In celebration of Guy Fawkes Day, below is a recipe for gunpowder* from the Universal Receipt Book. Don’t know what Guy Fawkes was all about? In short, he and his cronies almost blew up Parliament and the king of England in 1605. TO MAKE GUNPOWDER:
Pulverize separately 5 drachms of nitrate of potass, 1 of sulfur, and 1 of newly burnt charcoal. Mix them together with a little water in a mortar, so as to make the compound into a dough, which must be rolled out into round pieces the thickness of a pin, between two boards, lay a few of these pieces together and cut them with a a knife into small grains, which are to be placed on a sheet of paper in a warm place to dry. During granulation the dough must be prevented sticking to the board by rubbing on it a little of the dry compound powder. The explosion take splace in consequence of the generation of a large quantity of various gases.
*Please don’t make gunpowder, there is the risk of serious injury and death.