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Islamic world[edit]

I have checked a number of your sources, and they do not support your claims.

Berthelot & Duval
The earliest Arabic manuscripts with gunpowder recipes are two undated manuscripts, but one of them (the al-Karshuni manuscript) was dated by Berthelot and Duval to be from the ninth to the eleventh century — Berthelot, and Duval,.p XII,.
The Karshuni MS was published in Syriac script, with a translation into French by Duval. The Karshuni Arabic text was converted into Arabic script in Aleppo by the Rev. Father Barsum on the request of the author of this paper. The Arabic text in Arabic script is still in MS form.
I checked this citation, and there is no mention of poudre à canon ("gunpowder") or poudre noire ("black powder"). (For the sake of thoroughness, I also tried "poudre à gonne".)
Renaud & Favé
Potassium Nitrate was known to Arab chemists, and was described many times. The earliest description is by Khalid ibn Yazid (635-704) — Renaud et Favé: “Du Feu Grégeois, des Feux de guerre et de la Poudre chez les Arabes, les Persans et les Chinois”
in: “Journal Asiatique”- 1849, XIV, pp.257-327
I checked Renaud & Favé, and could not find support for this claim.
George Sarton
Muslims went beyond the use of the impractical ore material, and began purifying it. Science historian, George Sarton, states that Muslims were the first to purify saltpeter. He also shows that black slave labor was used in purifying saltpeter in Basra, Iraq and that those slaves rebelled in (869). — George Sarton, Introduction to the History of Science volume 2. p.569.
What follows is the entire text of p. 569 of volume 2 of Introduction to the History of Science by George Sarton:
XIII. Jahrh. (Diss., Berlin 1907). Martin Grabmann: Forschungen uber die lateinischen Aristoteles-Ubersetzungen des XIII. Jahrh. (Beitr. zur Gesch. der Philos. des Mittelalters, 17, 5, 297 p., Munster 1916; important; completing Jourdain). Lynn Thorndike: The Latin pseudo-Aristotle and medieval occult science (Journal of English and Germanic philology, 21, 229-258, 122; Isis, 5, 214). Martin Grabmann: Mittelalterliche lateinische Aristotelesubersetzungen und Aristoteleskommentare in Handschriften spanischer Bibliotheken (Sitzungsber. der bayer. Akad., 120 p., Munchen 1928; Isis, 13, 205). Alexandre Birkenmajer: Le role joue par les medecins et les naturalistes dans la reception d'Aristote aux XIIe et XIIIe siecles (La Pologne au VIe Congres international des sciences historiques, Oslo 1928; 15 p., Warsaw 1930; Isis, 15, 272).
F. Picavet: La science experimentale au XIIIe siecle (Le Moyen Age, 241-248, 1894; a propos of Berthelot's work). Ludwig Keller: Die Anfange der Renaissance und die Kulturgesellschaften des Humanismus im 13. und 14. Jahrhundert (Comenius Gesellschaft, vol. 11, 2, 30 p., Berlin 1903). George von Hertling: Wissenschaftliche Richtungen und philosophische Probleme des 13. Jahrhunderts (Festrede, Akad. der Wissensch., 37 p., Munchen 1910). — George Sarton, Introduction to the History of Science, volume 2, p. 569
As anyone can see, there is no mention of Muslims, saltpeter or its purification, or a revolt of black slaves in Basra in 869.
Sigrid Hunke
Gunpowder was possibly invented by Muslims — "Gunpowder." Encyclopædia Britannica, 2008. check
Sigrid Hunke, Allahs Sonne über dem Abendland 1967. Stutgart, pp. 36-37.
Let us ignore for the moment that your hyperlink leads, not to the "Gunpowder" entry in the Encyclopædia Britannica as you purport, but to the "black powder" subsection of its "explosive" article, which devotes more words to the Berthold Schwarz and Roger Bacon hypotheses than to the Arabs.
As for your other source, pp. 36–37 of Allahs Sonne über dem Abendland by Sigrid Hunke opens with the words "schosse durch die Sprengkraft des Pulvers zu treiben, ebenfalls in China zuerst gedacht worden ist".
JFD (talk) 21:27, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Berthelot & Duval

the first part of what you quoted "The earliest Arabic manuscripts with gunpowder recipes are two undated manuscripts" is not cited, the Berthelot & Duval's source was for what was after the comma ie. "but one of them (the al-Karshuni manuscript) was dated by Berthelot and Duval to be from the ninth to the eleventh century" and this was also cited by Ahmed Y al-Hasan check

Your citation ("Berthelot, and Duval,.p XII") doesn't mention this al-Karshuni manuscript either.
Have you actually read Berthelot & Duval, MARVEL? If not, then why are you citing it?
Renaud & Favé

the source contains what i cited and the very same information was also cited by Ahmed Y al-Hasan check i think you should search well my refrences, and anyway the time phase between Khaled and Jaber is fringe.

No, MARVEL, Ahmad Y al-Hassan does not cite Renaud & Favé in support of the claim that Khalid ibn Yazid knew of potassium nitrate in the 7th century (check).
As with Berthelot & Duval, it is clear that you are citing Renaud & Favé when you have not actually read Renaud & Favé.
George Sarton

that page is clearly a refrences page and its was written in Deutsch, so can i ask you to look in the same page in the English edition!

