Brown University Library

Babington, John

Pyrotechnia, or A discourse of Artificiall Fire-works ...
London: Thomas Harper for Ralph Mab, 1635.

The Three Millionth Book. This is the first work in English to deal exclusively with the subject of "Fire works for Pleasure."

Photograph la: Title-page.


Photograph lb: St. George and the Dragon,
figures suspended on rope and
illuminated with fireworks.



The Three Millionth Book


John Babington
Pyrotechnia or, A discourse of artificiallfire works for pleasure ...
London: Printed by Thomas Harper for Ralph Mab, 1635. [Above]

This volume was chosen from the wealth of material in the Dupee Fireworks Collection to be Brown University Library's ceremonial Three Millionth Book. It is the first treatise in English to deal exclusively with the subject of display fireworks, and is, according to Chris Philip, without doubt the most important book in Fireworks bibliography.

John Babington, an "inferior Gunner" in the service of the Earl of Newport, Master of his Majesties Ordnance for Charles I, provided directions for making rockets, stars, wheels, and ground-wheels that were more explicit than any offered by previous writers. He was, however, at his best when describing the complex devices and intricate displays in which his age delighted. Some of the chapter headings indicate the ambitious nature of his efforts: The manner of composing a wheele, which having finished his revolution, shall represent a Coat of Armes; How to compose a Castle of Fireworks: How to represent Saint George fighting with a Dragon on the line; and How to make a Water Ball, which, after a certain time of firing, shall cast forth divers rockets into the ayre.

John Babington
Pyrotechnia or, A discourse of artificiallfire works ...
New York: Da Capo Press 1971. [At Right]

This facsimile of the 1635 edition is opened to the illustration of Saint George fighting with a Dragon on the line.

[Table of Contents]