Talk:History of gunpowder

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I removed the image from this article[1], which clearly from another website created in year 2000 Eiorgiomugini 05:53, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

Hi Eiorgiomugini. Reproductions of ancient paintings are free of copyright in the United States. This is called PD-Art on Wikipedia. This image is therefore Public Domain. Thank you to restore it. Here is the PD-Art tag for your information:

Arlight, fine, but I think the caption of the image needs some source. Eiorgiomugini 06:06, 28 July 2007 (UTC)


May I know why material supposedly from Encyclopedia Britannica (though I myself haven't checked it) is being deleted? Is the material misattributed? Or is the source considered unreliable?[2]Bless sins (talk) 21:01, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Read the very extended discussion in the main Gunpowder article. Hopefully that will answer most or all of your questions. Regards. Meatwaggon (talk) 02:07, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
user:Meatwaggon is undoing other editors (user:Pyrotec and user:Ammar shaker) and removing Britannica.
He's getting away with it because of the following things he said to me, which drove me away:
This was in answer to "why material supposedly from Encyclopedia Britannica is being deleted"? The copy/paste of quotes is given here BTW.
Vtria 08 (talk) 21:29, 12 May 2008 (UTC)[sock]
Nobody drove you away, Vtria. Or was it Moerou? You've had so many names. You also said you were going to appeal to an administrator. What happened? Decided to be nice? Or was it because you felt they might actually follow up on my assertions about you? You tucked tails and ran, though I asked you to stay and answer for yourself. The fact that you now come over here to whine speaks volumes about your intellectual integrity. Not to mention you conveniently failed to include the context of my posts and have been able to hide your personal attacks against me with this method of list-posting. Anywho, now that you're here, care to answer some of the more vexing questions that you pointedly and repeatedly chose to avoid before? Or are you just going to run again? BTW, you also represented like you had additional sources which back you up, which you said you could post screenshots of. Where are they, pray tell? It's been several days now, and not having enough time to post them is becoming less and less of an excuse, especially given the plethora of edits you've made here in the recent past. Everybody is still waiting in rapt attention for you to educate us, Vtria. Meatwaggon (talk) 05:25, 13 May 2008 (UTC)


The current text contains a reference which seems to me to have a misinterpretation. It might be a terminology problem. Gunpowder cannot be made properly without liquid in order to generate sufficient contact between the saltpetre and charcoal. This occurred very early, perhaps from the invention. Corning, as usually understood, came considerably later. Uncorned powder was called serpentine and was still used in guns in the mid 16th century. The current text confuses two issues. (talk) 16:45, 15 June 2008 (UTC) hello — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:59, 24 September 2013 (UTC)


I can not find this: Ahmad Y Hassan (1987), "Chemical Technology in Arabic Military Treatises", Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (New York Academy of Sciences): does someone have a volume number?J8079s (talk) 01:23, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

No sorry. However, Ahmad Y Hassan is a Professor of the History of Arabic Science and has published other books which cover part of this history, for example: Hassan, Ahmad Y and Hill, Donald R. [1986] (1992). Islamic Technology: An illustrated history. Paris: UNESCO ISBN 93-3-1027330 Parameter error in {{isbn}}: Invalid ISBN.-6 and Cambridge, New York and Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-42239-6. The use of the {self published} flag is inappropriate since there is no evidence that Ahmad Y Hassan added the material himself; neither is the use of the {primary source} flag. The web site that you object to is (or is stated to be) part of a UNESCO project.Pyrotec (talk) 20:08, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Found it myself vol. 500 ISBN 0897663969 maybe someone with access to the ""Annals"" could check and see if could be used to replace the self- published stuff.--J8079s (talk) 00:27, 11 January 2009 (UTC)


The claims made on the web site cited in the article are contradicted by all the reliable sources. See: A History of Greek Fire and Gunpowder Partington ISBN 0801859549 and: Chase, Kenneth (2003), Firearms: A Global History to 1700, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521822742. Thank you J8079s (talk) 20:28, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