That is the English edition, which is why Sarton's personal notes are in English ("important; completing Jourdain", "a propos of Berthelot's work").
If you had bothered to read just a little more closely, you would realize that Sarton gives the titles of German sources in German, French sources in French (Le role joue par les medecins et les naturalistes dans la reception d'Aristote aux XIIe et XIIIe siecles, La science experimentale au XIIIe siecle) and English sources in English (The Latin pseudo-Aristotle and medieval occult science).
And it's a references page because that is the citation you gave ("George Sarton, Introduction to the History of Science volume 2. p.569").
Sigrid Hunke and Britannica

britannica clearly states that their evidence that the invention could have been done by the Arabs and Encyclopedia Britannica is an academic and acceptable source and it can not be dismissed, when it comes to Hunke i will read the full sentense and give you the exact portion when i have access to the book--MARVEL (talk) 20:57, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Unfortunately, the Encyclopedia Britannica is not accurate in respect of some of the claims that you have used for gunpowder. Any statements that Roger Bacon for instance, discovered/invented gunpowder are not credible.Pyrotec (talk) 21:11, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
The Britannica article you cite is not its "Gunpowder" entry, as you like to pretend, but its "explosive" article (no pun intended).
It was written by Norman Gardner Johnson who, as Meatwaggon points out above, was Industry Manager of DuPont's Explosives Department in the 1960s and holds patents which date to 1942 and 1943 (and possibly 1937).
Britannica also clearly states:
Chinese alchemists discovered the recipe for what became known as black powder in the 9th century AD....The Chinese used the substance in rockets, in pyrotechnic projectors much like Roman candles, in crude cannon, and, according to some sources, in bombs thrown by mechanical artillery. This transpired long before gunpowder was known in the West, but development in China stagnated. The development of black powder as a tactically significant weapon was left to the Europeans, who probably acquired it from the Mongols in the 13th century (though diffusion through the Arab Muslim world is also a possibility).
This was written by John F. Guilmartin, Jr., who is currently a professor of military history (check). JFD (talk) 05:27, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
I also think that in your enthusiasm you are making some assertions that may not be entirely correct. I am willing to accept that the Arabs had a very good knowledge of what we now call chemistry; and that this knowledge came to the west from the Middle Ages, onwards. I also accept that they had access to the necessary ingredients. However, I do not think that you can make a direct claim that saltpetre (as known by the Arabs at that time) is the same as potassium nitrate, as it is known today. There is a lot of discussion as to whether the "saltpetre" used in the earliest gunpowders was a mixture of sodium and potassium nitrates or even calcium nitrate (lime saltpetre). To try and claim that the saltpetre used in the Middle Ages is directly the same as pure potassium nitrate is not possible. Various words, such as natrium are used - it is not necessary to "prove" that it is pure potassium nitrate and I don't think that it is possible to be so.
The problem, at the moment, is that the gunpowder article does not correctly state the contribution that the Arabs made to its development; and the additions that you are trying to force upon us do not appear to be credible when the sources are examined by other editors, such as JFD. I happen to like the paper by Ahmed Y al-Hasan [[1]]. It basically states that the Arabs formed a vital link in the chain of knowledge/discovery/transfer from its appearance in China to its appearance in Europe. You are trying to make what appears to be an entirety different claim - independent discovery by the Arabs.Pyrotec (talk) 21:50, 12 August 2008 (UTC)


What follows is a side-by-side comparison of Wikipedia material and the relevant passage from the cited source:

Wikipedia al-Hassan
Hasan al-Rammah's Al-furusiyyah wa al-manasib al-harbiyya (The Book of Military Horsemanship and Ingenious War Devices), written in the 1270s, includes the first gunpowder recipes to approach the ideal composition for explosive gunpowder used in modern times (75% saltpetre (KNO3), 10% sulfur, 15% carbon), such as the tayyar "rocket" (75 parts saltpetre, 8 sulfur, and 15 carbon, by weight) and the tayyar buruq "lightning rocket" (74 parts saltpetre, 10 sulfur, 15 carbon). It is reported by Hall that most authorities regard 75 percent potassium nitrate, 10 percent sulphur, and 15 percent carbon to be the best recipe. Al-Rammah’s median composition for 17 rockets is 75 nitrates, 9.06 sulphur and 15.94 carbon which is almost identical with the reported best recipe.
Explosive hand cannons were first used by the Mamluks to repel the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260. We have seen above that portable cannon were used by the Mamluks in 1260 in the battle of `Ayn Jalut.

Wikipedia identifies these as "firsts" yet the cited source does not.
JFD (talk) 05:19, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

In fact Wikipedia identifies those as "first to approach the ideal composition"; not as "firsts." Which is true. -- fayssal / Wiki me up® 08:31, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure what point you are trying to make. Ideal composition from a chemical perspective does not necessarily mean best composition from a weapon view point, e.g. in 1380 equal parts of all three were used, by 1410 the proportions were 3: saltpetre, 2: charcoal, 2: sulfur; and in 1546, 23 compositions were used. 4:1:1 for cannon powder and 48:8:7 and 18:8:2 for muskets. Quoted in 1857, the UK typically used a 75:10:12 mixture, but France and Belgium used 75:12.5:12.5; Russia 73.78:13.59:12.64; Spain 76.47:10.78:12.75; USA 76:14:10. The idea composition was determined in the 1880s, so you know the answer, knowing the answer you are merely quoting near matches.Pyrotec (talk) 12:19, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
I am confused Pyrotec. Are you addressing my comment or JFD's one? -- fayssal / Wiki me up® 12:23, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
My comments mostly apply to JFD, but I'm not sure was point Wiki me up® is trying to make in the "which is true question". The accepted transmission of the knowledge of gunpowder was: China, India and/or Arabs, though the Crusaders to Europe. Both of the quoted links are in general agreement on this point. Gunpowder can still be gunpowder without having to be a 75:10:15 mixture; in fact since the development of smokeless powder a sulfur-less gunpowder Gunpowder#Sulfur-free gunpowder has been (is) used as a priming composition. I'm not trying to argue than a mixture of 29.5 charcoal and 70.5 saltpetre developed in the middle ages is gunpowder, but in the last 100 years it could be sulphur-free gunpowder. Knowing that the ideal answer is 75:10:12 does not provide a go-on go test on what was gunpowder and what was not gunpowder over the last 500 to 1000 years.Pyrotec (talk) 12:50, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
"Which is true"... What I could read via the links I provided is that there's an accepted transmission of the knowledge (chinese, mongols, indians/persians, arabs, europe). Also, Robert Elgood in Firearms of the Islamic World states that al-Rammah was the first to have a clear description. The other reference states that "pure salpetre was produced as a result of careful separation and purification of salts, a process which was first described by al-Rammah." I was discussing the "first" and not the "ideal". I'd support removing the "ideal" and replace it by something like "modern." -- fayssal / Wiki me up® 13:30, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

The point I wanted to raise is whether it is appropriate for Wikipedia to identify certain things as "firsts" when the source cited for such claims does not. JFD (talk) 14:24, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

