rockets be fixed obliquely on the opposite sides of a rod,
they will form in their flight two spiral lines; they must exactly
balance each other on the opposite side of the rod, or they will
not rise in a vertical direction. Both ends of the Rockets must be
choaked close, without either head or bounce, for a weight attached
to them would obstruct their ascent. The rod proper for these Rockets
should be square, and at top equal to the breadth of a rod for a
common single Rocket, of the same weight as those you intend to use,
and long enough to be in equilibrium, when suspended one length of
the Rocket from the cross piece A, fig. 24, whose length should be
equal to about seven diameters of the Rocket, and placed about six
diameters from the top of the large rod; so that when fixed, they
will form with the perpendiculars an angle of about 55 or 60 degrees.

The heads of the Rockets should be placed on the opposite sides of
the cross piece, and their ends on the same of the large rod; then
their mouths must be connected by a leader, which, when they are
fired, must be burned through the middle, and then they will exert
their ascending forces at the same time.


These are of two kinds, namely, those which have reports and those
which have not. The first kind may be made somewhat longer in
proportion than ordinary, by about one or two diameters, and on
their charge must be driven a greater quantity of clay than usual;
afterwards their bounce, choak, and cap, may be effected after the
manner before described.

When of the second kind their cases and rods must be made very light;
in other respects they are similar to the common sky-Rocket when
without any appendages.

Both the first and latter kind are frequently fired in groups of six,
eight, ten, &c; and considered as signals for the exhibition of
pieces of greater magnitude.

When several of these are properly fixed to one rod, and fired
together, they form in their flight a most beautiful appearance,
for being so connected, their emissions will unite, and form a tail
of stupendous magnitude, and the bursting of so many heads at once,
will produce a grand explosion, not unlike (though less productive
of injury) the bursting of a balloon in the atmosphere. When Rockets
are arranged in this manner, particular care must be observed, in
their filling and ramming, as well as in their exact uniformity of
weight, else success is precarious. The rod also must be of proper
dimensions, the length of the rods (according to the table) for
eight-ounce Rockets, which is the best size for this purpose, is six
feet six inches; then if four or six of these be fixed on one rod,
the length of it must be about ten feet; in its circumference at
top must be made as many grooves as there are to be Rockets, and of
length to correspond. The rod must be sufficiently large at top, to
admit the Rockets lying close in the grooves without pressing each
other too tight.

The Rockets must be firmly attached to the rod, or they will be
liable by their ascending force to disengage themselves from it; but
to prevent which, the best method of fixing them is to let the rod
run about two inches above the Rockets, which will be sufficient to
form a shoulder or stop to each Rocket, the groove being discontinued
such a distance from the end; when this is done, a little binding
round the whole will make it all quite fast. The upper part of the
rod may be rounded off in the form of a cone, or which will be much
better, a cap may be pasted over the whole, which (from their meeting
with less resistance) will cause them to ascend to a greater height.
The Rocket being properly fixed, a quick-match is to be carried
from one mouth to the other, which being burnt in the middle, will
communicate immediately to the whole.

When fired they must be suspended through the rings, as taught in the
early part of this article.


This is a simple application of Rockets to the spokes of a wheel;
to which when fixed they form the felloe. Their effect (when fired)
in the ordinary manner is merely that of revolving round on a fixed
centre, till their composition is consumed; and by their revolutions
representing a vertical or an horizontal circle of fire.

The spokes must be firmly fixed into a block of wood, of lengths and
at a distance from each other suitable to the lengths of the cases
employed. The cases should be those of twelve or sixteen ounces;
and filled with the composition given at No. 8 or 9: they must be
carefully rammed.

When the ends of the Rockets are fixed to the spokes, which should be
notched out proper to receive them and for the purpose of making them
more secure, then in the side of each case, (outward from the wheel)
bore a hole of common dimensions near the clay; these holes should be
made in an oblique direction towards the charge, and in and from each
must be carried a piece of quick-match to the centre of the wheel,
where they must be tied together and lighted. At the centre of the
wheel may be fixed a similar or larger case; which, being lighted at
the same time, will add much to the exhibition.

The centre of the wheel is frequently fitted to a block of wood, and
fired upon a table, when it forms an horizontal wheel; otherwise it
revolves on an axis fixed to a post, and in this case a vertical
wheel is represented; the centre case may be applied to either.


These form a pleasing appendage to the heads of Rockets, that are of
considerable magnitude.

They are made in cases, about four inches in length, and their
interior diameter about three-eighths of an inch; both ends must be
pinched quite close, one before, and the other after they are filled;
then in the reverse sides make a small vent-hole to the composition,
and prime them with meal powder, wetted with spirits of wine.

The heads of Rockets may be partly or wholly filled with these
cases; when fired they burst quick from their confinement and form a
beautiful spiral descent.

The composition may be that of Serpents, or the brilliant fire; when
either are used it should be prepared strong.


Among the various modes of exhibiting Rockets, none are more pleasing
than the present.

Rockets proper for this purpose are those of about half, and
three-quarter pounds; they are made after the manner of sky-rockets
of the common kind. Any number, from one to eight or ten, may be
used; but five or six will be found to answer the best. According
to the number of cases used, the Courantins are said to be of so
many changes. When one, two, or three are only used, they may
conveniently be fixed to a small empty cartridge, (of the same
length as the cases,) made on a wire former, a little larger than
the line on which it is to run, and of considerable substance; but
when more than this number are to be used, or a greater change is
to be produced, a small perforated cylinder must be procured, of
dimensions suitable to the purpose; this cylinder should be of some
light wood, such as fine deal, or willow; the perforations must be
made exactly through the centre lengthways. In the same direction,
on its circumference, are to be made as many grooves as there are
Rockets to be employed; in which they must be well secured by tying
the whole with string.

The diameter of this cylinder should be such, that when laid into the
groove, the cases may nearly touch each other.

The Rockets being all prepared, (and their apertures, or mouths,
besprinkled a little with meal powder and spirits of wine,) they
are to be laid into the groove, and in such a manner, that the head
or mouth of the second lays at the same end of the cylinder as the
tail of the first; the head of the third the same as the tail of the
second; and so on with all the others; they must all be bound tight
round with string.

Being thus fixed to the cylinder, you must from the tail of the first
Rocket carry a leader to the mouth of the second; from the tail of
the second, to the mouth of the third; and so with the whole number,
taking care to fix every leader quite secure; and at the same time,
that the quick-match does not enter but a very little way into the
bore of the Rockets, or it will be liable to fire the charge or
composition of the Rockets, and thereby destroy all your arrangements.

Your runner being now ready for action, a line is to be fixed in an
horizontal direction between two posts, or other convenient objects,
whose distance from each other (for half-pound Rockets) should be
about 100 yards long; this line should be of some strong twine, or
(which will answer much better) small brass or iron wire, stretched
quite tight between its supports; remembering to put on the runner
before you fasten both ends. Then (the mouth being next the end of
the line) fire the first Rocket, which by its force will carry the
whole to the end of the line, or nearly, for it will be best to
have the line too long rather than too short, for if the latter is
the case, it will of course make a stand at its extremity, till the
remainder of the charge is consumed, which does not look well. But if
on the contrary the line is a little too long there will be no such
stoppage, not even during the communication of the fire to the next
Rocket, for the force acquired in its first flight will be sufficient
to continue it till such communication is effected; after which it
will return in the same manner to the other extremity, and back again
in the same order, and so on to the end of the charges arranged on
the cylinder.

It is a pleasing exhibition of this kind of fire-works, to arrange
them in such manner that when arrived at the extremity of the line,
they may communicate fire to some other piece, properly arranged at
the end of the line, which in this case should not be so long as
before, that the runner may rest a moment before it returns, the
better to ensure the communication.

To render the runners more agreeable, they are made (of light wood
or tin) in the form of different animals, such as _Serpents_,
_Dragons_, _Mercuries_, _Ships_, &c. When thus arranged they are very
entertaining, especially when filled with various compositions, such
as golden rain, fires of different colours, serpents, port-fires, &c.

The dragons may be made to discharge serpents from their mouths,
and two of them arranged on one line, so as to meet each other in
the middle, and there appear to contend, till the second case takes
fire, when they will run back to the extremity of the line, and then
return again with great violence, and produce much amusement both to
the operator and spectator.

