Ah, the early 1900s. It was a simpler time, when men were men, women baked apple pies, and magazines gave everyone information on how to accidentally blow themselves up.
Floyd W. Darrow: Creator of hand burns across the USA. (via Popular Science)
Since the late 1800s, the magazine Popular Science has empowered ordinary Americans to master the powers of craft and science. Hopefully without mortally wounding themselves in the process. Now, I'm all for letting people get dirty and do things that aren't safe (just imagine that I've inserted a rant about how we're overprotective with our children here), but homemade explosives seem... ill-advised. And Popular Science knows it. In their the September issue of the previous year, they published this:
But even though fireworks caused $375k in needless fires (that's almost six million in today's dollars), they thought it was a super-cool idea to give every home chemist the ability to make flashy explosives. What follows are selections from the article.
1. Oh, we're making fireworks at home because commercial fireworks have mostly been banned? That's a GREAT idea.
Also, this produces a mixture with "very considerable shattering force"? Great! That's exactly what I want to be making in my home.
2. Here's a recipe for old-fashioned gunpowder, but don't worry: it's on asbestos for safety.
Old-fashioned gunpowder is much better than that new stuff.
3. "You cannot blow out this flame, once it is started." Yay, safety!
...and of course, the best place to light fireworks is in a dark, enclosed room.
If you're interested in not only making your own fireworks but using instructions that are almost 100 years old because you like giving a big ol' middle finger to safety and technological advances, you can read the entire article on Google Books.