The Practical Pyromaniac by William Gurstelle
Build Fire Tornadoes, One-Candlepower Engines, Great Balls of Fire, and More Incendiary Devices

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Combining science, history, and DIY pyrotechnics, this book for the workbench warrior explains humankind’s most useful and paradoxical tool: fire. William Gurstelle, author of the bestselling Backyard Ballistics, presents 25 projects with instructions, diagrams, photos, and links to video demonstrations that enable people of all ages to explore and safely play with fire. From Franklin’s stove to Diesel’s engine, explosive and fascinating tales are told of the great pyromaniacs who scientifically revealed the mysteries of fire such as “Gunpowder” Joseph Priestly, who discovered oxygen; Antoine Lavoisier, the father of chemistry; and Humphrey Davy, whose chemical discoveries and fiery inventions saved thousands of lives. By following the directions inside, the curious can replicate these breakthrough scientists’ experiments and inventions from the simply fascinating one-candlepower engine to the nearly magical fire piston and an incredible tornado of fire.


About William Gurstelle

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William Gurstelle is a professional engineer who has been researching and building model catapults and ballistic devices for more than 30 years. He is the author of Absinthe & Flamethrowers, The Art of the Catapult; the bestselling Backyard Ballistics; Building Bots, Whoosh, Boom, Splat; and Notes from the Technology Underground. He is a contributing editor at Make magazine and writes frequently for The Rake, Wired, and several other national magazines.
Published June 1, 2011 by Chicago Review Press. 224 pages
Genres: Science & Math, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Gurstelle (Absinthe & Flamethrowers: Projects and Ruminations on the Art of Living Dangerously, 2009, etc.), pyrotechnic aficionado and professional engineer, releases a powderkeg in this book, which blends history and science education with fire-inspired DIY projects.

Jun 15 2011 | Read Full Review of The Practical Pyromaniac: Bui...

The Wall Street Journal

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I spent hours lighting those on fire on my parents' hearth and watching them slowly burn.

Jul 16 2011 | Read Full Review of The Practical Pyromaniac: Bui...

Bookmarks Magazine

Among them are hot-headed "Gunpowder" Joseph Priestley, who discovered oxygen, and Antoine Lavoisier, the father of chemistry who lost his head on the guillotine, as well as scientist and spy Count Rumford and dapper Humphrey Davy whose chemical discoveries and fiery inventions saved thousands of...

Jul 17 2011 | Read Full Review of The Practical Pyromaniac: Bui...

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