In the same manner two ships may be represented to contend, and (by
filling them well with serpents) be made to pour their broad-sides at
each other: or, if they are placed on two separate lines, at a small
distance from each other, they may be caused to pass each other in
opposite directions; in both cases they will produce a very pleasing

When the represented animals are made to meet in the middle, the line
should be of much greater length, or they will rush together with too
great a force.


These, while they fly along the line in a straight direction, are, by
a simple application of another Rocket, caused to revolve, or turn
round at the same time. This rotatory motion is easily effected,
by fixing to the cases another Rocket, which must be placed in a
transversal direction; the aperture of which, instead of being at
the bottom, like those on the cylinder, must be made in the side,
near one of the ends. This transversal Rocket must be filled with a
very slow charge, or it will be consumed long before those are upon
the cylinder; when several changes in the runners are intended, two
should be fixed in the transversal direction; their diameters should
be small, in proportion to their lengths.

The Courantines may be made to revolve by other means equally
simple and effective. Prepare and fill a case the same as those for
Catherine Wheels, and wind and tie it nicely round the Courantine;
this, when lighted with the first case, will cause it to revolve in
a very pleasing manner.

When the Courantines do not revolve, they may be made to carry on the
upper side a Jet of Fire, or any other ornament which the operator
may devize; taking care to suspend, by means of wire, a small weight
to the under side, which will keep it always in an erect position.


To the large cartridge, or head, of about a two pound Rocket, place
round several small ones of about two or three ounces, the rods of
which must be made quite fast to the head, and parallel to the rod
of the larger; then, if these be set on fire while the large one is
ascending, they will represent in a very pleasing manner, _a tree_,
the trunk of which will be the large Rocket, and the smaller ones
the branches.

If, by means of leaders, the small Rockets are caused to take fire
when the large one is about half burned in the air, they will
represent the form of a comet; and when the large one begins to
descend in an inverted position, the small ones will represent a kind
of fiery fountains.

If the barrels of some small tubes, or quills, filled with the
composition of Flying Rockets, be placed on a large one, they will,
when fire is communicated to them, represent a beautiful shower of

If a number of small serpents be attached to the Rocket with a piece
of pack-thread, by the ends that do not catch fire; and if the
pack-thread be suffered to hang down two or three inches between
every two, this arrangement, when properly managed, will produce a
variety of agreeable and amusing figures.


Cut some circles, about three or four inches diameter, out of some
tin, or other thin plate; then to the rod of each Rocket, and about
twice the length of the case from its mouth, fix one of these pieces
of tin, nearly at right angles from the rod, and make it quite fast
by a bracket underneath. The fire acting upon this, as it proceeds
from the mouth of the Rocket, will divide the tail in such a manner,
that it will cause it to proceed in a circular course, and form a
very pleasing appearance.


Rockets may be made to rise in the air without rods, but in the place
of which, they must have attached to them four triangular pasteboard
wings, fixed lengthwise on the external of the cartridge, similar to
those attached to arrows or darts. The length of these wings should
be about three-fourths the length of the Rocket; their breadth at
bottom should be half their length, and diminished off to nothing at
top. The Rocket may be set over a hole in a board, and fired from
the under side; or the four wings may rest on four iron pins, six or
eight inches in length, drove into a board at suitable distances from
each other, and the Rocket fired from between them.

Though the greatest care be employed in the exhibition of Rockets
after this manner, still their ascent is by far less certain than
when a rod is used; therefore the Tyro must not be disappointed if
he chance to fail of success.


A Rocket, being properly constructed, with its rod and other
appendages attached, fixed in a vertical position, and fire being
applied to its mouth, it will (as experience proves) ascend in the
air with a prodigious velocity: but upon inquiry into the cause of
this ascent, we meet with difficulties little contemplated when we
were viewing the beautiful path it described in the medium of its

That this ascent is dependent on the medium (or air) in which it
is generated, admits not of a doubt; but to describe how, or in
what manner it is effected, has engaged the attention of some of
the most eminent philosophers. In consequence several theories have
been advanced for the explication of the phenomena, and among them
those of Mariotte and Desaguliers have claimed the most particular

Mariotte attributes the rise of Rockets to the resistance, or
reaction of the air against the gas, which is generated by the
combustion of the composition.

This hypothesis seems to explain the phenomena; but great objections
have been brought against it, on account of the difficulty which
attends the reduction of it to mathematical investigations:--this
difficulty arises from the law which the propelling force must
necessarily observe; that is, it will decrease as the velocity
increases, in consequence of the partial vacuum left behind the
Rocket in its flight; so that the velocity becomes as it were both
a _datum_ and _quæsitum_; and the correct solution of the problem
necessarily involves the integration of partial differences of the
highest order.

The hypothesis of Desaguliers is somewhat different to the foregoing;
it is much more familiar with mathematical investigations; as it
reduces the whole theory to the most simple form; and we think it
is not far from being consonant with the known principles of the
phenomena; notwithstanding the argument brought against it by Dr.
Rees, and his Editors; and which we shall endeavour to prove by
citing higher authority than our own.

Dr. Desaguliers illustrates his hypothesis in the following
manner:--Conceive the Rocket to have no vent at the choak, and to be
set on fire in the conical bore; the consequence would be, either
that the Rocket would burst in the weakest place, or that, if all
parts were equally strong, and able to sustain the impulse of the
flame, the Rocket would burn out immoveable. Now, as the force of
the flame is equable, suppose its action downwards, or that upwards,
sufficient to lift forty pounds; as these forces are equal, but their
directions contrary, they will destroy each other’s action.

Imagine then the Rocket opened at the choak; by this mean the action
of the flame downwards is taken away, and there remains a force equal
to forty pounds acting upwards, to carry up the Rocket, and the stick
or rod it is tied to.

Accordingly we find that if the composition of the Rocket be very
weak, so as not to give an impulse greater than the weight of the
Rocket and stick, it does not rise at all; or if the composition be
slow, so that a small part of it only kindles at first, the Rocket
will not rise.

To this we shall add the late Doctor Hutton’s philosophy, on the
ascent of Rockets; who says, that at the moment when the powder
begins to inflame, its expansion produces a torrent of elastic
fluid, which acts in every direction; that is, against the air which
escapes from the cartridge, and against the upper part of the Rocket;
but the resistance of the air is more considerable than the weight
of the Rocket, on account of the extreme rapidity with which the
elastic fluid issues through the neck of the Rocket to throw itself
downwards, and therefore the Rocket ascends by the excess of one of
these forces over the other.

This, however, would not be the case, unless the Rocket was pierced
to a certain depth. A sufficient quantity of elastic fluid would
not be produced; for the composition would inflame only in circular
coats, of a diameter equal to that of the Rocket; and experience
shows that this is not sufficient. Recourse then is had to the very
ingenious idea of piercing the Rocket in a conical hole, which makes
the composition burn in conical strata, which have much greater
surface, and produce a much greater quantity of inflamed matter and
fluid. This expedient was certainly not the work of a moment.

The stick serves to keep it perpendicular; for if the Rocket should
begin to tumble, moving round a point in the choak, as being the
common centre of gravity of Rocket and stick, there would be so
much friction against the air by the stick, between the centre and
the point, and the point would beat against the air with so much
velocity, that the reaction of the medium would restore it to its
perpendicularity. When the composition is burnt out, and the impulse
upwards has ceased, the common centre of gravity is brought lower
towards the middle of the stick, by which means the velocity of the
point of the stick is decreased, and that at the point of the Rocket
is increased; so that the whole will fall down, with the Rocket end

During the time the Rocket burns, the common centre of gravity is
shifting and getting downwards, and still faster and lower as the
stick is lighter; so that it sometimes begins to tumble before it is
quite burnt out: but when the stick is too heavy, the common centre
of gravity will not get so low, but that of the Rocket will rise
straight, though not so fast.

From the experiments of Mr. Robins, and other Gentlemen, it was found
that the Rockets of two, three, or four inches diameter, rise the
highest; and they are found to rise to all heights in the air, from
400 to 1,254 yards, which is about three-quarters of a mile. For
further particulars respecting the theory of the flight of Rockets
our readers are referred to Robins’s Tracts, vol. 2.--Philosophical
Transactions, vol. 46, page 578: and more particularly to Mr. W.
Moor’s “Treatise on the motion of Rockets,” in which they will find
the subject elegantly treated.



