Nostalgic thoughts and two old photos

Discussion in 'Fireworks Nostalgia, Collectables And History' started by Cantoris, Nov 6, 2021.

  1. Still think we need a glossy coffee table book of pics of old fireworks. A potted visual history with descriptions of effects and the like. It would go well with my retro computing books!
    I saw someone had made some stunning large size clay models for an exhibition. I'm surprised someone hasn't tried 3D printing models. I guess reproduction of original label designs for them would have copyright issues though. A 3D model of an Air Bomb and a Screecher side by side on the mantelpiece would make for quite the talking point...
  2. Tinderbox

    Tinderbox Pro Firer/Crew Supports UKFR

    Absolutely magic mate. I also see in the far background, lying flat on the grass you also found two larger rockets. One definitely being a Standard with what looks like a cylindrical header. Possibly shrapnel or tadpoles effect. Red wrapper with white starbursts.

    You have three Floodlights and two Astrolite in your second pic. Two Jet Scream, a few airbombs and tons of others I recognise. In fact, I recognise every single firework in both pictures. All mostly Standard and from my childhood era too. Many fond memories of doing exactly what you describe. Heading out the next day to look for spent casings was as magical as the night itself. I think we all did a bit of that. I remember I made a display on my bedroom window cill as though it was a shop window display. It was a particularly big haul of dead fireworks that day after mooching around local bonfire patches that still smouldered in the early morning. The dew-damp cases were particularly pungent and filled my room with a wondrous pong. All soon to be removed and discarded by ye olde parents. Didn't stop me going out and looking for more.
    Pyro Ed, Jamie Thornton and Cantoris like this.
  3. That's brilliant, Tinderbox! Hilarious you brought them all indoors and set them out - I can imagine how well that went down, as they are quite pungent.
    I knew the Air Bombs and Super Sonic Bangs quite well but the Astrolite was exciting to find as it was visibly clearly related to them but I'd never knowingly seen one lit. It was to be forever a mystery!
    Somehow I suspect that kids now are not likely to be out doing the same as much as we did. Rather sad really.
    Jamie Thornton likes this.
  4. Tinderbox

    Tinderbox Pro Firer/Crew Supports UKFR

    I think I only ever had one Floodlight work properly on me. The others I had over the years (80's-90's) never seemed to offer much but the one that did shot out a bushy white comet after that pale potassium lilac fountain start that all those in that air bomb family did (Jet Scream, Floodlight, Screecher, Air Bomb, Super Sonic Bang, Star Shell etc). They all used the same tubes and spikes and all had that tamped sandy looking composition under the touch paper to get it all going. The projectiles were wrapped in a type of fuse made of two halves of white paper with two runs of blackpowder going through. This transmitted fire from the fountain start, bypassed the projectile and lit the lift charge below. Someone did a dissection in the nostalgia forum. You'll have to do some trawling through to find it but I am guessing that wont be any hardship. Lots of amazing stuff to look through here.
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  5. Cossy

    Cossy Pro Firer/Crew Supports UKFR

    Great pictures & brings back so many great memories.

    Cheers for posting
    Cantoris likes this.
  6. Firework Art

    Firework Art Supports UKFR

    These! I've some new once ready to decorate soon, when I get the chance. Mainly bangers plus a classic Old English Spangles that I decided to make.

    Re copyright: it's a cloudy area. The copyright actually belongs to the artist, not the company, unless specifically contracted by the company - something the companies did not do. The companies never kept records, not even the names of the designers, which is a sad oversight. Technically, someone could come along and claim these rights, with evidence, but this is highly unlikely. After I wrote Firework Art in 2005, I had newspaper and magazine articles across the UK asking for any info on the label artists, their relatives, co-workers etc and not one single person got in touch. I particularly wanted to reach out to the incredible artist who designed most of Pain's Fireworks iconic 60 & 70s labels. All I knew was he (that's about as much info as I could discover) worked for a printing firm in Glasgow, called J.J. Murdoch. Nobody replied with any info, even after an appeal in the Scottish press. It's really sad as I would love to link names to specific designs, and give them credit for all the pleasure their creations have given across the decades.

    In short, using the old designs, within reason, is highly unlikely to result in copyright claims. In fact, by using & publishing the designs, it makes it difficult for someone to latterly slap a speculative copyright on them (think patent trolls such as certain photographic agencies who claim bogus image rights to old photos). I have no copyright claims over the original artworks as featured in the book, and my cleaned up versions are freely available online (I love seeing them pop up on Pinterest etc), however I did mark each image with a unique fingerprint, making that particular repaired image completely unique, which means I can stop copyright trolls and large commercial companies from using my images for their own gain without due credit. The images are now preserved in their full brilliance for the enjoyment of all. T.b.h., I might have to do another volume or two as I have barely scraped the surface of the collected designs!