I've ordered a copy of al Hassan's book, it looked interested and I found a cheap copy a week ago in the USA, but it takes up to three weeks to get here by surface mail. I think that the Islamic (Arab) contribution does need to be expanded, but so far most edits (edit wars) have been devoted to proving that they invented it independently of China and/or before China; and no mention of the "chemistry" of the raw materials, etc, has been provided. I also agree that claiming "first" without cited evidence is not on; however, there is another related problem, e.g. different (reputably) sources providing conflicting views. The UK, unlike some countries, does not have a natural source of saltpetre, but it 1536 we appear to have bought the know how of how to make it synthetically. Most of our saltpetre came from the British East India Company and our sulfur came from countries with volcanic sources; which is why Buchanan calls it an "International Technology".Pyrotec (talk) 16:09, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
I now have a copy of: al-Hassan, Ahmad Y. and Hill, Donald R. (1986) Islamic Technology: An illustrated history. Paris: UNESCO & Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Although al-Hassan has written a newer book in 2002, which is referenced above. The 1986 version supports the accepted tradition: gunpowder was developed "in China and moved slowly to Muslim lands and thence to Europe" (page 106). I will read it in more detail - it is a good read. Pyrotec (talk) 16:49, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
This source contradicts the article; Partington, James Riddick; Hall, Bert S. (1999). A History of Greek Fire and Gunpowder. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-5954-9. The website of al Hassan is not a reliable third party source. See page 190 at google books J8079s (talk) 00:17, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

Brown brown[edit]

I have removed the following text from the article:

"[[Brown brown]] is a form of powdered cocaine, cut with gunpowder. Commonly given to child soldiers in West African armed conflicts, the gunpowder causes irritation of the bowels, which increases aggression.<ref name=" February 19"> {{cite news | url= | title=The Making, and Unmaking, of a Child Soldier | publisher=International Herald Tribune | accessdate=2007-02-19 }}</ref>"

The reason being, that unless child soldiers in Africa are shooting at each other with muskets, the "gunpowder" going into brown brown would be smokeless powder, such as the SSNF 50 contained in 7.62x39mm AK-47 rounds, and not gunpowder as described in this article.

The reference to brown brown probably belongs somewhere, but I'm not sure where, so have preserved it here. -Kieran (talk) 03:21, 27 October 2008 (UTC)


There's a problem with the way this article and the smokeless powder article are structured. In popular usage, gunpowder is used to refer to black powder and smokeless powder without distinguishing between the two, or without even knowing that there is a distinction. Right now, the lede of this article starts providing details about black powder without mentioning the difference until the body of the article. A reader who doesn't know the difference might read the lede and think he's learned something about what makes modern guns work, but be misinformed. Perhaps it's the reader's fault for not knowing what he "should know" but an encyclopedia is for the purpose of informing people who don't already know everything, so we shouldn't punish non experts who start on this page without knowing the distinction. The history of the article and the talk page give ample evidence of this problem, including the brown brown section above.

There are several ways I can think of doing this:

1) Adding a disambiguation page, and having a little italic comment at the top saying "this article is about the traditional type of gunpowder, often known as black powder. For other uses, including the modern alternative used in virtually all modern firearms, see gunpowder (disambiguation)"

2) Skip the disambig page, and re-write the lede to include description of the difference between the two, and send people right to smokeless powder rather than through a disambig page.

3) Move the content of this page to a new page titled either "gunpowder (black powder) or "black powder", and create a new article titled gunpowder that would explain the different uses of the word and the different types, and maybe have a history of the different types, and of course refer the reader to the two main articles.

I like 3 best, 2 second best, and 1 least (but it's still better than how it is now). Because 3) seems like it would certainly ruffle some feathers, I certainly don't want to do that without hearing what other people think. What do you think? Ccrrccrr (talk) 22:03, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

There were for a long time separate articles on gunpowder and black powder and I suggested that they be merged; but, as they were worked on by different groups of editors, neither wanted them merged. Merger happened. The last thing we need now is re-creation of separate articles. I'm not convinced that the "gunpowder" in brown brown is Gunpowder - which is black. I suspect that brown brown contains smokeless powder. I'm not even convinced that it should appear as part of gunpowder, or even smokeless powder; it does not add to the value of gunpowder (or smokeless powder) - it merely adds credibility to the brown brown article. There was a "proper" substance called "brown prismatic powder" - the relevant article is Brown powder - and that needs to go in, not brown brown.Pyrotec (talk) 18:00, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the history lesson. It sounds like the problem that I am pointing out may have developed in the process of the merge. And it sounds like my option 3) (back to separate pages) would be a bad idea for the reasons you mention. Any objection to my options 1) or 2)?
I cited the brown brown example not because I think it belongs in this article (or smokeless powder), but because it's a recent example of the confusion many people have about what gunpowder means, and I think the current lede does not help that situation.
Ccrrccrr (talk) 22:44, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
Interestingly, the article Blackpowder is a link to Gunpowder#Black powder which goes directly to Gunpowder, but see also | first 500 links - there is Gun powder and Black powder, to mention only two articles that link back here. I'd prefer option 1) or 2). WP:Lead states that the lead is an introduction and a summary of what's in the article. So going for the option 2) route, we already have

The term "black powder" was coined in the late 19th century to distinguish prior gunpowder formulations from the new smokeless powders and semi-smokeless powders. (Semi-smokeless powders featured bulk volume properties that approximated black powder in terms of chamber pressure when used in firearms, but had significantly reduced amounts of smoke and combustion products; they ranged in color from brownish tan to yellow to white. Most of the bulk semi-smokeless powders ceased to be manufactured in the 1920's.

