Henry Pratap Phillips

Henry Pratap Phillips was born in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, on 30 September 1922. After completing his higher secondary education from CAM High School Nellore, he moved to College of Engineering (CEG), Guindy, Chennai. During his engineering course, he had a short stint in the Merchant Navy and also in the Indian Navy as an Electrical Artificer in World War II. That was when his ship was torpedoed by an enemy. He swam in shark-infested waters and escaped alive. He rejoined his studies at CEG, completed his course and joined the State Services as an Electrical Engineer, Power distribution. During this period, he was selected for the Indian Army’s Technical Wing in the corps of EME. He retired in September, 1972, and thereafter took up his scholarly pursuit. This book is an ultimate result of the thorough research in the field of gunpowder and gunpowder weapons. Although he had completed his manuscript, he was not fortunate enough to see the same get published, as he passed away on 30 August 1982. As his only son, Pradeep Kumar Phillips took it upon himself to ensure that his father’s hard work was brought to its logical conclusion with its publication.


Gunpowder has been considered as one of the most important discoveries made by man after the wheel. Interestingly, the origin of gunpowder is still shrouded in uncertainty. Nobody can definitely say who actually invented gunpowder and when. Common belief has it that gunpowder was invented in China and then came to India via the Silk Route. Studies done by the author show that gunpowder was actually invented in India went to China via the trade routes, from where it was showcased to World. With gunpowder, came the development of weapons, which changed the course of wars and changed the very course of history. An analysis of various weapons, their development and chronology has been systemat...

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