No adequate history of pyrotechny has been written. Such a volume would indeed require the work of a lifetime on the part of its author; not for the actual writing, but for the gathering of materials. These would have to be sought very painstakingly in libraries scattered here and there throughout the world - passages of cursory reference in old texts of Latin and Greek and the Oriental tongues.

For the ancients gave no place to pyrotechny as a theme apart Their narratives that have to do with the art are only haphazard obiter dicta.

In the pages that follow an attempt has been made to present the subject briefly, yet with due attention to its origins, its historical progress, and its present-day importance. Developments due to the World War have aroused a new appreciation of the vast possibilities here offered to achievement; not merely for purposes of spectacular entertainment, or the grim needs of battle, but also for vital attainments in the industrial activities of our complex civilization.

And the first preparation for the work of the future is a knowledge of what has already been accomplished in the past.