So a summary of that could be put into the the lead. Alternatively, the use of Option 1), e.g. having some words in italic at the top saying something like "the term gunpowder may rather loosely mean Gunpowder or Smokeless powder" would also address the problem in the short term. I don't have a strong preference between 1) or 2), but I'm not keen on 3).Pyrotec (talk) 23:26, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

A disambiguation page is not a bad idea, it should include a link to Gunpowder tea aswell. /Jonas (talk) 20:52, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

I agree with a re-write and re-naming. This page is a jumble of blackpowder and smokeless powder information without making enough distinction between the two. It also assumes the term "gunpowder" means "blackpowder". It certainly did historically, but has not for probably a century. There need to be a short "Gunpowder" article, and more in-depth "Blackpowder" and "Smokeless Powder" articles. The merger of two such fundamentally different chemicals such as blackpowder and smokeless powder was a bad decision. Let's get this cleaned up. — Preceding unsigned comment added by BeadleB (talkcontribs) 22:45, 4 December 2013 (UTC)


It should be clarified wether the "recipe" is given by volume or by weight. There's a big difference. In chemistry it is usually by weight. (talk) 21:14, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree. The article should specify. —MiguelMunoz (talk) 01:28, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
Julian S. Hatcher, Hatchers Notebook, Military Service Publishing Company, 1947. Chapter XIII Notes on Gunpowder, page 303. "The average composition of black powder is, saltpeter 75 parts by weight, sulphur 10 parts and charcoal 15 parts." Naaman Brown (talk) 23:07, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Why are there no recipes by volume listed for comparison? (talk) 02:12, 11 July 2015 (UTC)

Other Uses?[edit]

Gunpowder has been used as a rocket propellant for centuries, mostly for fireworks, but more recently by model rocket hobbyists. I've read that rocket propellant uses a different mixture, but there's no mention of this in the article. The article focuses almost exclusively on gunpowder's role in firearms (which, granted, was once its major use), but makes little mention of other uses, and no mention of modern use of gunpowder. This shouldn't be an article about "gunpowder for firearms," it should be about gunpowder. —MiguelMunoz (talk) 01:37, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

The "gunpowder" that this article talks about has essentially been obsolete since the Second World War (or 1960s) depending on your point of view; but it is still used by enactment societies recreating old battles and in display fireworks. What is (erroneously) called gunpowder for modern firearms is described in Smokeless powder (and also Cordite, Ballistite and, historically, Poudre B). There is also an article on modern gunpowder (old definition) substitutes here - Black powder substitute.Pyrotec (talk) 13:49, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
First of all, I believe that's wrong. Black powder is still used as a rocket propellant by model rocket hobbyists. (I can tell by the sulfur smell.) The smoke trail helps track the rocket. Second, it's irrelevant. Black powder was used as a propellant for rockets and fireworks for a long time. My point is not that it has other uses today. It has always had other uses. It's not just used for guns. I'm curious about how the mixture varies when using it as a propellant, and this article doesn't provide a clue. —MiguelMunoz (talk) 04:50, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
I misunderstood the question. It's obsolete for military rockets, but yes it is still used for fireworks and in some countries it may be used by model rocket hobbyists. I don't think the proportions of the ingredients are different; it think it is a case of selecting a suitable grain size or a blend of grain sizes, and a suitable packing density, to provide the correct burning characteristics, and for the weight of the "payload". I guess the answer is that the people with that type of knowledge have not added it to the article. If you have a reference(s), by all means add it (them) to the article, or add it (them) to this talkpage.Pyrotec (talk) 21:43, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
For propellant use, grain size isn't an issue, because it's all one big grain. Cracks in the block of fuel are a problem because they cause the propellant to burn too fast. I read somewhere that a different mixture works better for rocket fuel, because you want it to burn much more slowly. If I find a good reference, I'll add something. Also, if it used to be used for military rockets, that's also worth mentioning, even if that was hundreds of years ago. I don't know anything about that. —MiguelMunoz (talk) 23:41, 19 March 2009 (UTC)


The image in this "gunpowder" article shows smokeless powder (grey). Shouldn't that image be used in the "black powder substitutes" page, and an image of actual black traditional gunpowder be used in this article? Why bother showing the smokeless powder image at all, when there is a separate article for that topic? (talk) 03:31, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I fully agree with you.Pyrotec (talk) 07:55, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

United Kingdom[edit]

There was no United Kingdom in the 13th century, so how could gunpowder have been produced in it? Furthermore the substitution of the term "British Isles" with "Britain" conflicts with the fact that the other places listed are geographical regions. I would also suggest replacing "The Crown" with "the English Crown", since a Scottish Crown also existed at the time, which is not the one intended. ðarkuncoll 21:19, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

The section is a "work in progress". You are correct that there was no United Kingdom in the 13th century, so the 13th century references refer to the respective Kingdoms of England and Scotland. However, gunpowder was made in Ireland (near Cork) upto the early 20th Century (1920s), in Wales upto (possibly) the early 1930s, in England upto the the mid 1940s and in Scotland upto about 1976. It is lunacy have seperate sections covering the Kingdom of England, the Kingdom of Scotland, the United Kingdom of Great Britian and Ireland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It makes for more sense to have a single section called the "United Kingdom", but to make it clear, that at the begining we are refering to the separate Kingdoms of England and Scotland; and that prior to the formation of the Irish Republic, what we now know as southern Ireland was part of the United Kingdom (of Great Britian and Ireland). Pyrotec (talk) 21:46, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
"British Isles" covers all that precisely and succinctly, yet an editor recently removed it. ðarkuncoll 21:50, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
"United Kingdom" also covers it, and more accurately, since Ireland was part of the UK at that time. --HighKing (talk) 22:13, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
I had to read the British Isles article to verify that it included Ireland (north & south) - it does. Apparently, "the term British Isles is controversial in relation to Ireland". I intend to include a discussion in this section, sometime, of Ballincollig Royal Gunpowder Mills; which at the time were in United Kingdom of Great Britian and Ireland / British Isles. I don't have any strong views as to whether "UK" or British Isles be used as the section title. No doubt that will start further edit wars. Pyrotec (talk) 22:10, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
The UK was established in 1801, and most of Ireland left in 1922. To use the term when discussing anything prior to 1801, or to southern Ireland after 1922, is simply wrong. British Isles, as a geographical term, avoids all such political considerations. ðarkuncoll 22:15, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
British Isles also covers the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands. Was gunpowder produced there too? If not, then "Great Britain and Ireland" would be far more accurate. --HighKing (talk) 22:12, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
That's complete rubbish, HK, and you know it. Was it produced in Co. Kerry (for example)? If not, then to say "Ireland" is wrong too by your logic. ðarkuncoll 22:17, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
This is one of the more clear open close cases. There is every reason to say British isles, and NO justification for its removal at all. Complete rubbish is what came to my mind too. BritishWatcher (talk) 22:22, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
It appears that this discussion has no relevance whatsoever to gunpowder, merely "PC" gone made. Pyrotec (talk) 22:25, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
I agree totally, and this is just one of a very large number of articles that the editor in question has disrupted by forcing a discussion completely irrelevant to the subject matter. ðarkuncoll 22:28, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
Well ive changed the title back to British Isles, putting the UK there just makes no sense at all. Not sure if its best to say England where it does now or if that should be changed back to British Isles, i dont have strong feelings on that change, but the title change highking made was clearly incorrect. BritishWatcher (talk) 22:34, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. The disruption caused by the desire of HK to eliminate British Isles is preposterous. Yes, it is PC gone mad. Who ever heard of the UK being used in the context of the 1300s. Has this article been changed back? If not, I'll do so now. MidnightBlue (Talk) 22:37, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
Fine. It's been changed. MidnightBlue (Talk) 22:38, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
It has been stated above the prior to 1801, the separate kingdoms should be used. Initially I'm only talking about the Kingdom of England in the 13th Century, I've not researched the Kingdom of Scotland yet. In the 19th century County Cork only had gunpowder mills because the UK was concerned about fighting the Napoleonic Wars and more domestic capacity was needed - and that needed water power. Pyrotec (talk) 22:44, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
Woops sorry, whilst the change i made (changing UK title back to British Isles) as it was originally put, i though that was the edit HighKing made, thats who i meant when i put about POV in the edit summary, not you Pyrotec, sorry. Title should stay British Isles, it makes clear and logical sense to use and Highkings attempts to change it to Britain were totally unacceptable. BritishWatcher (talk) 23:20, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Why is this a separate section?[edit]

