On March 28, 1893, Thomas M. Pierce was granted the patent for FIREWORKS-TORCH, U.S. Patent No. 494,438.

For most, the Fourth of July would not be complete without fireworks. Those mesmerizing balls of fire in the sky are believed to have originated in China 2,000 years ago. Bamboo, a native plant in China, explodes with a bang when heated due to hollow air pockets. The Chinese would roast the bamboo and the noise and explosion it made was said to ward off evil spirits.

To make the noise and explosion even more intense the Chinese added charcoal, sulfur, and other ingredients to the bamboo. From there, the advancements made to fireworks never ended.

It is said Captain John Smith was the first to bring fireworks to the new world in 1608. In 1776, the day before the Declaration of Independence was adopted, John Adams detailed the importance of fireworks on the fourth.  He said the fourth “will be most memorable in the history of America.” He believed this momentous day would “be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade…bonfires and [fireworks]…from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.”

The first commemorative Independence Day fireworks were set off on July 4, 1777. Most early fireworks were repurposed military munitions, fired for entertainment rather than military purposes.

The abovementioned patent is one of the earliest patents for fireworks in the U.S. This invention was designed to produce a better flame and less smoke. This improvement was made by providing an “opening or openings at the slide near or at the lower end, or extending through the bottom of the torch and handle connected thereto.” The body of this firework looks similar to that of a modern day roman candle.

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