In an explosive, pyrotechnic device, or military munition, a fuse (or fuze) is the part of the device that initiates function. In common usage, the word fuse is used indiscriminately. However, when being specific (and in particular in a military context), the term fuse describes a simple pyrotechnic initiating device, like the cord on a firecracker whereas the term fuze is sometimes used when referring to a more sophisticated ignition device incorporating mechanical and/or electronic components, such as a proximity fuze for an M107 artillery shell, magnetic or acoustic fuze on a sea mine, spring-loaded grenade fuze, pencil detonator, or anti-handling device.
Documented evidence suggests that the earliest fuses were first used by the Song Chinese between the 10th and 12th centuries. After the Chinese invented gunpowder, they began adapting its explosive properties for use in military technology.
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