What isn't obvious to me is why this should be a separate section at all, rather than being subsumed into an overall Europe section. Development of the the technology in different parts of Europe did not proceed asynchronously (as for example it did in China v-a-v Europe). Separating out UK development from the rest of Europe is just silly nationalism to the disadvantage of treatment of the topic. --Red King (talk) 10:39, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Gunpowder article contradicting[edit]

This gunpowder article is contradicting with history of gunpowder article. This says that Europeans or Germanic people invented gun powder and the history article says that gunpowder was invented in China and transported to Europe. There is no evidence of gunpowder in other countries except China. Read the article and please stop inserting pro-Western, European bias into the article without any source. It looks childish. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 00:39, 8 October 2009 (UTC).

Lord of War reference[edit]

The “Other uses” section says:

The film Lord of War alludes to African civil wars of the twentieth-century, such as the Angola War and its cheap drug mixture of cocaine and gunpowder, taken by snorting like a snuff.

But from the time period depicted in the period (and from the weapons shown in the film), it seems highly unlikely that the gunpowder used there would be the black powder described in the rest of the article. The example should be deleted or at least amended with a note of this fact. bogdanb (talk) 20:53, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

Manufacturing procedure[edit]

I happen to have a book from the 1800's that gives a detailed, step-by-step process on the manufacturing on gunpowder. I wanted to check to see if this was ok to post in the article, or whether it would be too much. Can anyone tell me? Thanks. Watersoftheoasis (talk) 16:39, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

If no one responds, I'll just assume that this is a yes... Watersoftheoasis (talk) 14:33, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
I think it would be a great addition as a section with a good summary. What's the name of the book? --HighKing (talk) 19:00, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
The book is "Ordinance and Gunnery" by Captain James G. Benton of the Ordinance Department of West Point. The book was first printed in 1859. There is a whole chapter on gunpowder, and within the chapter, the process of manufacturing gunpowder is described in detail. Considering this is an older book, how detailed should I describe the process based from the book? Watersoftheoasis (talk) 18:29, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

No consensus to move. Vegaswikian (talk) 02:25, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

GunpowderBlack powder — "Gunpowder" is an ambiguous term that can refer both to historical potassium nitrate gunpowder ("black powder") and modern nitrocellulose gunpowder ("smokeless powder"). In practice, it is probably most often used in modern English to refer to the modern formulation, but in any case, reserving this title for the historical formulation is not correct. It's better to have a version of the disambiguation page here at "Gunpowder" instead, bearing in mind that the dabpage can be rewritten to emphasize the current first listed item over the others. Gavia immer (talk) 03:57, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

  • Oppose WP:COMMONNAME and current WP:PRIMARYTOPIC is the traditional form of black powder, smokeless powder is smokeless powder or nitrocellulose. If you're going for generalities, cordite is also called gunpowder. (talk) 04:27, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment if you search for a gunpowder formula, it's almost always the traditional black powder, so obviously not smokeless. (talk) 04:30, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose Gunpowder is the mixture of saltpetre, sulphur, and charcoal (as per the OED's definition) and I've always assumed that any other propellants and explosives would be "smokeless powder" or "cordite" or whatever, never gunpowder. But apparently in some fields (forensics for example) "gunpowder" is used as a general term to cover all propellants, though even then the others are usually called "smokeless gunpowder". So it may strictly be ambiguous, but in common usage it's a synonym for "black powder" and thus a WP:Hatnote would be all that is required here? –Syncategoremata (talk) 04:46, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment a hatnote should suffice to provide some disambiguation. --HighKing (talk) 09:37, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose Cordite is not gunpowder and in British-English gunpowder does not refer to modern nitrocelluse propellants - its mostly American-English where this ambiguity arises. Pyrotec (talk) 18:54, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose In special effects and display fireworks, we differentiate between gunpowder (typically used as a lifting charge) and smokeless powder (typically used as a effect). Gunpowder ALWAYS refers to black powder, not nitrocellulose to the technicians I've dealt with. A WP:Hatnote does make sense though. DJSparky huh? 22:14, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose For the reasons given by everyone else. Have never even heard of black powder. Gunpowder is the common name. Skinsmoke (talk) 01:36, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.


