In 1634, John Bate wrote several treatises on what he described as “peculiar practice and invention” of his day; fireworks being one and diving experiments being another. His book
is rich with woodcuts illustrating imaginative styles and complex methods for displaying fireworks.
I just love the dragon! It reminds me of an activity I used in my science classes to investigate thrust and Newton’s Third Law of Motion (only we used a balloon full of air instead of a canister of fireworks!). And I am not sure what that scary guy in the funny hat is holding, but doesn’t it look like the forerunner to a sparkler?
Bate’s book demonstrates that not only were fireworks popular at public events and celebrations, but also that they were designed with a "wow" factor in mind. In Taken Aback
, Sally’s daughter, Molly, has a rather unfortunate encounter with fireworks.
I also use Bate’s information to suggest that 17th century aquatic explorers used various breathing devices and bells to extend their time underwater. In Taken Aback
, however, the non-fiction treasure hunter, William Phips, declined to use the new gadgets. Believing the new apparatuses to be unsafe, he opted for the old tried and true methods of free diving. Wise choice Sir Phips!!