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Salutes and Fireworks

Since ancient times, all peoples have decorated various celebrations with fiery effects. At first, brightly burning bonfires or torches were used for this, but gradually the technique of fire effects improved, and, in the end, it made it possible to do what is now called fireworks. It is known from historical sources that the Greeks and Romans arranged illuminations with the burning of a large number of lamps for various holidays dedicated to the gods, the ancient Egyptians had a holiday called lamps, the ancient Indians also mastered the art of decorating celebrations with fire and light effects, among the ancient Slavs many rituals were connected with fire.

A new impetus to the development of fireworks and pyrotechnics was given with the invention in the seventh century of the so-called "Greek fire", which was of two types - the first resembled gunpowder in properties and was used to throw stone cannonballs, and the second, with the properties of napalm, was used to destroy the enemy with fire. The secret of "Greek fire" was kept secret for more than 400 years, and the fire itself was successfully used by the Greeks in fireworks and in military operations.

But the greatest contribution to the development of pyrotechnics and fireworks was made with the invention and widespread use of gunpowder. Thanks to the properties of gunpowder, it became possible to change the strength and speed of burning of pyrotechnic compositions. It is assumed that gunpowder existed in China and India much earlier than it was known in European countries. It is known that by the beginning of the thirteenth century gunpowder was widely used in the artillery of China, in Italy it became known about artillery in the fourteenth century. Simultaneously with the use of gunpowder in artillery, it began to be used in pyrotechnics and fireworks. In the Middle Ages, the Italians were rightfully considered the best specialists in fireworks. For entertainment during fireworks, statues and canvases were used, which, together with pyrotechnics, created unsurpassed shows that were arranged on especially solemn occasions.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the art of fireworks was enriched by two innovations - rockets with parachutes and military rockets. The former increased the burning time of colored lights in the air by slowly lowering them by parachute, while the latter made it possible to increase the weight of the fireworks stuffing lifted into the air. This greatly enhanced the spectacular effect of the fireworks. The discovery by the French chemist Berthollet of potassium chlorate, later named after him - "berthollet salt", became the basis for the creation of bright colored lights. The discovery of chloric acids, baric and strontium, made it possible to further increase the saturation and brightness of the colored flame. The creation of fireworks using bertolet salt and chloric acids revolutionized the art of pyrotechnic shows. New compositions for fireworks, giving a bright and rich colored flame, and contour candles made on their basis successfully replaced expensive and bulky wick shields, and decorations with dull colored wick fire. Today, China is the world's largest manufacturer and exporter of all types of entertainment pyrotechnics, Chinese craftsmen annually come up with and implement new effects.