In modern scientific works the catchall phrase for both black and smokeless powders used in firearms is gun propellant not gunpowder, as a Google Books or Scholar search will show. Have mörser, will travel (talk) 14:41, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Chemistry of Gunpowder[edit]

There's a lot of literature on this, and the two formulas given in the article don't correspond at all to the real ratios of components in gunpowder. In the 1882 Proceedings of the Royal Society, there is an excellent paper by Prof H. Debus. It emphasizes the highly complex and variable nature of the reaction, but he finds a very good fit to empirical data by a two stage reaction. First an exothermic "explosive" reaction:

16KNO3 + 13C + 5S = 3K2CO3 + 5K2SO4 + 9CO2 + CO + 8N2

And secondary endothermic reactions that consume excess carbon and sulphur, yielding extra gas volume:

4K2SO4 + 7C = 2K2CO3 + 2K2S2 + 5CO2

4K2CO3 + 7S = 3K2S2 + 4CO2

He found that the typical formula for gunpowder was very close to ratios that he determined would result in maximum work. Mine blasting powder often has more carbon, which was cheaper and produced even more gas volume. DonPMitchell (talk) 02:49, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

The article also says that water is a product which is clearly nonsense. (talk) 09:47, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

(To the IP user) No, you appear to be mis-reading it. The words state "55.91% solid products: potassium carbonate, potassium sulfate, potassium sulfide, sulfur, potassium nitrate, potassium thiocyanate, carbon, ammonium carbonate. 42.98% gaseous products: carbon dioxide, nitrogen, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, hydrogen, methane, 1.11% water.". The combustion is likely to have been carried out in a sealed vessel and the "fact" that ammonium carbonate, hydrogen sulphide, hydrogen, methane and water was produced, all of which contain hydrogen atoms, suggests several possibilities: the gunpowder was fired in the vessel in air containing moisture (source of hydrogen for the hydrogen sulphide, the ammonium carbonate, the hydrogen, the methane and the moisture), the charcoal was not fully carbonised and contained some residual hydrocarbons (or, more more likely, contained moisture). The description is undoubtedly describing the combustion products that were found by experiment; not what is written in the equation(s) above. Unfortunately that statement has no citation, so it is not possible (at the moment) to find out how those results were obtained. Pyrotec (talk) 22:05, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

The article also claims that charcoal's empirical formula is C7H4O. Is this correct? When I search for the empirical formula of charcoal, I generally come up with C. The only time I've seen C7H4O is in Yahoo Answers etc., where they clearly cite this article for their source. The exact formula would have a large effect on the balanced reaction, and help to explain where the product of water comes from. 2 Jul 2013

Something I noticed[edit]

Ok, so a bunch of people are arguing on here as to whether or not smokeless powder belongs on this page. As of now, the name of this article is "Gunpowder", a term which encompasses both black and smokeless. The requested move to "Black Powder" received no consensus. If this is indeed supposed to be about Black Powder, then the move should be re-requested, and something should be done about it. Until then, please stop bickering because, as it stands, the name of the article says that this is about gunpowder in general. Thank you,Hawkrawkr (talk) 01:06, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

No it does not. Smokeless powders are not gunpowder, but they are used in guns. The term "blackpowder" was introduced in the late 1880s for gunpowder when smokeless powders began to be used, to distinguish gunpowder from smokeless powders. As stated above, some people have not heard of the term black powder, so it makes sense to continue to use the title Gunpowder. Pyrotec (talk) 11:46, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

According to the dictionary, gunpowder is "an explosive mixture, used in shells and cartridges, in fireworks, for blasting, etc. " By definition, smokeless powder is gunpowder. As someone who is an avid gun enthusiast and historical scholar, I happen to know the difference between the two. Both are gunpowder, given the names "black" and "smokeless" to distinguish between them, the reason being that smokeless powder would have (and did) exploded the barrels of guns built for use with black powder. Both are gunpowder, they are merely different formulas that produce similar results.-Hawkrawkr (talk) 19:27, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

Sorry, but you obviously do not know the difference. According to the dictionary (Concise Oxford Dictionary, 10th edition, 1999), gunpowder: (1) an explosive mixture consisting of a powdered mixture of saltpetre, sulphur and charcoal; (2) a fine green tea (I fully accept that this is not an explosive, I've drunk it). Nowadays, sulphur would be spelt sulfur, but saltpeter and saltpetre are valid terms depending on origin of the editor/reader. I would also direct your attention to the U.S. Department of Transportation; US Federal Explosives Law and a Firearms Newsletter published by Attorney Jessie C. Cohen for the Massachusetts gun owner ( copy here). There is a clear legal distinction between black powder/gun powder and smokeless propellants (and ammunition); and they have different UN numbers/transportation categories/storage requirements. That also applies across Europe, via European and national laws. Gunpowder/black powder and smokeless powders have very different combustion characteristics: the burning rates, peak pressures, vivacity, and rate of change of pressure with temperature of black powders/gunpowders are very different from that of smokeless powders, and that required a redesign of guns - large as well as small. It also lead to different "family" of smokeless powders, single base, double base and triple base (not all of which found use in the US), plus hexagonal powders for ships' guns - now obsolete. That distinction between gunpowder/black powder and smokeless powders is well documented in respect of the US, particularly Dupont/Du Pont (the family name and the company name are written differently). Gunpowder/black powder is effectly obsolete, but is used in fireworks and by firearms reinactment societies, but smokeless powders are not, in general, obsolete. Pyrotec (talk) 20:54, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
Most, if not all, smokeless powders are/were proprietary, in the US for example Hercules Powder Company and Atlas Powder Company, in the UK Nobel Neonites, Cordite, etc; so a smokeless powder would be specified by its name (and possibly ballistic size), not its grain size (F, FF, etc for the US, sieve mesh size for the UK). The manufacturing processes for black powder/gunpowder and smokeless powders are entirely different, as is their combustion chemistry, most of the testing and quality control (apart from ballistic testing - using the laboratory and/or live firings) and their degradation (stability) is different, so I see little advantage in merging smokeless powders into this article on gunpowder, which is what you appear to be suggesting in your first comment - but its not entirely clear what you are asking for other than a "stop to bickering". It would considerably help if you could clarify the point of your first comment. Pyrotec (talk) 21:29, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

