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Gunpowder and Fireworks----17th and 18th Centuries
Gentleman's Magazine ^ | 18th century | several

Posted on 07/04/2004 12:59:04 PM PDT by Rockpile


Gentleman's Magazine - Gunpowder

June 1740. Volume 10. Friday, 20. - Complaint having been made to the Lords of the Admiralty that the Gunpowder used by the 3 Men of War when they took the Princessa was weaker than the Powder taken in the said Ship in Proportion of 7 to 12, it was thought proper to make a publick Tryal; in order thereto some Gunpowder was taken out of each of the above 4 Ships, put into 4 Boxes at Portsmouth which were sealed up by some Officers of the Navy and Ordnance, and sent to Town, and this Day try'd at Woolwith before the D. of Montagu Master General of Ordnance, Sir Charles Wager, Lord Vere Beauclerk, General Borgard, some Captains of Men of War, &c. in three divers Waye. 1. By raising a Weight of 20l. 7 Ounces with two Drams of Powder. 2. By firing a twelve Pounder shot Shot out of a 5 2/3 Inch Mortar with a Quarter of an ounce of Powder. 3. By Firing a half-pounder Shot out of a Swivel Gun with two Drams of Powder. In the first Experiment the English Powder raised the Weight from four Inches to six and some tenths, and the Spanish no higher than one Inch and 9 tenths: In proving by the Swivel Gun the English Powder threw the Ball 15 1/7 Foot at an Elevation of 61 Degrees, and the Spanish had not Strength enough to throw it out of the Gun; and the Tryalby the Mortar turn'd out equally in favour of the English Powder. -- [Notwithstanding the above account, many Persons who have been at Portsmouth affrim that the Shot of the Pricessa were much Sharper thrown than those of our Men of War, some of hers going through the Sides of our Ships, when ours stuck in her Half-way.]

April 1748. Volume 18. Memoirs of the Academy of Sweden ...... ... M.Stromer made experiments on the strength of gunpowder. A double charge will not carry a ball double the length, but much more is required; M.Stromer inquires into the cause of the phenomenon. ...... ...

September 1748. Volume 18. Terrible Accidents by Gunpowder SIR, Being confined to my house by lame-nets, reading is my chief amusement, and in Stow's Survey I met with a most meloncholy accident, which happend some years ago, by gunpowder, which may fill a corner in your Magazine, preferable to Directions for dressing beans and bacon, roasting beef, cleaning the spits, &c. so circmstantially given by a younger brother. Jan. 4, 1647, some people barreling up gunpowder, at a ship chandler's opposite Barking church, in Tower-street, by some accident the powder took fire, and blew up the house, and demolished 50 or 60 others, among the rest the Rose Tavern, which, at the time, was very full of company, it being the parish feast. It's uncertain how many people lost their lives by the blow; for when they came to dig in the rubbish, they found heads, arms, legs, half bodies, and some whole bodies, not so much as fingered. The mistress of the Rose Tavern was found sitting upright in the bar, and one of the drawers standing by her, leaning on the bar, with a pot in his hand, both dead. The upper timbers falling cross one another, prevented them from being buried in the ruins. But the most remarkable thing of all was a young child was found the next day, blown upon the uppermost leads of Barking church, in a cradle, alive and well, and not the least damage done to it. The parents of the child were never known, being killed, as suppos'd, by the fatal blast. A gentleman of the parish took the child home, and brought it up as his own; and Mr. Stow says he saw the same girl, when she was about the age of 18 years.

- Leaving the reader to his contemplations on the strange preservation of this helpless infant, I shall take the occasion to warn the public against the danger that may happen by preparation of fireworks, designed to be made for celebrating the approaching peace and its proclamation.

- As the same Street felt the dreadful calamity in 1715, I was induced to turn to the chronicle of that year, and find, in that useful work, the Historical Register, the following article, which I choose to annex, as the late fire in Cornhill was said to have done more damage than any in this city during the present century.

Jan. 13, 1715. Between four and five o'clock in the afternnon, the boy of one Walker, who kept a small gunpowder shop near Bear-key in Thames-street; between the Custom-house and Billings-gate, being in an upper room with a light; and making rockets and squibs, unwarily set fire to the gunpowder; upon which the house blew up. The wind being very high, the fire soon spread from that house to others towards the warehouses on the keys, did great damage there, cross'd the way to the north side of Thames-street, and burnt up Water-lane, and the back part of Harp-lane to Tower-street, taking Baker's-hall and Trinity-house in its destructive career, which, about 5 o'clock the next morning, was stopp'd in Tower-street, over against Mark-lane, above 120 houses were either burnt or blown up, and great quantities of sugar, oil, wine, and other rich goods and merchanizes, were consumed and destroy'd. The loss was computed at over 500,000l. and above 50 persons perish'd in the flames, or were bury'd in the ruins of houses.

So much damage and sorrow have been the consequence of gunpowder rejoicings, as may rationally call for a prohibition of them, for the future, by the legislature. But as this, it is presumed, cannot be done before peace is proclaimed, for which such expensive fireworks are making, 'tis hoped care will be taken, that the end of our mirth may be heaviness.

January 1749. Volume 19. ...... ... A woman, being relapsed into a certain fever, had recourse to a remedy, much in vogue among the soldiers, viz. gunpowder in brandy; it threw her into a lethargy, which was quickly followed by her death. Being opened, the cerebral vessels were found oppilated, with all the symptoms of a congestion of the blood towards the head. .