So what. The appropriate response is to quote all three sources and to highlight that there is a difference. al-Hassan has three books published by UNESCO (one of which, see above, was also published by Cambridge University Press); he was Director of the Institute for the History of the Arabic Science, University of Aleppo and more recently at the Department of Middle Eastern Studies, University of Toronto. He appears to meet the criteria of a reliable source. Please do not use flags such as primary sources or self published just because you disagree with the content.Pyrotec (talk) 20:46, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, upon rereading it my reply above seems to be somewhat harsh; it was not intend to be so.Pyrotec (talk) 21:32, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
I guess this has been discussed before Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard/Archive 18 I just read this stuff to be more informed. I think that there is room for more mainstream info.J8079s (talk) 01:36, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
The discussion indicates that 1) He is a reliable person (although biased) and 2) His website is self-published. I think the tags should stay.J8079s (talk) 21:17, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Critique of "History of Gunpowder"[edit]

The organization of the article, I believe is equally as important as the quality of information given in the article. The article begins by giving a statement of what Gunpowder is and the chemicals used to create it in the second half of the 19th century. The article then discusses the origins of gunpowder and its development and spread from “Chinese alchemy” to 17th Century Europe.

After a brief introduction to the topic of gunpowder, the “Contents” box is listed and breaks down links of information on the Wikipedia page into sub-categories. 1. Original Development, 2. Medieval history, 3. Early Modern history, 4. See Also, 5. Notes, 6. References. Topics 4, 5, and 6, while important don’t really offer much in terms of subject matter to the history of gunpowder topic. Part 2 is broken down into 4 subcategories; China, Islamic world, India, and Europe, while Part 3 is broken down into 2 subcategories; Mughai India, and Early Modern Europe. The “Early Modern Europe” subcategory additionally has four more sub-sub-categories; Military, Mining, Canals, and Tunnel Construction. This organization is very important to me as a reader, because it lets me know exactly what the page is about before I even begin reading.

I know the subject is about gunpowder, and I know the article will discuss origin, culture/ country history of gunpowder in the medieval period, early modern gunpowder history in India and Europe, and uses for gunpowder in military, mining, canal building and tunnel construction.

The sources and illustrations are useful because of the organization of the article page. Since the page is laid out chronologically, the sources are also in a chronological order, which allows me to skim through them quickly to get the information I want out of it. The illustrations which accompany the chronological development of Gunpowder are very interesting, however completely useless at the same time. Some of the early illustrations of “original development” subcategory show pictures of the formula for gunpowder on 1044BC. While interesting, since I cant read Chinese, the pictures are relatively useless to me. Also, a picture of an early “handgun” from the Yuan Chinese Dynasty around 1300 is shown and helps illustrate the uses and applications of the gunpowder material. The majority of pictures do not even show gunpowder, rather they show pictures of cannons and explosive inventions like dynamite to illustrate the uses of gunpowder. I like the idea of focusing on the results of the subject (gunpowder) in addition to the history and development of itself.

The thoroughness of the article is rather weak in my opinion. The article gives a broad depiction of gunpowder, its uses, and the development. In two short paragraphs under Early Modern warfare, the article discusses the advancement in metallurgy and weapons and its relationship to gunpowder, while completely missing the development of more sophisticated gunpowder like we have today. I assume the article wanted to focus on early history of gunpowder, however, gunpowder’s history is much longer than 11th Century to mid 19th Century. Therefore, the article failed to include the History of Gunpowder in more modern times, leaving out crucial details of the History of Gunpowder. I would suggest lengthening the article until at least World War II with the development/ evolution of new gunpowder/ cordite or possibly combining the article on cordite, even if it is just a brief 3-4 paragraph insert on the origins of modern gunpowder.

The treatment of Wikipedia has always been of having a lesser credibility to that of another “more official” encyclopedia. I was always told never to quote or use Wikipedia as a reference, since anyone can write anything about the subject. However, the article on the History of Gunpowder offered a good generalized and well supported amount of information and appears to be very credible with the sources mentioned at the bottom of the page. Wikipedia is extremely easy to navigate and is a great starting point for articles and information on the internet when doing a research assignment. One source leads to another which leads to another which leads to another and eventually you end up finding extremely accurate primary sources, all thanks to the starting point of Wikipedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by HIST406-11dalthoff (talkcontribs) 18:17, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

Suggested edit[edit]

Strike "Zhenyuan miaodao yuolüe" and replace with "Zhenyuan Miaodao Yaolüe (真元妙道要略)".

"Zhenyuan miaodao yuolüe" seems to be a Pinyin rendering, but I don't believe Pinyin contains a "yuo".

