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Fireworks all have the same base and materials, no matter the color, but adding different chemicals makes different colors. To get any kind of blue, you need to add a copper compound, but if the firework’s temperature gets too high, the blue hue gets washed out. And since fireworks involve a lot of, well, fire, most of the time, any blue is pretty dim and unexciting.
Sometime between 600 and 900 A.D., Chinese alchemists searching for a potion for immortality accidentally made the first fireworks by mixing saltpeter (aka potassium nitrate), charcoal, sulfur, and other ingredients, putting the mixture in empty bamboo shoots, and then adding fire. It took another hundred years or so for them to realize that same mixture could be used in battles by attaching firecrackers to arrows.
A woman named Julia Barnett Rice founded the society in the early 1900s in New York City to fight noise pollution from anything from steamships to fireworks. Her efforts to get fireworks banned near hospitals and schools and overall limit their use on July 4 worked: Springfield, Massachusetts, soon outlawed the sale of fireworks, and other cities and states followed suit by either outlawing them or slapping on tons of regulations shortly after.
Elizabeth loved fireworks so much that she created a court position called “Fire Master of England” for the most talented pyrotechnics in England. James II later knighted the man who made the fireworks display at his coronation.
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