1. SERPENTS.--Mealed-powder one pound, salt-petre one ounce and
three-quarters, charcoal one ounce.

2. PIN WHEELS.--Mealed-powder twelve ounces, salt-petre three ounces,
sulphur one ounce and a-half, steel-filings two ounces.

3. COMMON STARS.--Salt-petre one pound, sulphur four and a-half
ounces, antimony four ounces, isinglass half an ounce, camphor half
an ounce, spirits of wine three-quarters of an ounce.

4. WHITE STARS.--Mealed-powder four ounces, salt-petre twelve ounces,
sulphur six ounces and a-half, oil of spike two ounces, camphor five

5. BLUE STARS.--Mealed-powder eight ounces, salt-petre four ounces,
sulphur two and a-half ounces, isinglass two ounces, spirits of wine
two ounces.

6. TAILED STARS.--Mealed-powder three ounces, salt-petre one ounce,
sulphur three ounces, charcoal one ounce.

7. DROVE STARS.--Salt-petre one pound, sulphur eight ounces, antimony
four ounces.

8. POINTED STARS.--Salt-petre eight and a-half ounces, sulphur two
ounces, antimony one ounce and three-quarters.

9. STARS OF A FINE COLOUR.--Mealed-powder one ounce, salt-petre one
ounce, sulphur one ounce, oil of turpentine four drams, camphor four

10. VARIEGATED STARS.--Mealed-powder eight drams, roch-petre four
ounces, vivum two ounces, camphor two ounces.

11. BRILLIANT STARS.--Mealed-powder three-quarters of an ounce,
salt-petre three ounces and a-half, sulphur one and a-half ounce,
spirits of wine one ounce and a quarter.

12. TAILED STARS.--Salt-petre four ounces, sulphur six ounces,
antimony two ounces, rosin four ounces.

13. DITTO WITH SPARKS.--Mealed-powder one ounce, salt-petre one
ounce, camphor two ounces.


1. Mealed-powder one pound and a-half, coarse iron-sand five ounces.

2. Mealed-powder two pounds, coarse iron-sand eight ounces,
salt-petre one pound.

15. ROMAN CANDLES.--Mealed-powder half-a pound, salt-petre two pounds
and a-half, sulphur half-a pound, glass-dust half-a pound.


_For four ounce cases._--Mealed-powder one pound two ounces, charcoal
two ounces and a-quarter.

_For eight ounce cases._--Mealed-powder two pounds, charcoal four
ounces three-quarters.


_Chinese._--Mealed-powder one pound, sulphur two ounces, iron-sand
first order five ounces.

_Ancient._--Mealed-powder one pound, charcoal two ounces.

_Brilliant._--Mealed-powder one pound, iron-sand first order four


1. Mealed-powder four ounces, salt-petre one pound, sulphur four
ounces, brass-dust one ounce, saw-dust two ounces and a-quarter,
glass-dust six drams.

2. Mealed-powder twelve ounces, salt-petre two ounces, charcoal four

3. Salt-petre eight ounces, sulphur two ounces, brass-dust a quarter
of an ounce, antimony three-quarters of an ounce, saw-dust twelve
drams, glass-dust one ounce.


1. Mealed-powder two ounces, salt-petre four ounces, sulphur two
ounces, antimony two ounces, sal-prunella half an ounce.

2. Salt-petre half an ounce, sulphur two ounces, charcoal four ounces.

3. Mealed-powder two ounces, salt-petre four ounces, sulphur one
ounce, steel-dust three-quarters of an ounce.


1. Mealed-powder three pounds, salt-petre two pounds, sulphur one
pound and a-half, charcoal two pounds and a-half.

2. Salt-petre one pound, sulphur four pounds and a-half, charcoal six

3. Salt-petre one pound, sulphur four ounces, charcoal twelve ounces.

4. Mealed-powder four ounces, salt-petre one pound, sulphur eight
ounces and a-half, charcoal two ounces.


Mealed-powder ten ounces, charcoal one ounce.


1. Mealed-powder one pound, charcoal one pound.

2. Mealed-powder one pound, charcoal nine ounces.


1. Mealed-powder two pounds, salt-petre four pounds, sulphur two
pounds, antimony four ounces, saw-dust four ounces, glass-dust one
ounce and a-quarter.

2. Mealed-powder three pounds, salt-petre four pounds and a-half,
sulphur one pound and a-half, antimony four ounces.


1. Mealed-powder two pounds, salt-petre four ounces, steel-filings
six ounces.

2. Mealed-powder two pounds, salt-petre twelve ounces, steel-filings
three ounces.

3. Mealed-powder four pounds, salt-petre one pound, sulphur eight
ounces, charcoal four ounces and a-half.

4. Mealed-powder eight ounces, salt-petre four ounces, saw-dust one
ounce and a-half, charcoal one ounce.

5. Mealed-powder twelve ounces, saw-dust half an ounce, charcoal one

6. Salt-petre one pound nine ounces, sulphur four ounces, charcoal
four ounces and a-half.


1. Mealed-powder one ounce and a-half, sulphur two ounces, salt-petre
four ounces.

2. Antimony one ounce six drams, sulphur one ounce, salt-petre four


Salt-petre one ounce and a-half, sulphur a quarter of an ounce,
antimony two drams, lapis calaminaris a quarter of an ounce.


1. Mealed-powder two pounds, salt-petre one pound, sulphur
half-a-pound, charcoal half-a-pound.

2. Mealed-powder one pound, salt-petre half-a-pound, steel-dust four

3. Mealed-powder ten ounces, charcoal two ounces.

4. Mealed-powder half-a-pound, sulphur two ounces.

5. Mealed-powder one pound and-a-half, saw-dust three-quarters of an
ounce, charcoal two ounces and a-half.


1. Mealed-powder two pounds two ounces, salt-petre five ounces,
sulphur one ounce, steel-dust twelve ounces.

2. Mealed-powder one pound and a-half, salt-petre three ounces,
steel-dust three ounces and three-quarters.


Mealed-powder fourteen ounces, salt-petre one pound and a-half,
sulphur six ounces, glass-dust fourteen ounces.


Salt-petre six ounces, sulphur two pounds, camphor two ounces,
antimony four ounces.


Mealed-powder ten ounces, salt-petre six ounces, charcoal one ounce
and a-half.


_White Fire._--Gunpowder two parts, steel filings one part; for a
pale white add a little camphor. Raspings of ivory give a flame of a
silver colour, somewhat dazzling to the eyes.

_Red Fire._--Gunpowder two parts, iron-sand of the first order one
part. Greek pitch produces a flame somewhat red, but more inclined to
a bronze colour.

Common black pitch produces a dusky flame, like a thick smoke, very
essential in producing a medium of intolerable obscurity.

Sulphur, mixed in a moderate quantity, makes the flame appear of a
blue cast.

Sal ammoniac and verdigris produce a flame inclined to green.

Raspings of yellow amber give to the flame a lemon colour.

Crude antimony a kind of russet colour.


When the inner diameter of the cases is not more than six lines the
following must be the proportions.

_Chinese Fire._--Mealed-powder one pound, salt-petre one pound,
sulphur eight ounces, charcoal two ounces.

_White Fire._--Iron-sand of the first order eight ounces,
mealed-powder eight ounces, salt-petre one pound, sulphur three
ounces, charcoal three ounces.

But when their calibre is from eight to twelve lines, the following
are the proportions.

_White Fire._--Mealed-powder one pound, salt-petre one pound, sulphur
eight ounces, charcoal two ounces.

_Chinese Fire._--Salt-petre one pound four ounces, sulphur five
ounces, charcoal five ounces, iron-sand of the third order twelve

_Brilliant Fire._--Mealed-powder one pound, iron-sand five ounces.


_Chinese Fire._--Salt-petre one pound four ounces, sulphur seven
ounces, charcoal five ounces, and twelve ounces of a compound of the
six different kinds of sand.


_For Black._--Mealed-powder and charcoal.

_For White._--Salt-petre, sulphur, and charcoal.

_For Grey._--Mealed-powder, salt-petre, sulphur, and charcoal.

_For Red._--Mealed-powder, charcoal, and saw-dust.