I haven't found any reliable sources, not to imply I'm in any way qualified to search. As a possible lead, a purported soft copy of Zhenyuan Miaodao Yaolüe can be found here.

Chouhouzi (talk) 13:43, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

Suggest merge with gunpowder article[edit]

Why does article need to stand alone? Why shouldn't it part of the article on gun powder? --Scalhotrod - Just your average banjo playing, drag racing, cowboy... (talk) 00:08, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps you should familiarize yourself with Wikipedia:Summary style, a Wiki guideline that specifies that certain articles should have their own sub-articles if they are too large. The topic of gunpowder is a rather large one, so to have its own history sub-article comes as no surprise. That being said, it appears that someone has recently tagged this article as being too large to navigate, meaning that this one might be broken up into further sub-articles in the near future! I find that to be just fine, since the history of gunpowder is a huge topic in its own right that spans virtually the entire globe and developed at different paces in different regions of the world. --Pericles of AthensTalk 16:17, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

Despite this the mongols were heavy in numbers and conqured China[edit]

"Despite this the mongols were heavy in numbers and conqured China" - incongruous.. removed (20040302 (talk) 12:19, 17 December 2013 (UTC))

American Civil War[edit]

Caves mined for the saltpeter by the Confederate Nitre and Mining bureau included Lookout Mountain Caverns, Morrell Cave, Nickajack Cave, Organ Cave and the Sinnett-Thorn Mountain Cave System[1].

Isaac M. St. John was appointed head of the Confederate Nitre and Mining Bureau. A number of southern businessmen, chemists and college professors worked with the Confederate Nitre Bureau, including Richard Sears McCulloh, Nathaniel Thomas Lupton and John Cubbins.

John B. Salling claimed to have been a peter monkey and saltpeter miner as a private in Company D, 25th Virginia Infantry, in Scott County, Virginia, during the Civil War, and claimed to be Virginia's last surviving Confederate veteran.


This text seems overly detailed for an article on the world history of gunpowder. Maybe an article on Confederate munitions industry would be the right place for it. Rezin (talk) 18:10, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

Article tagged for being too long to comfortably navigate[edit]

@Underbar dk: hello. You tagged this article back in January as being too long to read comfortably. I share the same opinion, but you need to be a little more constructive than to just place a tag and a little editing here and there. You need to inform the editors here on the talk page about your concerns. It would be helpful if you could point out which areas need to be parsed down and split off into new sub-articles where necessary. It would be a shame to lose any of this information, so new sub-articles all around sounds like a good solution. Those new sub-articles could also be linked into the main article on gunpowder, as well as in other articles related to gunpowder warfare. Pericles of AthensTalk 16:23, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

Good to see you, @PericlesofAthens:. I agree, and I've tried splitting off some information into new articles (eg. at Siege of De'an) before getting distracted by other matters, so for that I apologize. Personallyh, I think the article at its current state mixes both historical narrative and historical analysis, and goes into both rather too deeply for what should be a general article. I would try to cut down on the blow-by-blow accounts of the wars and battles, so I think sections like "Jin-Song Wars" and "Mongol Wars" are good candidates to move, perhaps in a "Gunpowder" section in their respective articles. There are also repeated content that has already been split off but is somehow still on this article (like the "Volley fire" section is already covered by the Volley fire article), so those could be pared down. We can also split the Chinese dynastic history of gunpowder into a series of articles, so that the Song is not the only dynasty to get an article dedicated to their gunpowder artillery. Also pinging the major contributor to the relevant sections @Yprpyqp:. _dk (talk) 18:27, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for the speedy reply, Underbar dk! I agree that excessive detail about individual battles can be moved to articles about those specific wars. However, I'd be careful about removing too much information on volley fire. Just because it has its own article doesn't mean it shouldn't be prominently featured in this one with its own section or sub-section; information in several articles are allowed to overlap to a certain degree. In this case we could still retain a moderately large section devoted to it, but shortened per Wikipedia:Summary style, with a prominently-displayed "main article" link for "Volley fire" at the top of that section. --Pericles of AthensTalk 19:15, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
Splitting the article is an excellent idea. In the style of the "Science and technology of the X dynasty" articles, I suggest naming the articles as "Gunpowder technology of the X dynasty" or something similar. We should probably also consider splitting parts of the article to a dedicated Historiography of gunpowder article.--Khanate General talk project mongol conquests 01:37, 30 November 2017 (UTC)