The Larger the cannon Start a family tradition this holiday! The Big Bang Cannon is one of those great toys that becomes a family heirloom. I've had mine since and that cast iron carbide cannon still makes one heck of a BOOM!
Operation[ edit ] Calcium carbide was one of the first products of electric arc furnaces , made economical by Niagara Falls in After cooling, irregular chunks were packed in air-tight containers for sale and used to generate acetylene gas by slowly dropping water on them. These toys operate by introducing a little carbide into a chamber containing some water where it reacts immediately to release acetylene gas. A few seconds later long enough for the gas to spread out in the chamber, but short enough for it not to be lost out the barrel , it is ignited. A means for introducing fresh air for the next explosion is also provided. That model used battery-operated spark-coil ignition; widely sold mid-century models created a spark as modern lighters do using ferrocerium. Another key feature of these devices as toys, is that acetylene explosions, compared to gunpowder, were much safer.