This book is a facsimilie reproduction of the original 1904 manuscript held in the Archive of the Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey. It contains information pertaining to the historical significance of the Royal Gunpowder Mills. It is the 6th volume in the Royal Gunpowder Mills Historical Reprint Series. For more information about the Archive, visit: http://www.royalgunpowdermills.com/history-heritage/archives/
Description - excerpt from the Introduction:
Much discussion has been caused in the past by the vagueness of the word gunpowder. The following are the meanings which this and a few other words bear in these pages:
*Explosion: The sudden and violent generation, with a loud noise and in a time inappreciable by the unaided senses, of a very great volume of gas, by the combustion of a body occupying a comparatively very small volume. * Progressive Combustion: Combustion which takes place in a time appreciable by the unaided senses, such as that of rocket composition or a bit of paper. * Gunpowder: A mixture of saltpetre, charcoal, and sulphur, which explodes. The signs of its explosion are a bright flash, a loud noise, and a large volume of smoke. * Incendiary (for "incendiary composition"): A substance or mixture which burns progressively, although fiercely, and is hard to put out. * Machine always means an apparatus of the ballista type. * Cannon includes bombards, mortars, guns, &c. * Musket includes all hand firearms charged with gunpowder.
Of the many difficulties that beset the present inquiry, two deserve special mention.
The first is the want of simple exactness in most early writers when recording the facts from which we have to draw our conclusions. At times their descriptions are so meagre that it is difficult, if not impossible, to decide whether certain projectiles were incendiary or explosive. At other times they abound in tropes and figures of speech which amount to an unintentional 'suggestio falsi'.
The second difficulty arises from the change of meaning which many technical words have undergone in the lapse of years.