Who Invented Firearms?
One of the most important questions one can ask about is who invented firearms. The early gunpowder was invented by Native Americans as tools to scare away predators. The first guns were used by the Spanish in the 16th century as weapons for fighting with the Indians. Black powder was also used by the British.
But who invented firearms? In many cases the answer is very difficult to determine. There are many theories as to who created the gunpowder and the methods used to make it. Two major methods that have been mentioned as having origins near Stone Mountain in Georgia are black powder and smokeless powder.
Smokeless powder was believed to be developed by the Chinese around 500 years before Europeans developed smokeless powder. Many Chinese herbal remedies were said to use the smokeless powder as a cure for illnesses. However, historians have found no evidence that this was true. Most likely the use of smokeless powder was to cut down on the cost of manufacturing black powder firearms. It also made it easier to manufacture firearms by just making changes to the firing method of the gun. This might explain why gunpowder did not become popular among the early settlers.
Black powder, on the other hand, was the way that most early guns were made. Basically, black powder burns at a much higher temperature than most other forms of powder. When this happens, the powder is considered very flammable. Therefore, gunpowder was often mixed with sulfur and sulfuric acid to increase its burning power. These chemicals are known as caustics.
Because gunpowder is so highly flammable, it was necessary to have some way to reduce its explosive properties. Early guns would have to be made using lead frames. Lead was a much cheaper material than gold or silver and it was easily made into gunpowder through a process called cupping. The gunpowder would be shot through a tube with the bottom of the tube containing charcoal. In order to increase its stability, lead was often mixed with sodium nitrate or charcoal.
As you can see, gunpowder was created through combining charcoal, sulfur, and potassium nitrate. The resulting substance was very volatile, extremely hot, and emitted black smoke when it burned. Today, we use these same ingredients to create black powder and fireworks. But today we have more sophisticated ways of creating black powder by using an exploding compound called “gunpowder”.