Brown University Library

Appier-Hanzelet, Jean

La Pyrotechnie de Hanzelet Lorraine ou sont representez les plus rares & plus appreuuez secrets des machines & des feux artificiels ...
Pont-a-Mousson: I. & Gaspard Bernard, 1630.

Appier's La Pyrotechnie greatly influenced succeeding French and English texts on fireworks.

Photograph 2a: Title-page.

Photograph 2b: A naval battle recreated in fireworks.


Jean Appier-Hanzelet
La Pyrotechnie de Hanzelet Lorra in ou sont representez les plus rares & plus assieger secrets des machines and des feux artificiels...
Pont-a-Mousson: Jean & Gaspar Bernard, 1630.

Appier had previously published Recueil de Plusiers Machines Militaires, et feux Artificials, pour la Guerre s Recreation (Pont-a-Mousson, 1620), in collaboration with Francois Thybourel, a self-styled "Maistre Chyrurgien." It is to that volume that Francis Malthus referred in the preface to his 1629 English edition of A Treatise of Artificial Fire-vrorkes [at left]. Following a bitter dispute with Thybourel concerning the order of names on the
title-page of A description of many military machines, and artificial fireworks for war and recreation [the first edition was printed with two variant title-pages], Appier made certain that there would be no doubts about the authorship of The Pyrotechnics of Hanzelet Lorraine where are described the most rare and most learned secrets of machines and of fireworks when it was issued one decade later.

Most of the text is cast in the form of a dialogue between a General and a Captain, with the reader benefiting from the Captain's sage advice; a literary device later used by Galileo in his Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo (Florence, 1632). Even though Appier introduced much new material on rockets, stars and other fireworks, such as squibs and crackers, in The Pyrotechnics, he also reused many of the engravings as well as some text from his earlier volume on military machines and fireworks.

Two copies of La Pyrotechnie are on display. The vellum bound Dupee Fireworks Collection copy [above] is open to the engraved title-page with its bombs, cannons, firearrows, grenades, rockets and other "ruses de guerre" as well as the arms of Lorraine and the motto "War and Art." The second copy, from the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection [below], is open to an aquatic fireworks display. On the facing page, Appier's description of this nautical event notes that at the conclusion you may set off one or two hundred paper firecrackers "and the spectators will believe by the tintamarre of these petards that everything is broken up or burnt."

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