Fireworks were first invented in China approximately 2000 years ago. Legend has it that a field cook accidently spilled saltpeter and mixed it with charcoal and sulphur. The result was a mixture that burned and exploded when it was compressed in a bamboo tube. Experimentations with this mixture eventually led to the discovery of gunpowder. Other experimentations led to the discovery that if the mixture was placed in a container with an open end, the burning powder would create a brilliant eruption of flame, sparks, and dense smoke out of the end of the container.
During the Renaissance in Europe the Italians began to develop fireworks into a true art form with appeasing aesthetic characteristics. Firework displays grew popular in England and throughout Europe. Nobles and Kings enjoyed putting on shows to flaunt their wealth and power. Fireworks were brought over by American settlers in the 1600s and continued to be used for celebrations. The very first Fourth of July fireworks show was in 1777, just one year after the signing of Declaration of Independence.
While most associate fireworks with the Fourth of July, firework shows are also displayed at numerous other special events such as at sporting matches, neighborhood carnivals and theme parks. Watching a fireworks display as a child creates life long memories and are exciting experiences that carry well into adult hood. Throughout the world they are the focal point of many cultural and religious celebrations.
The beauty of the lights that creates the fascinations obscures the fact that they are explosives. In fact, the fireworks are sometimes touted as the most dangerous explosive in the Untied States based on the number if injuries they cause. Improper or negligent use of fireworks may cause burns and injuries to the user and adjacent spectators. If they are improperly set off near buildings, they may also cause a fire. This is why the use of fireworks is heavily restricted and regulated.