These may be used in any proportion the practitioner may think
proper, for a little experience will prove to him that various
colours of fire may be produced by only varying the proportions
or order of the ingredients, or by rendering them alternately
predominant. The same observation will apply to many other cases of
a similar nature.



Compound Fire-Works are those resulting from the combination of the
single or more simple kind; principally those which we have already
described. The number and variety of figures, and the modification
of which they are susceptible, is almost endless, and to describe
all, or the greater part of them, would far exceed the limits of our
MANUAL. We shall therefore consider it sufficient to select such
specimens of simple arrangement as will form a proper introduction
to those which are more complex; in which latter case the young
Pyrotechnist must be left to his own ingenuity, which will readily
dictate to him a greater variety than it would be possible for us to


The first combination which would naturally suggest itself to the
uninformed is that of a number of Serpents so arranged as to take
fire all at the same time, and in the end to burst and make a loud

This combination is a nest of Serpents; the case or box containing
them must be made of strong paste-board, in dimensions equal to
the number to be inserted. The piece which forms the top must be
perforated in as many places, answering to the number of Serpents
intended to be fired; they need not be far from each other. At
the bottom of the box must be put a little mealed-powder for the
mouths of the Serpents to rest upon, which latter must be rubbed
with a little wet mealed-powder, in order that they may take fire
immediately. To communicate fire to the powder at the bottom of the
box, one of the Serpent cases must be filled with a slow composition,
left open at the top, and inserted about the middle of the box: this
case being lighted, it will burn for a short time, or till it reaches
the bottom, when a sudden noise will be heard, and all the Serpents
thrown in various directions into the air.

This mode of firing Serpents, though puerile in its contrivance,
and simple in its production, generally affords much amusement to
the spectators, which proceeds principally from the variety of
directions given to the Serpents; which latter is a consequence
of their being placed somewhat carelessly in the box, and being
trajected at different angles from the same plane.


These chests should be made of some thin boards, in dimensions
proportionate to the number of Rockets. The Rockets best adapted are
those of from two, to six ounces. The depth of the box should be
somewhat more than the length of the Rockets with their sticks. The
top (being perforated properly to receive the sticks,) must be fixed
at right angles in the chest, and as far from the top of it as the
length of the Rocket cases, including the cap, if such are used. The
distance between each Rocket must be such that they may stand without
touching each other. From one hole to another must be cut a groove,
in depth sufficient to receive a piece of quick-match, which must be
laid from hole to hole in like manner. Below the top, at about two
thirds the length of the rods, must be fixed the bottom, perforated
in the same manner, save in the size of the holes, which will be
somewhat less owing to the dimensions of the rods. The match being
laid as above, take some sky-rockets, and having put a piece of the
same match up the cavity of each, left extending a little below the
mouth of the Rocket, which latter should be rubbed a little with
mealed-powder, wetted with some liquid, before given. The Rockets and
chest being thus ready, put the rod through the holes in the top and
bottom of the chest, in such manner that their mouths may just rest
on the quick-match in the grooves, by which all the Rockets will be
fired at the same time; for by lighting any part of the match, it
will communicate to the whole of them in an instant. For convenience
in placing the rod through the lower holes, a small door should be
made in one side of the chest, without this it will be difficult to
get the rods in their right places.

Previous to the exhibition of these flights of Rockets, they should
be covered over, or set in some safe place, or they will be in danger
of being set on fire by sparks from other works.


These are large paper cylinders, filled with powder, Stars, Sparks,
&c. They are generally made of paste-board, and about four diameters
long; they should be choaked at one end like common cases. They
are generally exhibited in numbers, fixed on a plank of some kind,
in the following manner: on the under side of your plank, make as
many grooves as you intend to have rows of pots, then at a little
distance from each other, and exactly over the grooves, fix as many
pegs, about three fourths or one diameter high; then through the
centre of each peg bore a hole down to the groove at bottom, and on
every peg fix and glue a pot, the mouth of which must fit tight on
the peg; then through all the holes run a quick-match, one end of
which must go into the pot, and the other into the groove, which must
have a match laid in it from end to end, and covered with paper,
so that when lighted at one end it may discharge the whole almost
instantaneously. In each pot put about one ounce of mealed and corn
powder; then in some put Stars, and in others Rain, Snakes, Serpents,
Crackers, Sparks, &c. When they are loaded, secure their mouths by
putting paper over each.

When fired in considerable numbers, these Pots des Brins, from their
affording so great a variety of fires, produce a most pleasing


These are a kind of fixed Rocket, the effect of which is to throw up
into the air Jets of Fire, similar in some respects to those produced
by water. If a number of such Rockets be placed horizontally on the
same line, it may be easily seen that the fire they emit, will
nearly resemble a sheet of water, arranging itself in the form of a
cascade. When the Rockets are arranged in a circular form, like the
radii and periphery of a circle, they form what is termed a _fixed

To procure these Jets of Fire, the cartridge for brilliant fires
must in thickness be equal to a fourth part of the diameter, and for
Chinese Fires only a sixth part of the same.

The cartridge must be loaded on a nipple, having a point equal in
length to the same diameter, and in thickness equal to a fourth part
of it; but, from the effect of the fire, the mouth generally becomes
larger than is requisite; but this may be prevented, by charging the
cartridge after the manner of the Chinese, who fill it to a height
equal to a fourth part of the diameter with clay; this must be rammed
down as if it were gunpowder.

When the charge is completed with the composition you have made
choice of, the cartridge must be closed with a tompion of wood, above
which it must be choaked.

The train or match must be of the same composition as that employed
for loading; otherwise the dilatation of the air, contained in the
hole made by the piercer, would cause the Jet to burst.

Clayed Rockets may be pierced with two holes near the neck, in order
to have three Jets on the same plan.

If a kind of top, pierced with a number of holes, be added to them,
they will nearly imitate a bubbling fountain.

Jets intended to represent sheets of fire, ought not to be choaked.
They must be placed in a horizontal position, or inclined a little
upwards or downwards.

If to the top of the cartridge be attached a tin cylindrical cap,
terminating in a flat, long, narrow mouth, (similar to those attached
to garden watering pots,) the stream of fire will be very much
extended, and the beauty of the exhibition increased. The composition
for this article is given in the table, section 7.


Provide a piece of dry wood, about six or seven feet long, and about
two and a-half inches square; at the distance of sixteen inches
from the top of this piece, (supposing it be seven feet long, and
fixed perpendicular,) must be fixed a shelf, sixteen inches long,
and in width about two and a-half inches, and in thickness about
three-quarters. Below this shelf must be fixed three or four other
shelves of the same width and thickness, but in length increasing
eight inches successively as they go towards the bottom. They must
be fixed the same distance from each other as the first one from the

Now on the top of the post, insert (into a hole of proper dimensions)
a gerbe, or fire-pump; on the first shelf insert after the same
manner two gerbes, on the second three, on the third four, on the
fourth five, and on the bottom shelf six:--They must be so placed,
that the next above stand exactly over the middle of the intervals of
those below. The gerbes should be placed so that their mouths incline
a little forwards; if this be not done, the stars thrown out of the
cases will strike against the shelf above, and produce but little of
that effect, which, when properly arranged, renders them so beautiful.

A proper connection must be formed with your leaders, between the
different cases; beginning at the top, and carrying it downward to
every one of them. The top one is to be lighted first.

The Pyramid, or Fountain complete, is represented by fig. 25.


In general construction, this article is exactly similar to the one
just described; but in place of gerbes, or fire-pumps, it is loaded
with mortars, filled with Serpents, Crackers, &c. and having in the
centre of each a case filled with spur-fire. The mortars should be
made of paste-board, wound two or three times round a cylinder,
about four inches diameter, and well secured by glue, by which means
their bottoms and tops are fixed to them.

The spur-fire, which is the chief ornament of these pieces, is
prepared as follows:--It has been said that excellence can never
be obtained, without overcoming commensurate difficulties; this
is certainly verified in the preparation of this composition; for
nothing can exceed the difficulty and trouble in preparing it, and
nothing can exceed the beauty of its appearance _when properly
prepared_. It is said to be the invention of the Chinese, and is
certainly the most beautiful and curious of any yet known.

The principal care in the preparation, is, to have the ingredients of
the very best quality; next to that is the well grinding and mixing
them together.

