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The test tube is placed within the brass cannon for safety; should the explosion shatter the test tube, the metal would prevent flying glass. The hydrogen and chlorine do not react when they are just mixed together, but the reaction can be initiated by a bright light.
An alcohol-soaked fuse is placed upon a small mound of ammonium dichromate and ignited. The orange ammonium dichromate decomposes to form nitrogen, water vapor, and fluffy greenish-black chromium(III) oxide.
(NH4)2Cr2O7 —> N2 + 4H2O + Cr2O3