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The work of an Augsburg gunsmith and firework maker, Daniel Kramer, the manuscript, bound in contemporary vellum, is divided into two parts, the first being based on a “renowned and experienced work” [unnamed but probably Furttenbach’s Halintro-Pyrobolia of 1627] and the second being solely concerned with Kramer’s own experiments and research.

The first part follows the general format of both Furrtenbach and other Büchsenmeisterei manuals in having preliminary sections on cannon design and construction, as well as that of cannonballs themselves, grenades, rockets, as well as an introduction to the science of detonation. It then moves on to the more sophisticated art of firework making.

All of these sections are fully illustrated and some of the 63 full- or near full-page ink and watercolour illustrations found in the manuscript depict elaborate spectacles of castles, galleys and towers fully rigged with different type of fireworks, while three folding plates show cannon and barrels in various stages of construction.

The second, independent section of Kramer’s manuscript discusses the preparation and requisite proportions of gunpowder, and continues with work on detonation devices and pyrotechnic spectacles of his own design.

Some of the illustrations in this part of the manuscript depict Kramer and others detonating various devices and, incidentally, provide an additional, and sometimes unintentionally amusing glimpse into the costume of the period – as in the two examples reproduced here.

The work is unrecorded in the most likely references. It is not to be found in Lotz’s Das Feuerwerk, or indeed in Jähns or Cockle, and neither is it mentioned in John Eliot Hodgkins’ 1902 account of his extensive collection of early books on fireworks. Kramer too is something of a mystery and we have only his own statement that he was an Augsburg gunsmith and fireworker, but there was a family of goldsmiths of that name working in Augsburg in the early part of the 17th century.