Photo Research Firework Extravaganza!

Assistant Photo Editor Michael Ferut shares thoughts and images of fireworks in today’s post:

As the July 4th holiday approaches, people around the U.S. have been travelling to the nearest interstate line to visit their favorite mom-and-pop fireworks mega-warehouses. It seems like only yesterday that my father drove me to the Ohio-Indiana border to visit Old Timer’s Fireworks Superstore. I remember when my father sat me down at the counter and gave me a nickel to buy a phosphate pop, a little explosive that flares for a moment and fills the air with that wondrous, garlic smell of phosphorus. I liked it so much that the clerk gave me a second one for free!

If you are not traveling to a fireworks superstore this week to take advantage of the buy-one-get-one deals, here are some historical images of fireworks from other bygone eras to get you prepared for this week’s pyrotechnic overload

As you may know, gunpowder was invented in China. Sometime in the 7th century, the Chinese started using gunpowder to make fireworks. This image is from the 17th Century Ming Dynasty:

Some fireworks in Japan. These are two ukiyo-e woodblock prints by Hiroshige:

Europeans started to like fireworks, too. An 18th Century Dutch mezzotint print:

An English Etching from 1749:

17 years later, people in the USA decided the fireworks in London were too far away and hard to see so they wanted to launch their own. Here are some firework images from the USA.

Winslow Homer:

Have a happy (and safe) time with fireworks this Fourth of July!

To learn more about fireworks and their uses around the world, check out some of these Lerner publications: