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Happy July 4th

Authored by Hanna Polasky
Published on 4th July, 2022 1 min read

Happy July 4th

Blue, purple and pink fireworks exploding against a dark sky.

BOA would like to wish all who celebrate a happy July 4th.

Did you know that while fireworks are considered a ubiquitous part of Independence Day celebrations these days, the modern firework wasn’t invented until the 1830s?

While some iteration of firework has existed since about 200 BC, the colourful displays we are all used to witnessing were first created by Italians in the 19th century. They were the first to add metals to the explosive materials in fireworks, thereby changing their colour.

In fact, firework formulae came to the United States in a very American way- through Ellis Island. Two of the biggest US firework companies, Fireworks by Grucci and Zambelli Fireworks, were started by Italian immigrants in the mid-19th century. So if you decide to create some colourful displays today, remember the very American history of this very American tradition.

Authored by Hanna Polasky

Hanna Polasky

Hanna Polasky got her undergraduate degree in anthropology from Bryn Mawr College, and her MSc in Paleopathology from Durham University. If it has to do with the history of fashion, medicine, or archaeology, she's definitely interested.

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Notable Days


The British Online Archives Notable Days diary is a platform intended to mark key dates and events throughout the year. The posts draw attention to historical events and figures, as well as recurring cultural traditions and international awareness days, in both religious and secular contexts.

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