TOPICS: Miscellaneous; Technical; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: 17thcentury; 18thcentury; bang; england; fireworks; gunpowder
The baby being blown onto the church roof in her cradle unharmed is amazing.
1 posted on 07/04/2004 12:59:05 PM PDT by Rockpile
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To: Rockpile

interesting article BUMP

2 posted on 07/04/2004 1:05:49 PM PDT by Mr. K (`,,`,,this is like liberal logic,,`,,`))
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To: Rockpile

This is my favorite fireworks story:

First, consider the recent events in Massachusetts, where anti-gun U.S. Representative Joseph P. Kennedy II (“Little Joe”) injured one of his 16-year-old twin sons with fireworks during a July Fourth celebration at home.

Although the possession and use of fireworks is outlawed in Massachusetts, State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan said he would not seek charges against the congressman. COAN remarked, “We would classify this as an unfortunate accident.”

There is clearly a double standard at work here, because COAN is the same fire marshal who arrested carload after carload of Massachusetts residents returning on I-95 with fireworks bought in New Hampshire, where they are legal.

With the help of the Massachusetts State Police, the fire marshal “cuffed and stuffed” many possessors of fireworks as they crossed the state border into Massachusetts.

KENNEDY and his son MATTHEW were setting off fireworks on the beach outside the family’s Hyannisport compound when a device, described by KENNEDY aides as a “spark emitting firework” exploded prematurely.

MATTHEW was burned on his left forearm and taken to Cape Cod hospital. The young man was treated and released.

COAN said no law enforcement official witnessed the accident and the hospital did not report it to his office. Massachusetts law requires doctors and hospitals to report fireworks-related injuries to the fire marshal if they involve burns over more than 5 per cent of the body. However, MATTHEW’s injury was described as “minor.”

But is the hypocrisy involved here “minor”?

Congressman KENNEDY broke state law by possessing fireworks. He also used illegal fireworks in a reckless manner and thereby injured his son. State authorities, who had arrested numerous ordinary citizens for mere possession of illegal fireworks, winked, nodded and looked the other way.

Fireworks are explosive devices. Many fireworks contain chemical components that are also used in bombs, but fireworks lie outside the authority of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, the federal agency charged with investigating incidents involving explosive devices. Thus, there will be no federal investigation into the KENNEDY fireworks incident.

At least one insider has told us that the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office and the Governor’s office have been asked by numerous concerned citizens to investigate the KENNEDY fireworks incident. State officials are not eager to pursue it.

Keep that in mind the next time a KENNEDY — Joseph, Patrick or Edward — tells their House and Senate peers how “irresponsible” gun owners are.

3 posted on 07/04/2004 1:17:17 PM PDT by Redcoat LI (You Can Trust Me , I'm Not Like The Others.....)
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To: Rockpile
Mark Twain once made this remark about fireworks: "Fools are always blowing themselves up on the 4th of July. We now need two 4ths of July, the country having grown so."

Congressman Billybob

"Something Stupid This Way Comes" (about Michael Moore)

4 posted on 07/04/2004 1:24:45 PM PDT by Congressman Billybob ( Visit. Join. Help. Please.)
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To: Redcoat LI
Laws are for the little people.

I suppose that fireworks may need to be banned in states where the citizens are too stupid to use them correctly. Like Massachusetts.

{Or anyway where their legislators sneeringly look down on them as too stupid}.

5 posted on 07/04/2004 1:39:12 PM PDT by Rockpile
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To: Rockpile

Watch out for those oppilated cerebal vessels.

6 posted on 07/04/2004 4:02:05 PM PDT by curmudgeonII (Time wounds all heels.)
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To: curmudgeonII
That word isn't in my dictionaries. I presume it means obstructed.I think it's interesting that they must have been doing autopsies even back then.

Wondered about "lame-nets"------did he have a broken leg?

7 posted on 07/04/2004 7:19:42 PM PDT by Rockpile
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To: Congressman Billybob

That is an excellent article BTW.

8 posted on 07/04/2004 7:36:50 PM PDT by Rockpile
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To: Rockpile
Or anyway where their legislators sneeringly look down on them as too stupid

I've been buying and exploiding fireworks in Massachusetts all my life.

One Kennedy lighting his kid up like a tiki torch spoils the fun for all of us.

Massachusetts is a dangerous place when Congress is not session,and it looks like their be a heard of Kennedy's in town for the convention,

9 posted on 07/04/2004 10:02:03 PM PDT by Redcoat LI (You Can Trust Me , I'm Not Like The Others.....)
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To: Rockpile
That word isn't in my dictionaries. I presume it means obstructed.

I was [finally] able to find that word in an old, 1913, Webster's International Dictionary. Oppilated means very crowded, or completely dammed up, and was considered an obsolete word at that time, nearly a century ago.
[I can't wait to use it in a sentence.]

10 posted on 07/05/2004 8:38:52 AM PDT by curmudgeonII
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To: Redcoat LI; curmudgeonII
Packs of demo-beasts, led by the hairygutted kennedysaurus, rampaging through the streets of Boston will be a scary sight.

I understand that traffic will be completely oppilated.

11 posted on 07/05/2004 4:14:17 PM PDT by Rockpile
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To: Rockpile

Let's hope Uncle Teddy get's to drive,a lot.

Boston is surrounded by water.

12 posted on 07/05/2004 5:01:23 PM PDT by Redcoat LI (You Can Trust Me , I'm Not Like The Others.....)
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To: Rockpile

Let's hope Uncle Teddy get's to drive,a lot.

Boston is surrounded by water.

13 posted on 07/05/2004 5:01:23 PM PDT by Redcoat LI (You Can Trust Me , I'm Not Like The Others.....)
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To: Rockpile


14 posted on 07/05/2004 8:39:36 PM PDT by Fiddlstix (This Tagline for sale. (Presented by TagLines R US))
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