The proportion of the ingredients is salt-petre four pounds and
a-half, sulphur two pounds, and lamp-black one pound eight ounces.
One great difficulty is in the mixing these ingredients together; it
is best to sift the salt-petre and sulphur together first, and then
put them into a marble mortar, and the lamp-black with them, which
must be worked down by degrees with a wooden pestle, till all the
ingredients appear of one colour, which will be somewhat grayish, but
more inclined to black; when this is done drive a little into a case
for trial, and fire it in a dark place; if sparks come out in the
form of _stars_ or _pinks_, and in clusters, spreading well without
any other sparks, it may be considered good: if it appear drossy,
and the stars not full, it is not mixed enough; but if the pinks are
very small, and soon break, it is indicative of an excess of rubbing;
if the excess is great, it will be too fierce, and hardly show any
stars: on the other hand, if the rubbing or mixture is in defect, it
will be too weak, and produce nothing but an obscure or black smoke.

This composition is generally rammed in one or two ounce cases, about
five or six inches long; care must be taken not to ram it too hard.
The aperture at the choak should not be so wide as is usually given
to other choaked cases.

It is somewhat remarkable, that the composition should be improved
by being kept in the cases; but it is found that they always play
better, if suffered to stand a time after they are filled.

In preparing the Pyramid of Flower Pots, the cases of spur-fire
are to be placed in the middle of the mortars, and be connected by
leaders, so that they may all be fired together. The cases will first
play off in a very pretty manner; and when exhausted, the fire from
them communicates to the powder at the bottom of the mortars, and
this suddenly taking fire, all blow up simultaneously, and scatter
their luminous fragments in the air; the serpents hiss, the crackers
bounce, and the illuminated stars fly in all directions, producing
considerable amusement and surprise, and forming an excellent
conclusion to a small exhibition.

This beautiful composition is also susceptible of other
representations, many of which may without the least danger be
exhibited within a room, as well as in the open air; it is really of
so innocent a nature, that it may be (though improperly) called a
_cold fire_; for it is found that when well made, the sparks will not
burn a handkerchief when held in the midst of them; they may be held
in the hand with perfect safety; if the sparks fall a short distance
upon the hand, you feel them like drops of rain.

A pretty exhibition may be produced by placing a number of spur-fires
round a transparent pyramid of paper, and fired in a room, or in the
open air. In all cases, and every variety of exhibition, this fire is
very beautiful, and will always repay the labour of preparation.


A great variety of forms may be given to this kind of fire-works.
They are so called because they are generally made in the shape of
wheels, with a nave and spokes radiating from the centre; on the
extremities of the latter are adjusted charged cases, of the rocket
kind, without heads; in such manner that the tail of one is connected
with the head of another, by which method they will take fire
successively, and keep up a continued revolution of the apparatus to
which they are fixed.

These wheels are either vertical or horizontal, single or double. A
single vertical or horizontal, may be made after the manner described
in Art. 6, Rockets.


May be rendered more pleasing by the following arrangement of the
rocket. Provide a wheel, with nave, spindle, and spokes as before;
and for the fells a broad cooper’s hoop of proper dimensions, nailed
on to the end of the spokes, will answer very well. The wheel being
thus prepared, the cases must be attached firmly to it, by means of
strong pack-thread, loops passing through the circumference; and in
such manner that their heads and tails, as they succeed each other,
may alternately incline upwards and downwards, and likewise when
fixed, come very near together.

This being done you must, from the tail of one case to the mouth of
the next following, carry a leader, and well secure it by pasting
paper round both the joinings:--within this pasted paper should be
put a little mealed-powder, which will serve to blow off the paper,
and leave no obstruction to the fire from the cases. To the spindle
on which the wheel revolves, fix a case of the same kind as those on
the wheel; which must be fired by a leader from the mouth of the last
case on the wheel, which case should play downwards. The wheel will
be much improved, if instead of a common case in the middle, you fix
a case of Chinese-fire, in length sufficient to burn as long as three
cases on the wheel. In all the cases, (except the first one,) on
each wheel should be driven a ladle-full or two of slow-fire, in any
part of the case: in the end of one or two alternate cases you may
also ram a ladle-full of dead-fire composition, which must be very
lightly rammed; many other changes in the appearance may be produced
by alternately ramming in composition of different orders.

Horizontal Wheels are frequently fired two or three at a time; and
being prepared after the same manner, will keep time with each other:
when thus arranged, the slow or dead-fire is omitted. These wheels
may be made from ten to twenty inches diameter.

A Horizontal Wheel, with the cases fixed, is represented in fig. 26.


So called from there being several of them fixed on the same axis;
they are generally horizontal, and in number three. The diameter of
the middle wheel may be a little less than the other two.

The cases must be fixed to the ends of the spokes in notches cut on
purpose, or there may be half cylinders of tin nailed to the ends
of the spokes, and the cases tied in them. The bottom cases should
play obliquely upwards; the middle set horizontally; and the upper
cases obliquely downwards. The leaders must be arranged so that the
cases may burn first up, then down, then horizontal, through the
whole sets. By driving in the end of the last case two or three
ladles full of slow-fire, it will cause it to burn till the wheel has
stopped its course; and if the other cases are fixed in the contrary
way, the wheel will then revolve in a contrary direction, and have a
pleasing appearance. For the case at top of the axis, a gerbe may be
well employed; the case on the spokes should be filled with a strong
brilliant charge.


These in their principal construction differ but little from the
foregoing: the following are the principal differences. The nave
should be about seven inches long; instead of a spindle at top,
make a hole for the case to be fixed in; in the nave must be fixed
two sets of spokes near the top and bottom; the spokes should not be
more than about three inches long; the cases must be placed in such
a manner, that those at top play downwards, and those at bottom play
upwards, but the third or fourth case must play horizontally. The
case in the middle may begin with any of the others; six spokes will
be sufficient for each set, by which the wheel may contain twelve
cases, besides the top one: the cases should be about seven inches in


Provide a horizontal wheel with circular fells complete, which should
be about two feet six inches diameter; on its circumference, and
at equal distances from each other, fix three pieces of light deal
about four feet long, and at top connect them to a cylindrical block
about three inches diameter; this block must be perpendicular to
that of the wheel below. The wheel being thus far advanced, have a
thin flexible lath or hoop, and having nailed one end to the bottom
of one of the upright pieces, proceed to wind it round the three
uprights in a spiral line from the wheel to the top block, to which
the other end must be made fast; on the top of the block fix a case
of Chinese-fire; on the wheel you may place any number of cases,
which should incline downwards, and burn two at a time. If the wheel
has ten cases, the illuminations and Chinese-fire may begin with the
second case.

The axis for this wheel must pass through the bottom nave, and into
the block at top.

This wheel may be easily wrought into a double spiral wheel, by
winding round it another lath in an opposite direction, and clothing
it in a similar manner. At the top of either may be placed a case of
spur-fire, or amber-light, or any other article the pyrotechnist may
think proper.


These are horizontal wheels, generally made of solid one-inch elm
board, about two feet six inches diameter. On the top arrange and fix
in pots, three inches diameter, and about six inches high, in number
equal to the cases on the wheel: near the bottom of each pot make a
small vent, into each of which carry a leader from the tail of each
case; the pots may be loaded with Stars, Crackers, Serpents, &c. As
the wheels turn, the pots will be successively fired, and caused to
throw into the air a great variety of fires, which taking numerous
and various directions, will present a pleasing exhibition.


These are of very simple contrivance. Provide two light wheels, in
diameter from two to three or four feet: they must be fixed firmly
to a square axle-tree, or in such manner that they cannot revolve on
it; the axle may be about three feet in length. Then on the middle
of this axle is to be firmly fixed a fire-wheel, which must be so
much less in diameter, that when the cases are attached to it, it may
be quite clear of the ground; care must be taken that this middle
wheel be fixed at right-angles from the axle, or it will not keep in
a straight direction when set in motion. Now the first case being
fired, it is evident that motion will be given to the fire-wheel,
which being fixed firmly to the axle of the others, the consequence
which follows is, that absolute[16] motion will be given to the
whole apparatus; which, if placed on level ground, will proceed to
a distance proportionate to the number and strength of the cases

By attaching a second set of cases, so arranged as to take fire when
the first set are consumed, the wheel (running upon level ground)
will return to the same place from which it received its primary

This kind of wheels, when constructed with care, affords a very
pleasing recreation. It may be readily seen, that many other
ornamental pieces of less magnitude may be attached to the same
axle:--a good level school ground is favourable for the exhibition of
this article.


