145 x 223 x 26mm
When Chinese alchemists fashioned the first man-made explosion during the tenth century, no one could have foreseen its full revolutionary potential. Invented to frighten evil spirits rather than fuel guns or bombs, the simple mixture of saltpetre, sulphur and charcoal became one of humanity's most critical inventions. As word of its explosive properties spread from Asia to Europe, it paved the way for Western exploration, hastened the end of feudalism and the rise of the nation state, and greased the wheels of the Industrial Revolution . . .