Mysorean Rockets: First iron cased rockets
Mysorean Rockets were the first iron-cased rockets were developed in the late 18th century in the Kingdom of Mysore and successfully deployed for military use.
Mysorean Rockets were iron tubes of gunpowder mounted on swords.
Reproduced from a painting by Charles Hubbell and presented here courtesy of TRW Inc. and Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio.
Hyder Ali(the 18th century ruler of Mysore) and his son and successor, Tipu Sultan used iron-cased rockets effectively against the British East India Company in the Anglo-Mysore Wars during the 1780s and 1790s.
The first gunpowder-powered rockets were developed in Song China, by the 13th century. These rockets were used in warfare from the 13th century , but rockets were rapidly discarded as cannons and other forms of artillery with greater accuracy were developed. Most of these rockets were made of cardboard and other materials and they were not very different from our Diwali festival crackers i.e. lots of smoke and noise.
It was Tipu Sultan who pondered, planned and crafted iron tubes, filled them with gunpowder, fastened them to swords or bamboo poles, and created the predecessor of the modern rocket with a range of about 2km, the best in the world at that time. The cylindrical iron casing allowed for greater compression of the propellant or gunpowder, and the swords or bamboo poles provided stability , which was previously absent. This meant the rockets could travel further, and provide a greater bang and cause more destruction at the other end.
Based on Mysorean Rockets, the Congreve rocket was developed as a British military weapon, designed and developed by Sir William Congreve in 1804.