The Wheel for this should be about three feet six inches diameter. On
its circumference fix sixteen half-pound cases filled with brilliant
charge, two of which should burn at a time. On each end of the nave,
must be a tube or barrel of tin or brass, in diameter something less
than that of the nave, and in height about six inches; this is the
construction of the wheel. The stand to which it is to be fixed is as
follows: set a post of any kind of wood, about four inches square,
firmly into the ground, standing up about five feet; then from the
top saw off about two feet, which piece must be joined again at the
place where it was cut, with a strong hinge on one side, in such a
manner that it may lift up and down in front of the stand; on the
top of the bottom part, the side on which the moveable part falls,
fix a very strong bracket projecting about a foot from the post; and
at the extremity of which form a tenon, corresponding to a mortice
made in the moveable part, so that when it falls it may be firmly
fixed to it; this particular must be attended to, or the force with
which the wheel revolves when vertical, will be liable to pull off
the hinge. On the side of the short post opposite the hinge, nail a
piece of wood, extending about eighteen inches down the bottom part
of the post, to which it must be tied with a piece of string only,
which will be sufficient to keep the short part perpendicular; in
the top of the latter, fix a spindle, ten or twelve inches long;
on this spindle put the wheel; then fix on a brilliant sun with a
single glory, the diameter of which must be about six inches less
than that of the wheel. The wheel being ready to fire, light the
wheel part first, and let it run horizontally till four cases are
consumed, then from the end of the fourth case carry a leader into
the tin barrel that turns over the end of the stand; this leader must
be met by another brought through the top of the post, from a case
filled with a strong port-fire charge, and tied to the bottom post,
with its mouth directed towards the string which holds up the upper
part of the post, so that when this case is lighted, it will burn the
string and let the wheel fall downward, by which means it will become
vertical; then from the last case of the wheel carry a leader into
the barrel next the sun, which will exhibit its beauties immediately
the wheel has ceased.

The sudden change of this piece renders it very surprising and
pleasing to the observers of it, and entitles it to great attention.


A wheel of this kind may be made of any diameter. The nave may be
of moderate size, and to it fix four spokes at right angles to each
other, and united to the fell or circumference; round the latter
you are to fix any number of port-fires: on the front of the spokes
form, with some strong iron wire, a scroll or volute, in dimensions
proportionate to the wheel, beginning at the centre; on this scroll
tie cases of brilliant fire, which should not be too large, and
placed head to tail, as in other similar arrangements. The case
nearest the circumference must be fired first, which being farthest
from the centre has most power to set the wheel in motion. The
port-fires may be before, at the same time, or after the scroll.

This wheel may be wrought into one far more ornamented and complex. A
double scroll might be formed on the spokes, as well as a double set
of port-fires on the circumference; a pot of some kind at the centre
would readily suggest itself.


In all articles of the wheel kind, the Tyro must observe to increase
the strength of his composition for cases, as his wheels increase in
diameter; for a rocket proper for a twenty-four inch wheel will not
do well for one that is much larger.

The following rule as to this particular may serve in many cases:
divide the diameter of your wheels, taken in inches, into three
parts, and it will give the length of your cases, and generally
within one, the number it will require to go round it. Thus suppose
your wheel is twenty-four inches diameter, divide by 3; 24/3 equals
8, which is about the length of your cases: and 7 : 22 :: 24 : 528
which divided 528/7 = 75,3 and 75/8 = 10 equal 10, the number of
eight-inch cases it will take to go round the circumference.

This is not given as a particular, but as a general rule; or one that
will assist a little in the arrangement of these articles.


Provide a post six or seven feet long, and three inches square; then
on the far side at nine inches from the top, fix in four short pegs
to fit the inside of the cases; nine inches from these fix similar
pegs; nine inches lower fix others similar to the last; and from
these, the same distance, fix other pegs; all these four sets must
incline upwards; below them, at the same distance, must be fixed
another set inclining downwards, the angles of inclination in all may
be about forty-five degrees from the upright post. At the top of the
post place a four-inch mortar loaded with stars, rains, crackers, &c.
In the middle of this mortar place a case with any sort of charge
fired with the others, which should be filled with a brilliant
charge. The tree may be made of any size, and other ornaments made
use of, as suits the operator.


Provide a piece of wood about four feet long, two inches wide, and
one thick; at top on the flat side, fix a hoop about fourteen inches
diameter; and round its edge and front place illuminations, and in
the centre a five-pointed star; then on each side at about eighteen
inches from the edge of the hoop place two twelve-inch cases of
brilliant fire; below which place two more cases of the same size,
and at such a distance that their mouths may almost meet them at top;
then close to the ends of these fix two more of the same cases, which
must stand parallel to the others. The cases being thus fixed, the
leaders must be applied in such a manner that the illuminations and
stars at top may all take fire at the same time. Fig. 27 represents
the arrangement of the article.


These articles are divided into two kinds, one with projected cases,
the other when the cases are concealed.

For a globe with concealed cases, provide a spherical globe of any
diameter; divide the surface in fourteen equal parts, and at each
division bore a hole perpendicular to the centre; in every hole
except one (which must be reserved for the spindle, on which it must
be fixed) insert a case filled with brilliant or any other charge;
the mouths of the cases must be even with the surface of the globe;
from the mouths of the several cases must be cut a groove, and in it
laid a leader, for the purpose of firing them altogether. The globe
must be covered over with paper, and painted in what manner the Tyro
thinks proper. When dry it is to be fixed upon the spindle, and it is
ready for exhibition.

_For projected Cases._--The preparation is nearly the same; the
difference being only to let each case project from the globe about
half or two thirds of its length; their mouths are to be connected by
leaders, for the same purpose as before, and exhibited in the same


Construct a hollow wooden globe of any dimensions at pleasure; it
must be very round, both internal and external; its thickness must be
equal to about the ninth part of its diameter. In this globe insert a
small wooden cylinder, (A fig. 28.) in breadth equal about one-fifth
diameter of the globe, its thickness about half that of ditto: of the
same size and opposite to this cylinder must be another aperture.
It is through this latter aperture that fire is communicated to the
globe, when it has been filled with the proper composition through
the lower end of it; and by which you have the convenience of
filling, and of putting, as is generally done, a petard or report
of metal, filled with good grained powder over the inside of the
aperture; besides this petard four or five others of a similar
nature, only they need not be in metallic cases, are to be inserted;
they must be loaded with good grained powder filled to their
orifices. The composition for filling the remaining cavity of the
globe is--one pound of bruised gunpowder, six pounds of salt-petre,
three pounds of sulphur, two pounds of iron-filings, and half a pound
of Greek pitch. This composition will not require much grinding or
sifting; it will be sufficient if the different ingredients be well
incorporated. It should not be made up quite dry, but with a little
of one of the liquids we have before mentioned.

A globe prepared as above, on being fired by means of a match
attached to the orifice A, will leap and bound about as it burns, or
according to the accidental explosion of the petards, which are set
on fire by the composition.

Instead of placing these petards in the inside, they may be affixed
to the exterior surface of the globe, which they will make to roll
and leap about as they successively take fire. They may be arranged
in any manner on the surface of the globe, providing a connection is
formed between them by means of leaders.

Many differences in the arrangement and form of these globes may be
made, and which will readily suggest themselves to the ingenious
practitioner; such as an arrangement of rockets on the inside, laid
head and tail together; but in case the globe should be of paper or
pasteboard, made in two equal hemispheres, and joined together by
paper, the match must be applied through a hole in the globe made
opposite the mouth of the first rocket; these rockets should have
no petards at their tops. It must here be observed that the globes
must be perforated in various parts, otherwise they will burst by the
combustion of the composition.

When used as water globes, care must be taken to seal and plug up
the lower aperture I, K, first with a tompion, or plug of wood,
and afterwards with some melted pitch; which latter may be put all
over the globe in order to preserve it from the water. Over the plug
at bottom, and previous to the application of the pitch, must be
melted such a quantity of lead, as will cause the globe to sink in
water, till nothing but the part A, will remain above its surface;
this will be the case when the weight of the globe and its contents,
with the lead attached, becomes equal to the weight of an equal
volume of water. If the globe be then placed in the water, the lead
by its superior gravity, will make the aperture I, K, tend directly
downwards, and keep in a perpendicular position the cylinder A, to
which fire must have been previously applied.

