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Fireworks, combustible or explosive preparations used for entertainment, probably first devised in ancient China to frighten off devils. Their initial European use was as weaponry, and not until after about 1500 were they employed for entertainment. Compounds of carbon, potassium, and sulfur are the prime constituents in fireworks, colors being produced by metallic salts (e.g., blue, copper; yellow, sodium; red, lithium or strontium; green, barium), and sparks and crackles by powdered iron, carbon, or aluminum, or by certain lead salts.

See also: Explosive.

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