MY POINT? 1.) This bickering is a pointless waste of time, as, BY DEFINITION, smokeless powder is a form of gunpowder. The following is a direct quote from "Gunpowder: an explosive mixture, as of potassium nitrate, sulfur, and charcoal, used in shells and cartridges, in fireworks, for blasting, etc.". In case you are not very familiar with the English language, AS OF means FOR EXAMPLE, the English equivalent of the Latin Exempli Gratia.
2.) You are arguing for the sake of arguing, as you are contesting what I just said while trying to say the exact same thing. (i.e. that guns had to be redesigned to accommodate smokeless gunpowder(as the New Book of Knowledge equates it, copyright 1979, Grolier International), as it could burst the barrel of a black powder weapon.
3.) This argument is not currently worth my time, as I currently have much more pressing matters on my plate. With all due respect, Hawkrawkr (talk) 23:57, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for clarifying that your point was only about bickering. Pyrotec (talk) 14:02, 28 May 2011 (UTC)


My attempts to find a reference for the use in the delay-trains of grande only found WWII-era grenades. Unless someone knows of more recent designs using that, I'll change the text. Have mörser, will travel (talk) 23:08, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

de wiki link[edit]

Discussion copied from User_talk:Hugo.arg. Have mörser, will travel (talk) 14:12, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Please change your bot not to alter crosswikilinks when multiple choices exist. Humans are better at making this kind of decision than machine translation. Particularly gunpowerder (UK) or black powder (US) is called Schwarzpulver not Schießpulver in German, which is more generic, meaning something like propellant. Have mörser, will travel (talk) 11:32, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

That was user supervised bot edit. At first change 'wrong' links at before undoing and complaining. If de:Schießpulver links to articles about en:Gunpowder then article "Gunpowder" should link to "Schießpulver". But if you add some links to one article, some to other you jut make confusion. Hugo.arg (talk) 12:02, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
The de wiki link is not wrong. In modern German Schießpulver means firearm propellant [2] for which there is no exact English Wikipedia article match. Before the advent of smokeless powders and nitrocellulose explosives, Schwarzpulver was sometimes subdivided in Sprengpulver (blasting powder) and Schießpulver (shooting powder, in direct translation) based on intended usage with small variations in formulation. [3] Since them, Schießpulver became generic to include other kinds of "shooting powder" and Sprengpulver became generic for all kinds of explosives. You should not code your bot or make your edits expecting natural languages to have 1:1 match for all terms. Also, in your post above the English is rather poor, so perhaps you should not be the one engaging in such tasks, bot-assisted or not. Have mörser, will travel (talk) 12:38, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Ok, I'm not a specialist of things about gunpowder but the "iron rule" of interwiki is that if one page links to another it should be backlink. If Schießpulver isn't an article about "gunpowder/Порох/Pólvora" then it should be removed at all instead of adding another incorrect link to "Schwarzpulver" which has a link to articles about black powder. Of course, we can join article de:Schwarzpulver to articles about gunpowder easly but I don't know if other users wouldn't complain if I'll change current "Schwarzpulver" interwiki links to these about "gunpowder" and make "Schießpulver" interwikiless. Hugo.arg (talk) 13:02, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

I have created the redirect gun propellant to propellant and changed the de Schießpulver wikiling to point to it. If you volunteer to write the article, be my guest, but I bet it will just be merged back to propellant. Have mörser, will travel (talk) 13:10, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Well, I see you've got reverted maybe better at first discuss with German users about terminology... Hugo.arg (talk) 13:28, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

I guess they are not concerned that both de:Schwarzpulver and de:Schießpulver wikilink to en gunpowder. I guess they've never heard of your "iron rule" either. I'm not going to be your advocate in this matter because I think it's a bad rule to try enforce uniformly. Good luck convincing them yourself. Have mörser, will travel (talk) 14:06, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Additional comments, not found on his talk page[edit]

Given the contents of this article, the most suitable de wiki link to place here is de:Schwarzpulver, and certainly not de:Schießpulver. Have mörser, will travel (talk) 14:16, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Also, I note that it was Hugo.arg's bot that added the wrong wikilink to the de Schießpulver article to begin with [4], creating the double linking of gunpowder from two different de wiki articles. Now he tries to convince us that because of that dubious change of his bot, this article needs to be changed too. I beg to differ. Have mörser, will travel (talk) 15:53, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

See also meta:Interwiki synchronization/gunpowder. Have mörser, will travel (talk) 22:45, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

references to primary sources or sources affiliated with the subject[edit]

This tag has been up since 2008, can someone reiterate which sources are of concern? Perhaps it should be moved to the appropriate section(s), if any. Have mörser, will travel (talk) 16:09, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Recent expansion of the India section[edit]

I have the impression that various bits from other articles were copied in there (e.g. from the fact that the same reference, Partington, has two different names). A lot of that material [5], like the improvements in matchlocks, is more appropriate for other articles like History of firearms etc. Have mörser, will travel (talk) 20:14, 10 October 2011 (UTC)


Didn't Marco Polo bring gunpowder to Europe? (talk) 20:10, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

Black powder rifle manufacturers[edit]

Perhaps these can be mentioned ? or an article called List of black powder rifle manufacturers can be made. Some manufacturers are: CVA Black Powder Guns, Lyman Black Powder Guns, NAA Black Powder Revolvers, Remington Black Powder Guns, Rossi Black Powder Guns, Savage Black Powder Guns, Thompson Center Black Powder Guns, Traditions Black Powder Guns, Uberti Black Powder Revolvers

ref= (talk) 10:11, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

cannot detonate[edit]

I don't believe that black powder cannot detonate, and I even think one could argue that this statement could contribute to safety hazards. 1) I have heard that black powder guns can explode if improperly loaded. 2) I know someone who detonated some (in a remote area) with a high velocity rifle. 3) Just as even the best gasoline-air mixture will detonate under sufficient heat and pressure, so will the most stable explosives. A powerful detonator can supply the required temperature and pressure to detonate the powder near it, and I find it hard to believe that the shock will not continue to ignite the rest of the charge. 4) Manure and diesel oil detonates, with a much lower concentration of nitrates and very little sulfur. So I conclude that either the listed source is wrong or else it was misunderstood. David R. Ingham (talk) 04:23, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

  • "Detonate" is a technical term, different to and distinct from "ignite" and "explode". The passage as written was quite correct. I have linked to the meanings of "detonate" and "low explosive" to make this clear. Jmackaerospace (talk) 21:03, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