Trial should be made respecting the quantity of lead previous to its
being exhibited, which may be easily done. The figures referred to
represent a globe under various modes of arrangement.


Provide a circular board about five feet diameter; and out of the
middle cut a piece about fourteen inches diameter; then over the
opening put a piece of white Persian silk, on which paint a moon’s
face; over the whole of the large board draw a seven-pointed star,
terminating in the circumference; then on the lines forming the star
bore a number of holes at small distances from each other, wherein
fix pointed stars. In each of the spaces between the points of this
large star, cut out a five-pointed star, and cover each with oiled

When this is to be exhibited, fix it on a spindle in front of a post,
with a wheel of brilliant fire behind the face of it; so that while
the wheel burns, the moon and stars will appear transparent; and when
the wheel has ceased burning, they will disappear, and the large star
in front, formed of the pointed stars, will begin, being lighted by a
pipe of communication from the last case of the vertical wheel behind
the moon, which must be effected as taught in a foregoing article.


Among the various amusing articles of pyrotechnic produce, none are
more beautiful or afford greater remuneration of pleasure, than those
under the denomination of Suns. They are of several kinds, as fixed,
moveable, and transparent; they are all of simple construction.

Fixed suns after the following manner:--Provide a nave of wood,
and in it fix fourteen or sixteen pieces in the form of radii; and
to these radii attach jets of fire, the mouths of the jets being
towards the circumference. A match must be applied in such a manner,
that the fire communicated at the centre, may be conveyed at the same
time, to the mouths of each of the jets; by which means each throwing
its fire, the appearance will be that of a radiating sun; the wheel
must be fixed in a vertical position.

The jets may be so arranged as to cross each other in an angular
manner; in which case, instead of a sun you will have a star, or a
sort of cross resembling that of Malta. Some of these suns are made
also with several rows of jets; when they are so arranged they are
called _glories_.

The wheel, or sun, may be caused to revolve by attaching jets to
it in the direction of the circumference, with their heads and
tails together. When the wheel is heavy four of the rockets must be
fired together, and this in the following manner: supposing there
are twenty cases employed, fire must be communicated at the same
time to the first, the sixth, the eleventh, and the sixteenth; from
which it will proceed to the second, the seventh, the twelfth, the
seventeenth, and so on. These four rockets will make the wheel turn
round with rapidity.

If two similar suns, with horizontal axes, are placed one behind the
other, and made to turn in opposite directions, they will produce a
very pleasing effect of cross-fire.

Three or four suns arranged on a similar axis, might be implanted in
a vertical one, moveable in the middle of a table; which revolving
around it would seem to pursue each other. They must be fixed firm on
their axis and this axis must turn in the upright one in the middle
of the table; and at the place where they rest on the table, should
be furnished with a very moveable roller.

For a transparent sun, a prepared face of oiled paper, or Persian
silk, painted in a proper manner, must be provided, and strained
tight upon a hoop, which must be supported by pieces of strong wire,
six or seven inches from the wheel, so that the light of it may
illuminate the face. After the same manner may be represented in the
front of a sun, the words _Farewell_, _Vivat Rex_, or _Apollo_, or
any other figure may be painted on the silk.

Sometimes a small hexagonal wheel is fixed to the nave of the large
wheel, whose cases must be filled with the same charge as the other;
two of which must burn at a time, and begin with the others.

For a sun five feet in diameter, the cases should be those of eight
ounces, filled with composition about ten inches. If the wheels are
larger the cases must be proportionate to them.


Reduce some sulphur to an impalpable powder, and having with starch
formed it into a paste, cover with it the figure you intend to
represent on fire; the figure must be first coated over with clay, to
prevent it from being burnt.

When the figure has been covered with this paste, sprinkle it a
little, while still moist, with pulverised gunpowder; and when the
whole is perfectly dry, arrange some small matches on the principal
parts of it, that the fire may be speedily communicated to it on all

By the same method may be formed festoons, garlands, and other
ornaments, the flowers of which might be imitated by fire of
different colours, and arranged on any plastered architecture.


Though fire and water are of very opposite natures, yet there are
many fire-works, which will burn and produce their effect even when
immersed in their opposite element; of these rockets are the most
pleasing. They may be made from four ounces to two pounds. The cases
are made as those for sky-rockets, differing only as it regards the
thickness of them, which should be somewhat greater, and in the
manner of filling, which latter is the most particular, requiring
a variety of compositions rammed in alternate layers, for the
purpose of making them alternately dive and swim. The compositions
are chiefly of three kinds, namely, that of sulphur two ounces,
salt-petre four ounces, and mealed-powder one ounce and a-half, and
about one fourth of an ounce of antimony. The second kind called
a _sinking charge_, is composed of eight ounces of mealed-powder,
and three-fourths of an ounce of charcoal. The third, called _an
ordinary charge_, composed of mealed-powder, salt-petre, sulphur, and
charcoal, varied as in the following proportions: sometimes a small
portion of sea-coal or saw-dust is blended with them.

1. Mealed-powder six pounds, salt-petre three pounds, charcoal five

2. Mealed-powder four pounds, salt-petre four pounds, sulphur two

3. Mealed-powder four ounces, salt-petre one pound, sulphur eight
ounces and a-half, charcoal two ounces.

4. Mealed-powder one pound, salt-petre three pounds, sulphur one
pound, charcoal nine ounces.

5. Salt-petre one pound, sulphur four ounces and a-half, charcoal six

In filling, one ladle-full of slow-fire is first rammed in the case;
then one or two of sinking charge; the common and the sinking
charge are placed alternately to within about two diameters of the
top. Over the last layer is placed one ladle-full of dry clay; and a
perforation made through into the charge. The remainder of the case
upwards, to within about half a diameter, is filled with corn-powder,
and two or three folds of the paper turned over it; when the ramming
paper at the end is secured with strong thread, and afterwards dipped
in melted pitch or wax. When several rockets are thrown into the
water at the same time, care should be taken to select those which
have been filled and rammed in an uniform manner. To secure the cases
from the action of the water, it is obvious that they should be
prepared as such; this is done by varnishing them over with linseed
oil, or common varnish.

Leaders, and pipes of communication, must be prepared after the same
manner as rockets, as far as regards their cases; that is, they
must be made somewhat stronger, and when fixed to be varnished over
as before; taking care not to varnish before all your pasting is


Provide a circular float three feet diameter; in the middle fix a
round post four feet high, about two inches diameter; round this
post fix three circular wheels made of thin wood. Place the largest
within two or three inches of the bottom, which should be not much
less than the float. The second wheel must be about two feet two, and
fixed two feet from the first. The third wheel must be sixteen inches
diameter, and fixed within six inches of the top of the post. Then
take eighteen four or eight-ounce cases of brilliant fire, and place
them round the first wheel with their mouths upwards, and inclining
downwards; on the second wheel place thirteen cases in the same
manner as those on the first; on the third place eight more in the
same manner as before, and on the top of the post fix a gerbe; then
clothe the cases with leaders, so that both they and the gerbes may
take fire at the same time. Before firing this work it is best to try
it in the water to see whether the float is properly made, so as to
keep the fountain upright.

Aquatic exhibitions are almost as numerous as those of the other
kind, but we consider it entirely useless to describe more than
we have already done; as so many of them depend on the taste and
ingenuity of the practitioner.

Before closing our MANUAL we will just notice some of our public
displays of Fire-works in London, for a week scarcely passes but we
are arrested in our progress through the busy town by placards of
some three or four feet long, with huge letters of alternate black
and red, advising us of a grand display of Fire-works at Vauxhall or
some other place of amusement.

These frequent repetitions certainly stagger the pretty generally
received opinion, that the Pyrotechnic art is upon the decline in
England. Our Theatres Royal do not disdain to call Pyrotechny to
their aid, for we have lately seen a very good display at Drury Lane,
by way of climax to the Extravaganza of _Giovanni in London_. The
Fire-works at Sadler’s Wells during the last season upon the whole
were very good, although a confined Theatre is certainly not the
most advantageous place for Pyrotechnic exhibitions. This Theatre
having the advantage of real water, they have good opportunities of
forming a junction of the two opposite elements; and which on the
last evening of their performance they certainly did, with the aid
of Fountains and Water Rockets;--this display concluded with the
appropriate motto of “FAREWELL,” in brilliant fire.

