The first marker in the walk leading up to the Mercury monument. It reads:
Chinese discovered rockets in the third century B.C.
Bamboo tubes filled with saltpeter, sulfur and charcoal were tossed into a
fire during a religious ritual so that the noise of the explosions would
frighten away the evil spirits. Some imperfectly sealed bamboo tubes
skittered out of the fire propelled by the rapidly burning mixture.