The second chemical explosive?[edit]

"Gunpowder, also known since the late 19th century as black powder, was the second chemical explosive and the only one known until the mid-1800s". This makes no sense whatsoever. How could it simultaneously be 'second', and 'the only one known'? AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:15, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

That was a result of a series of vandalism attacks. You obviously did not check the article's history. You could try asking the author who added that statement, or rather the one who changed "first" to "second"; and made other changes. Vandalism often produces nonsense. Pyrotec (talk) 19:02, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Actually this statement is not precise. Another chemical explosive, aurum fulminans, was known in 1608, see Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Chemistry#aurum_fulminans and the reference mentioned therein. However, currently aurum fulminans incorrectly redirects to Fulminate. --Fedor Babkin (talk) 15:20, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for this information. Having checked elsewhere, I would agree. Tenney L Davis (1943) states that written accounts of fulminating gold (Goldkalck) were published during 1602-1604 and the name aurum fulminans was given by the Belguiness in 1608. It was used in a detonator in 1628 and was mentioned by Pepys on 11 November 1663. It looks like we will need to update the information in this article. Pyrotec (talk) 16:57, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

Dardanelles gun type[edit]

Dardanelles Gun Turkish Bronze 15c.png

This guns is breech-loading. The right part on this photo is the breech block, combined with the chamber which contained the powder charge - it was unscrewed, filled with gunpowder, and then screwed into the barrel again, after the stone ball was inserted from the breech end. Four circular rows of deep square sockets around the ends of the barrel and the breech block are for the insertion of wooden levers which were used for screwing / unscrewing the two parts. It is notable that it could not be reloaded immediately after being fired, as one had to wait until the gun cooled down enough to unscrew the chamber, due to the thermal expansion of bronze locking the screw.

See also

and especially (talk) 12:26, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

Any source that says mixing it with gelatine will cause superexplosion[edit]

Is there any source that backs that up? perhaps its trivia,though certain yahoo answers asked what happens if you mixed gelatine and gunpowder. the song killer queen mention gunpowder and gelatine, so perhaps this is where this suposed thing comes from

is this true or false and any real scientific source to back this up?Bovons (talk) 16:53, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

Signal Flares?[edit]

Aside from festival displays, celebrations, and such, weren't fireworks also originally used by the Chinese as military signal flares? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:06, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

Signal Flares?[edit]

Aside from festival displays, celebrations, and such, weren't fireworks also originally used by the Chinese as military signal flares? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:08, 28 October 2013 (UTC)


Gunpowder was an item in Minecraft. It comes from creepers. It explodes. Just like creepers. --Rabbit2012 19:45, 9 November 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rabbit2012 (talkcontribs)

Adding water to the mix may remove the highly soluble nitrates?[edit]

The article states:

Around the late 14th century AD, European powdermakers first began adding liquid during grinding to improve mixing, reduce dust, and with it the risk of explosion.[71] The powdermakers would then shape the resulting paste of dampened gunpowder, known as mill cake, into corns, or grains, to dry. Not only did corned powder keep better because of its reduced surface area, gunners also found that it was more powerful and easier to load into guns. Before long, powdermakers standardized the process by forcing mill cake through sieves instead of corning powder by hand.

I would have thought that water would dissolve the highly soluble potassium nitrate. If any of the liquid were allowed to drain away (as the article mentions later by squeezing in a press) the gunpowder would loose part of its ingredients.

Did early or current manufacturers have a method of adjusting the ratio of ingredients to account for nitrate solubility and removal? (talk) 12:00, 15 November 2013 (UTC)

Ealtram contribution starts here. I apparently don't know how to add something without using "edit". The pressing may have the effect of accelerating drying. If the water (containing saltpeter) is then allowed to evaporate, the dissolved saltpeter would be left behind. As with many other materials, the pressed cake would not reabsorb the water and the saltpeter would remain behind as a film on the cake. See articles about McAdamized roads where soil is compacted and becomes impervious to rain and flooding etc.Ealtram (talk) 04:24, 18 January 2017 (UTC)


I don't know Latin, but I noticed that in the 3rd paragraph of the Mainland Europe section "Ignium" and "ingus" appear inconsistent. Is a correction needed? Steve8394 (talk) 17:55, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

Battery-ignited firearms[edit]

Shouldn't we mention the battery-ignited firearms too ? For example, Henry Pieper made one in 1883, see [dead link] here and [dead link] here. Also, there are some experimenters that have modified existing black powder rifles, see here and here KVDP (talk) 12:43, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

Bacon Quote [with dubious insertions][edit]

What is the point of the additions, in square brackets, in the Roger Bacon quote?

"We have an example of these things (that act on the senses) in [the sound and fire of] that children's toy which is made in many [diverse] parts of the world; i.e., a device no bigger than one's thumb. From the violence of that salt called saltpeter [together with sulfur and willow charcoal, combined into a powder] so horrible a sound is made by the bursting of a thing so small, no more than a bit of parchment [containing it], that we find [the ear assaulted by a noise] exceeding the roar of strong thunder, and a flash brighter than the most brilliant lightning."

  • These additions aren't in the Opus Majus.
  • Presumably they were added by the intermediate source.
  • Several of them aren't necessary. The mention of the sound, roar and flash make "the sound and fire of" redundant. There's no need to insert "diverse" into "many parts of the world". The addition of "the ear assaulted by a noise" is just making Bacon repeat himself.
  • Most importantly, the sulfur and charcoal (and specifically willow charcoal!) are added to make it seem as if Bacon had revealed the recipe for gunpowder, when in reality he only mentions saltpeter.

That last one is just plain misleading. It's all very well using square brackets to clarify the meaning of a source by adding things that can be assumed, or resolving ambiguities, but that particular clarification is way too creative. (The others are just prolix.)  Card Zero  (talk) 15:41, 9 March 2016 (UTC)


I believe that the usage of protagonist in reference to the scholars backing the idea of a Hindu origin of black powder should be replaced by "proponent" as in "proponent of the theory". I might do the edit myself if I was confident of the original writer's meaning.Ealtram (talk) 03:57, 18 January 2017 (UTC)