    Attached Files:

  7. Love those models!
    Thanks for the info about the copyright situation. Rather sad that we can't credit the designers.
    Just snapped up your book off eBay! Pity there's no Kindle version around...
    As attractive as the labels are, there's something evocative about seeing them in-situ on the original firework too.
    Firework Art likes this.
  8. Richard Lane

    Richard Lane Supports UKFR

    Mark..I don’t think you have much to worry about vis a vis any copyright claims….I think I’m right in saying they may be covered by a statute of limitations regarding time out provisions on this …but it seems pretty dead to me given what your experience has been to date. Richard.
  9. I vaguely remember that sandy comp you mention that was used to "get it all going" any ideas what that was?

    There is an article in Fireworks mag 50 profile Rainer Davis where a Gordon Gumn an employee of Wallop fireworks made labels at Bemeler cottage Wallop "Bemeler art studios" A good read if you have that copy.
  10. Firework Art

    Firework Art Supports UKFR

    Absolutely. The good thing is, because of the lack of records and the apparent indifference to credit the artists, we have a greater access to the artwork today than for any other commercial product from the recent past. If someone wants to create mugs or posters, they can. It gives a second life to these wonderful items, and a life far lengthier than their original physical existence. Their smoke may have long since faded, but their brilliance still dazzles.
  11. Firework Art

    Firework Art Supports UKFR

    I hope you enjoy it!
    Cantoris likes this.
  12. Great post, like quite a few other forum members my formative experiences of fireworks were around the same time (late '80s to early '90s?) and by the time I was old enough to legally buy fireworks British-made pyro was on its way out (though well before this I would buy a small selection box, and a few loose fireworks, yearly with the help of my parents)

    I collected loads of spent fireworks and a couple of years was lucky enough to have friends/neighbours give me the remains of their garden displays, once including a whole load of Brocks fireworks which I had never seen before. In my local area (Maidenhead, Berkshire) there only ever seemed to be Standard or Astra, until Chinese imports like Esco and Black Cat started to appear. I actually really liked (and still like) the stylised, geometric artwork Astra used from the late 80s onwards, but I thought Standard were by far the best in terms of quality and value for money.

    I was also a fan of the Standard air bomb, screecher, floodlight etc. and once bought the Aerial selection box which had one of each! Finding loads of spent bangers with the centre blown out is also a vivid memory for me. It was a challenge finding an intact one for my collection! Bangers, along with air bombs etc. seemed to disappear from the streets several years before they were actually banned. Chinese-made "5 Sound Bloom" mini-salute roman candles also seemed to be popular with the banger/air bomb crowd where I lived, I found lots of spent ones around and remember being amused by the label text "danger, shoots flamming (sic) balls, do not held in hand!"

    I remember my first encounters with Chinese imports, first just as spent fireworks in the local parks - the first cakes (News Transmitter), mini-fountains in boxes, and bigger ones on plastic pedestal bases, were all very weird-looking to my eye. I also remember mini rockets with two sticks (Flying Monkeys or similar) which I've never seen again. When I actually bought my first Chinese fireworks - an Esco "Phantom Siren" fountain - I was totally blown away by the duration, variety and spectactular effects (including plenty of crackle of course...) It's only with hindsight that I miss the individuality and hand-crafted design of the British-made fireworks!

    I also have your book - bought around 10 years ago - it was one of the things that got me interested in firework history again.
  13. Thanks for that e_pinniger! Same time-frame as me, yes. By the time I was buying, it was things like Banshee Thunder and an Air Bomb thingy that my mind recalls as basically a small mortar and shell combo with a long fuse that entered at the bottom. I forget the name (maybe "Bazooka"?) but it set the car alarms going. I'm pretty sure it launched its payload with quite a bang rather than a roman candle-like pffutt! I also once excitedly bought some Kimbolton having stumbled over them for the first and only time in Manchester's China Town!
  14. Tinderbox

    Tinderbox Pro Firer/Crew Supports UKFR

    Definately coarse KNO3 with some charcoal. It also had some light brown or beige looking stuff in it too. May have been wood meal. It had to be cheap whatever it was. Just a crude, coarse mix of nitrate and fuels I'd say. Nothing special at all. It just did the job. It's a very unique design really. I wonder if they contemplated bypassing this and just putting a fuse strait into the lift from the bottom of the tube like all other chinese imports did? It would have saved them a ton of money. But then, that would have removed that magical anticipation that Standard's airbombs gave you. That pale lilac flame was noting special to look at on it's own but in the context of what was to follow, it was memserising and made a young boy wince. Chin and neck buried in hunched shoulders waiting for that golden corkscrew to shoot out and deliver an almighty "wham". Way better than any chinese crap that followed. Except Black Cat's Thunder Kings and Cosmic's Mega! They were brutal.
  15. Tinderbox

    Tinderbox Pro Firer/Crew Supports UKFR

    Cantoris likes this.
  16. Thanks for that link! Fascinating stuff!