Firecrackers, sparklers, rockets and Catherine wheels, this time of year is always awash with fireworks displays and pyrotechnics going off around every corner. So as we leave Halloween behind, and Guy Fawkes Night draws nearer, here are 8 surprising facts about fireworks that will blow your mind.
They were invented in China
First documented as being used in 7th century China, fireworks were invented more than 2000 years ago, and are still big business in Asia. In fact, it comes as no surprise that around 90% of all fireworks in the world originate from China.
Sparklers are extremely hot
Although they are often handed out to children at parties and events, sparklers can be extremely dangerous and should be used with care. Sparklers actually burn at a temperature over 15 times the boiling point of water, and if you combine three together, they generate the same heat as a blowtorch.
It’s all about chemistry
To make a firework you need three specific components: fuel, an oxidizer and a chemical mixture (to produce the colour). The firework effect is created when the oxidizer breaks the chemical bonds in the fuel, and releases the energy that is being stored in those bonds.
Different ingredients produce different colours
You might remember this from your school days, but the vivid colours produced by fireworks are a product of burning different elements. Lithium burns red, copper burns blue, titanium and magnesium burn white, calcium burns orange, sodium burns yellow and barium burns green, whilst combining chlorine with copper produces turquoise flames. Blue is the most difficult colour of firework to produce.
Disney is the largest consumer of fireworks in the world
Hosting countless fireworks displays night after night at their multiple parks and resorts, the Walt Disney Company is the largest consumer of fireworks in the world. Although no official figures have been released, it has been estimated that Disney’s firework budget is over 50 million dollars per year.
The largest fireworks display ever was held in the Philippines
Setting off a record-breaking 810,904 fireworks, the largest fireworks display in the world was held in Manila in the Philippines by Iglesia Ni Cristo at their New Year celebrations on 1, January 2016. The display began at midnight and lasted for 1 hour, 1 minute and 32.35 seconds.
Dreaming about fireworks explains it all
If you dream about fireworks, then it is said that you like to show off and be the centre of attention. It can also symbolise joy, success, enthusiasm and the release of repressed feelings.
‘Fire Master of England’ is a real title
Queen Elizabeth I loved fireworks so much that she created the honorary title of ‘Fire Master of England’ to be bestowed upon the person who organised the best fireworks displays. This enticed people to make the best and most creative use of fireworks that they could.
So now you know a little bit more about the world of pyrotechnics, get the sparklers out, make sure the dog is inside and get ready to wow your friends at the next fireworks display!