The Invention of Guns - Research Article from Science and Its Times

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The Invention of Guns

Overview

The invention of guns followed the development of the explosive black powder in China. The first guns were simple tubes from which to shoot explosive charges, but gradually they were made easier to load, aim, and fire. Guns revolutionized warfare and effectively ended the age of the armored knight and the castle stronghold. They have had a profound effect on human history.

Background

Gunpowder is an explosive mixture of 15% charcoal, 10% sulfur, and 75% potassium nitrate, or saltpeter. It was already being used in ninth-century China for making fireworks. Chinese books from as early as 1044 include recipes describing the necessary proportions of the three ingredients. The first primitive guns were probably bamboo tubes, fragile and ineffective firearms used in futile attempts to stop the Mongol invaders.

Europeans obtained gunpowder in the thirteenth century. A formula for making it was discovered in writings dating...

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This section contains 1,189 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy The Invention of Guns Encyclopedia Article
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Science and Its Times
The Invention of Guns from Science and Its Times. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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