Fact File: Who invented Gunpowder? Invention: Gunpowder *** Date of Invention: c. 1044 AD *** Name of Inventor: Unknown *** Historical Period: Medieval Era *** Category: Weapons *** Country of Origin: Ancient China *** The Invention of
Fact 1: When was Gunpowder invented? The name of the inventor of
Gunpowder is unknown but it is believed to have been invented c. 1044 AD during the
early Middle Ages.
Fact 2: Who invented Gunpowder? Prior to the invention of Gunpowder in
China, a Byzantine engineer called Callinicus invented the deadly weapon
known as 'Greek Fire' in the 7th century. The formula for producing Greek Fire
was a closely guarded secret but consisted of Saltpeter, Sulphur, Quicklime,
Bitumen, Resin and Pitch. This terrifying fiery substance was used was first
used against the Arabs at the siege of Constantinople of 673. The substance that
produced 'Greek Fire' wrought horrifying death and destruction. It stuck like
glue and was nearly impossible to extinguish except with sand or salt. Throwing
water on Greek Fire only fanned the flames.
Fact 2: Who invented
Gunpowder? Greek Fire was unknown to the Chinese but before the invention of Gunpowder in
China c. 1044 AD, firecrackers had been invented by accident which led to the
invention of Fireworks by Li Tian in c. 650 AD.
Fact 3: Who invented
Gunpowder? Firecrackers Firecrackers were invented in China when green bamboo
shoots, being used for fuel, were thrown on to a fire. The bamboo suddenly made a loud, startling, popping
noise and 'firecrackers' were invented. The Chinese word for 'firecracker' is 'baozhu'
meaning "exploding bamboo".
Fact 4: Who invented Gunpowder? Fireworks:
A Chinese monk named Li Tian invented fireworks c. 650 AD by placing a mixture
of honey, sulfur and saltpetre (potassium nitrate) into a bamboo reed. The mixture of molten sulfur and honey
acted as fuels were oxidised by the oxygen released from the potassium nitrate
causing what is now known as an ‘exothermic chemical reaction’ that releases
energy by light or heat. The fireworks were a great success and used in
religious ceremonies and Chinese celebrations.
Fact 5: Who invented
Gunpowder? The Chinese invention of Gunpowder occurred when a third
ingredient was added to the firework concoction. The third ingredient was
charcoal, which created the famous black powder, of what would become known as
gunpowder. The formula for gunpowder, of charcoal (carbon), sulfur
and saltpetre (potassium nitrate), was kept a closely guarded secret for many
6: Who invented Gunpowder? The Chinese name for Gunpowder was 'huo yao'
derived from the words 'huo' meaning "fire" and 'yao' meaning "medicine". The
secret recipe for huo yao changed over the years and other substances such as
arsenic were added.
Fact 7: Who invented Gunpowder? The Chinese alchemists began to use the
black powder as a flammable substance in Chinese warfare and weaponry. Bamboo
firecrackers and fireworks had already been used attached to regular arrows as
fire arrows but the invention of the black powder revolutionized ancient weapons
into powerful explosives in the form of crude rockets and grenades.
Fact 8: Who invented Gunpowder? Toxic smoke incendiaries containing
arsenic and lead, mixed with the black powder were also launched from catapults.
Fact 9: Who invented Gunpowder? Marco
Polo (1254 - 1324) brought the idea of fireworks and gunpowder to the Western
world, following his famous travels in China. European alchemists then
began to create their own formulas for the deadly explosive.
Fact 10: Who invented Gunpowder? The famous Franciscan friar and
alchemist Roger Bacon (c. 1219 – c. 1292) described the explosion of Black
Powder in 'Opus Majus' in 1267 and was the first European to record its formula.
However, guns were not invented until after Bacon’s death so he never used the
Fact 11: Who invented Gunpowder? The invention of the 'gunne' was made in
the mid 14th century and described as "an engine of war that throws rocks,
arrows or other missiles from a tube by the force of explosive powder".
Gunpowder was commonly used as a missile launched from trebuchets and cannon
were also known in Europe by that time and were used in the defence of Medieval
Fact 12: Who invented Gunpowder? The first recorded use of a firearm, or
gun, was in 1364. The word 'Gun' derives from the Old Norse word 'gunnr' meaning
"battle." The earliest guns were fired by holding a burning wick to a "touch
hole" in the barrel igniting the black powder inside. By the early 15th century
the black powder was referred to as Gunpowder.
Fact 13: Who invented Gunpowder? The invention of Gunpowder led to the
evolution of the gun, first used as hand guns. Matcklocks were developed
in 1400 improving the reloading mechanism. Rifles first appeared c1500 and the
Wheellock was quickly invented that improved the firing mechanism. Flintlocks were
invented in 1630. Automatic guns were developed and the Gatling gun was invented
in 1862 and automatic rifles followed.
Fact 15: Who invented Gunpowder? Gunpowder was used for blasting, for building
and construction, in mining industries, as a military explosive and in weapons.
Fact 14: Who invented Gunpowder? Gunpowder was the only explosive in
common use until the middle of the 19th century when it was superseded by
nitroglycerine-based explosives. This new type of explosive was pioneered by
Alfred Nobel (1833 - 1896) who invented Dynamite in
1867. The explosive properties of TNT (Trinitrotoluene) were discovered by
German chemist, Carl Haussermann in 1891. The use of Gunpowder in gun cartridges
was replaced by smokeless powder.
Fact 16: Who invented Gunpowder? Gunpowder is still used today to add
explosions or smoke to fireworks and to produce special effects in movies, TV
and stage productions.
Fast Info and Fact
File: Who invented Gunpowder? Country of Origin: Ancient China *** Name of Inventor: Unknown *** Nationality of Inventor: Chinese *** Date of Invention: c. 1044 AD *** Invention Era: Medieval Era ***