Firecrackers have always been popular, but you’ll be surprised to find out for how long. Apparently, a Chinese monk named Li Tian created them about 1,000 years ago and the discovery was so important to the Chinese that they celebrate the invention of firecrackers every April 18th. It was believed that the loud pop of these fireworks are thought to scare off evil spirits. Today most people just love them for the big band and quick flash of light they make once the fuse is lighted.

These small explosives also go by the nicknames crackers, noise makers, bungers or bangers. Crafted by wrapping a pyrotechnic compound in a heavy paper casing and inserting a fuse, firecrackers are straightforward and simple. Before 1920, firecrackers got their “pop” from gun powder, also called black powder. This compound of gunpowder contained sulfur, charcoal and potassium nitrate to give the explosives a basic flash and blast. However, firecracker manufacturers finally gave way to the more modern flash powder which uses potassium perchlorate, aluminum powder and sometimes sulfur to create a louder pop and brighter light. Some brands of firecrackers are advertising that their products are super-charged with titanium for an even whiter flash and bigger bang.

Firecrackers can be bought in a variety of packages sizes. Often the fuses are braided together and the resulting strings are sold in packs or bricks ranging from small sizes of 4 to 6 firecrackers (often called “penny packs”) to larger packs or “bricks” containing up to a 120 or so firecrackers. Belts and celebration rolls are also available for those folks who really want to bang it up. In quantities of 1,000, 2,000, 4,000 and even rolls of 16,000 or more, you’ll be poppity-pop-pop-popping all night long if you light them one at a time.  

Considered a low-level firework by many pyrotechnics enthusiasts, these little bangers have long been popular with school age boys and teens. Back then it wasn’t hard for a kid to round up some firecrackers and have a literal blast. Today, the laws about selling, buying and using firecrackers and other fireworks varies widely depending on the country, state, county or other jurisdiction a person lives in. Please follow the manufacturer’s instructions and the laws of your locality to ensure personal and public safety is maintained.

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