Guns The Evolution of Firearms

From the invention of Gunpowder to the American Rifle

E1    Jan 21, 2013    4h 40m    TV-14
Episode one begins with the development of gunpowder by a Chinese alchemist, used for fireworks displays and later military applications, including gunpowder-packed arrows, cannons, and grenades. The episode examines the "fire lance," believed to be the first firearm. It was a bamboo tube with gunpowder and a projectile packed into it, highly effective but only at short ranges. Gunpowder remained a Chinese secret until the 13th century when Roger Bacon, a Franciscan monk, learned of it, saying, "the sound of thunder may be artificially produced in the air with greater resulting horror than if it had been produced by natural causes." As the episode jumps ahead to more modern times, it examines the development of hand cannons made of bronze metal tubes and the development of the Matchlock, the Wheellock, and the Snaplock..

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