The merits of the Fire-works at Vauxhall last season were very
great, and as such were duly appreciated by the Public. They were on
a larger scale than formerly, and have only been excelled by royal
magnificence at the display in the Park in 1814.



[1] _Nitric acid_ is a compound of azot, or impure air, and oxygen,
or vital air, and is sometimes made by repeatedly passing electric
shocks through a mixture of oxygenous and azotic gas.

[2] _Potash_, or the vegetable alkali, is generally obtained from
wood-ashes; but sometimes from the tartar, or from the lees of wine:
what is used in England is generally imported from the north, where
there is an abundance of wood, to allow of its being burnt for this

This Nitrate of Potash exists in a natural state, but is generally in
very small quantities. It is found at the surface of the ground in
some parts of Persia and the East Indies, and is mostly united with a
kind of yellowish marl, which they dig from the cliffs on the sides
of hills, exposed to the northern and eastern winds.

[3] _Alumine_, or _clay_; it is found of various degrees of purity,
and mixed with a variety of other earths.

[4] This is Lime combined with sulphuric acid; it is called Gypsum,
plaster of Paris, plaster-stone, or selenite. It is very abundant in
some parts of England, and the hills near Paris are chiefly composed
of it.

[5] From _pyr_, fire, and _lignum_, wood; the acid obtained from the
partial combustion of wood; this acid is used in calico printing _as
mordants_ for dark-coloured patterns.

[6] The name given by chemists to the pure part of charcoal. It is
said to be present in almost all combustible bodies, and is of itself
entirely of that nature. When charcoal is burnt, its carbon unites
with the oxygen of the air, and so much heat as to give it a gaseous
form, and constitutes carbonic acid gas, or fixed air. The same gas
is also obtained by the combustion of the diamond, proving that
this precious and costly article is carbon or charcoal, in a very
indurated state, and assuming a determinate form. It was not till
lately that the diamond was proved to be combustible; but by means
of the blow-pipe, and a stream of oxygen gas, it may be, to speak in
common language, wholly consumed. The air that is extricated during
the combustion, is carbonic acid gas, proving the diamond to have
been chiefly, if not wholly, composed of carbon.

Long before this fact respecting the diamond was ascertained, Sir
Isaac Newton, reasoning from its great refracting power, declared it
to be his opinion, that it was one of the most combustible of bodies.
Modern discoveries have now proved the fact; and it affords us an
admirable instance of the acumen of that great Philosopher.

        _Popular Chemical Essays._

[7] The force by which this wheel revolves is very remarkable, as
it unites in itself those two adverse forces which have been the
subject of so much mathematical controversy, namely, the centrifugal
and centripetal: it may appear like trifling with science to observe
these forces in this simple production, but that they do exist in
it is not less evident: for from the revolutions of the ignited
particles of the composition the former is produced, and from the
nature and well known properties of the evolute curve, _cæteris
paribus_, the latter is produced.

The Evolute and Involute Curves are possessed with many remarkable
properties, which it would be no difficult task to unfold, but as it
could be of no practical use to the Pyrotechnist, we shall leave it
to such of our Mathematical readers as are able to appreciate the
pleasure which such investigations afford. And for their assistance
we refer them to the excellent writings of Hutton, Simson, Maclaurin,
&c. And to Sect. 4, Book 2, Newton’s Principia, where they will find
the subject beautifully illustrated.

[8] He is fabled by the ancients to have formed a man of clay or
earth, and to have stolen fire from heaven, with which he animated
the man he had made.

        _Heathen Deities._

[9] Fig. 11 represents an apparatus for boring Rockets when driven
solid--should this method be attempted, it is one of the simplest
kind that can be used: A B are two movable blocks hollowed out at
their edges to receive the Rocket. C D are two screws in each, going
through two sides of the frame to make them fast. E is a brace
carrying a shell-bit in dimensions proper for the Rocket. Fig. 16 is
a similar bit fixed in a handle; which is useful in cleaning out the
bore when the Rocket is taken from the blocks.

[10] A line is the twelfth part of an inch, or 144th part of a foot.
Geometricians conceive the line notwithstanding its smallness to be
subdivided in six points. The numbers in the table might have been
given in lines and points, but it was thought the fractional numbers
would be as well understood.

[11] Euclid 12. 18. Spheres are to each other as the cubes of their
diameter, this is the principle employed in the construction of the
table; but the method is converse, being that of extracting the roots.

[12] When the Rods are of large dimensions, they should be bored at
the top, and filled with powder, which blows them to pieces previous
to their return to the earth, and prevents any mischief which might
happen by their falling otherwise.

[13] So called, from their resemblance (when in action) to the rod
borne by Mercury; which, according to fabulous history, was entwisted
by two serpents, as the sign and quality of his office, which was
given him for his seven stringed harp.--The term (or Caduce) was also
used among the Romans, and applied to a staff or wand of a similar
form, carried by those officers who went to proclaim peace with any
people with whom they had been at variance.

[14] From the French term, _Courant_, signifying running.

[15] A French term signifying _a cluster_.

[16] _Absolute_ motion is the change of absolute space or place of
bodies, as the _motion of a projectile_, the flight of a bird, or the
motion of our own apparatus.


  Obvious typographical errors and punctuation errors have been
  corrected after careful comparison with other occurrences within
  the text and consultation of external sources.

  The term ‘flower paste’ refers to flower of sulphur, not wheat flour.

  In the original text in the tables on pages 52, 79, 88, 89 and 105,
  the units of measure were italicized. This has been normalized in
  this etext for readability; for example, ozs. and lbs. are displayed
  instead of _ozs._ and _lbs._.

  Except for those changes noted below, all misspellings in the text,
  and inconsistent or archaic usage, have been retained: for example,
  length-wise, lengthwise; Courantins, Courantines; emication; choaked;
  sciolistic; indurated; inclosed; dephlogisticated.

  Pg vii: ‘Scrolls for Rockets ... 116’ inserted into Table of Contents.
  Pg 3: ‘small expence’ replaced by ‘small expense’.
  Pg 4: ‘by a pully’ replaced by ‘by a pulley’.
  Pg 4: ‘and developement of’ replaced by ‘and development of’.
  Pg 6: ‘d’Incarvill, and’ replaced by ‘d’Incarville, and’.
  Pg 8: ‘are trejected with’ replaced by ‘are trajected with’.
  Pg 13: ‘and corruscations’ replaced by ‘and coruscations’.
  Pg 40: ‘seeming parodox of’ replaced by ‘seeming paradox of’.
  Pg 43: ‘slide in a grove’ replaced by ‘slide in a groove’.
  Pg 45: ‘3. _Method ... _’ replaced by ‘2. _Method ... _’.
  Pg 47: ‘gerbs, serpents’ replaced by ‘gerbes, serpents’.
  Pg 52: ‘Sulpher’ replaced by ‘Sulphur’.
  Pg 59: ‘first temprarily’ replaced by ‘first temporarily’.
  Pg 59: ‘dimentions of which’ replaced by ‘dimensions of which’.
  Pg 70: ‘paper over the the top’ replaced by ‘paper over the top’.
  Pg 70: ‘SAUCISSONS.’ replaced by ‘7. SAUCISSONS.’.
  Pg 72: ‘a strong cylindical’ replaced by ‘a strong cylindrical’.
  Pg 77: ‘somewhat less then’ replaced by ‘somewhat less than’.
  Pg 78: ‘increase proportionably’ replaced by ‘increase proportionally’.
  Pg 81: ‘Ragetten’ replaced by ‘Raketen’.
  Pg 81: ‘Fuzee’ replaced by ‘Fusée’.
  Pg 86: ‘them from spliting’ replaced by ‘them from splitting’.
  Pg 86: ‘by the mallett’ replaced by ‘by the mallet’.
  Pg 92: ‘Table 2’ replaced by ‘Table II’.
  Pg 92: ‘Table 3’ replaced by ‘Table III’.
  Pg 117: ‘best. Accordding’ replaced by ‘best. According’.
  Pg 141: ‘being trejected’ replaced by ‘being trajected’.

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