How a Grenade Works

Grenades have played a part in warfare for hundreds of years. They were originally developed around 1000 AD by the Chinese, just on­e application of their r­evolutionary gunpowder technology. Europeans came up with their own versions in the 15th and 16th centuries, with mixed results.

The typical design of these early grenades was a hollow metal container filled with gunpowder. Soldiers simply lit a ­wick and tossed the grenade -- as fast as they could. By the 18th century, these weapons had fallen out of favor: They weren't especially useful in the battle style of the time, and the simple design made them extremely dangerous.