In a study of American history by a Harvard graduate student, he traced the invention of firearms back to the Black Warrior. William Thompson, was an Irish artisan working in his cottage making gunpowder. When the British troops camped near Massaponia, on the Island of New England, Thompson and his friend brewer brought some gun powder from Ireland with them to help the Americans fight the British. Thompson did not invent firearms but he perfected their use.
To make black powder, a combination of baking soda and charcoal is needed. These ingredients can be prepared through a simple process of grinding corn meal, dry corn meal and saltpeter. In order to make pistol powder, potassium nitrate is mixed with sulphur powder. Potassium nitrate is the cause for the black powder we use in our firearms today. Other kinds of gunpowder were used but the one we know today only uses potassium nitrate and sulfur powder.
Before we examine who invented gunpowder, let us first look at how it works. Once wet, gunpowder generates a chemical reaction that changes its properties. The catalyst is believed to be sulfur or potash. Potassium is also believed to be a catalyst.
Another question that may arise is who invented smokeless powder, as it is sometimes called. Smokeless gunpowder is a derivative of black powder, just as potassium nitrate is a derivative of gunpowder. Both are made by mixing ingredients to create a compound, which when heated creates smoke. The difference is that smokeless gunpowder does not generate smoke, but only produces a little bit of smoke, as compared to the amount given off by black powder. However, the question is should we call it gunpowder or not, because we all know that gunpowder is really a gas?
The four great inventions of the past must be considered when thinking about who invented firearms. These four inventions include stone, wheelbarrow, pistol and rifle. Although there were gunpods in existence long before the time of Christopher Columbus, he did introduce this new technology to Europe. Columbus was actually the first person to use the wheels, giving impetus to the spread throughout Europe of gunpowder technologies.
The fourth great invention was lead, which helped to reduce the manufacturing time needed to produce gunpowder. Lead was discovered by accident, when a scientist found that adding lead to oil (sugar) helped make gunpowder. This discovery made gunpowder more affordable, making it more commonly available to ordinary people.