Advertisement for Robinson's Fireworks 5318
Medium: Print on paper
The use of fireworks was first recorded in England in 1486 at a display in honour of King Henry VII's wedding, but it was during the 19th century that their potential was put to full effect. Improvements in technology and a deeper understanding of the chemistry of mixing metals and salts meant that bigger, more colourful, and therefore more impressive, fireworks could now be produced.
Particularly spectacular were those used by Charles Brock in his "firework fetes" at the Crystal Palace during the 1860s and 70s. The success of these extravaganzas inspired other pyrotechnists to create equally impressive displays. So popular did these become that, by the end of the century, it was not uncommon for birthdays, weddings and other public and private events to include firework displays. A large range of fireworks was also available for the public to buy, including such novelties as 'Robinson's Grasshopper' and the 'Needle Gun' listed here.