In 1849 there was published by the Ordnance Board of the United States Army an Ordnance Manual, by A, Mor-decai, brevet major, United States Army. The book deals with all branches of ordnance used in the United States Army at that time. The question of fireworks for signals, lights, and incendiary purposes, is discussed, beginning on page 283, substantially as follows:
Under the heading of "Signal Rockets" is taken up the manufacture of the rocket, which to all intents and purposes was quite similar to the rocket manufactured to-day. The manufacture at that time, however, was entirely by hand. The rocket case was made of paper and the driving charge was the same as that in use to-day, with the exception that one ingredient, steel filings, was added to the composition. Great care was used in having the proper dimensions for the rockets both in the case and the stick, and it was necessary that the rocket should balance on a knife blade three diameters from the throat.
Serpents were made of small paper rolls about one-fourth of an inch in diameter, filled with driving composition and then partially closed at one end. They were placed in the pot of the rocket with the open end down, so that when the expelling charge was detonated they were fired and performed their peculiar antics. In fact, the serpents were miniature rockets released at an altitude of 500 to 800 feet.
Gold rain was made in the same manner and from the same composition as the stars, except that the composition was cut into very small pieces and then rolled in meal powder.
Rain of fire was loaded in a small case three-tenths of an inch in diameter and 2 inches long; the end was closed, and it was charged and primed exactly as for serpents, except that the powder for cracker was omitted.
Marrons were cubes filled with grained powder and enveloped with two or three layers of strong twine or marline; to give them more consistency they were dipped in kit, after which they were primed by inserting a small quick match. They were made from strong pasteboard cut in the form of a parallelogram.