Old Technology - Blue Touchpaper

Discussion in 'Fireworks Nostalgia, Collectables And History' started by spectrum, Aug 30, 2014.

  1. jww

    jww Supports UKFR

    Just working on updating "the process" plus doing (virtual) experiments so will pop a copy up again when that's done. Hyper-busy with reality just of late, but in this for the long haul :) Awesome are all these contributions, "The pyro is strong with this group!" J.
     
  2. jww

    jww Supports UKFR

    Experiments in progress - will be uploading the results soon - happy Easter !!! J.
     
  3. jww

    jww Supports UKFR

    BTP tests. Any observations welcome. I'll happily include details of variations between each item if of interest. If you can vote for your "favourite" ( left to right is 1..5 ). J.
     

    Attached Files:

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  4. 2 then 5 for me. It is the fact that you can hear the sizzle (which you could with the original BTP) and the speed of burn (5 was slightly too fast from what I can remember from all those years ago)
     
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  5. 2 looks best to me...
     
  6. jww

    jww Supports UKFR

    Smoothness of burning, residue, number of turns of BTP on tube, glue method/type, length of BTP above tube, getting a reference sample of "real" BTP for comparison, moisture content, different methods of application of oxidiser are a few considerations in the frame currently. Effect of windy weather too ! Will prep some more samples based on some of these variables and see what we can achieve. Again, am updating the process doc. with these various finding to try to give a broadly applicable and effective approach ( which I believe we're moving toward ) J.
     
  7. 2,3, and 4 look quite similar,
    whats the difference between samples?

    what dye is it? it looks spot on (apart from the pink):)
     
  8. jww

    jww Supports UKFR

    Hi, Dave., brief summary ( busy with work...) are use of two conc. of oxidiser., use of previously dyed or just dyed ( still wet ) paper, use of two paper types. The pink is as coloured by the manufacturer, so omitting the dye as a comparison. Still RIT dye., kinda take your pick with the various navy, blue dyes, they all give a "good" blue, just depends on your preference I guess. I'll do more work on a) establishing best mix of powder & water for dye, and also work on the dying process a bit more to make the coverage more even and less prone to dye "moving" and creating lighter or darker patches. J.
     
  9. what strenght pot nitrate solutions did you use for 2 ,3, and 4 ?
     
  10. jww

    jww Supports UKFR

    The Saltpetre was used in two concentrations, 40g/litre and 60g/litre. Both hot tap water and a basic lab. purity of Saltpetre rather than for example gardening grade. Paper was either Amazon void fill brown paper dyed blue or the newspaper-like A4 sheets from the pack previously noted. Current observations include the slightly too vigorous burning of the stronger conc. paper and the slightly too sparkly burning. To me, the classic BTP is most like the 40g examples, progressing well but certainly not at a fuse rate. Drying was unforced, with the Saltpetre sprayed on both sides. No roller was used to squeeze out excess water / dye. Secondary drying was on a domestic radiator for a few minutes just to force off any dampness. The paper did now wrinkle much during the process. I'll do some more on this, follow a single process end to end, make a 1/2 dozen sheets and try to declare those as a baseline in terms of quality and requirement.
     
  11. Tinderbox

    Tinderbox Pro Firer/Crew

    Wow, someone's been busy. I've ended up getting sidetracked on a new project but I haven't forgotten about this. The final sample had a bit too much fizz. I liked 2 and 4. Some really good effort put in there jww. Good stuff!
     
  12. jww

    jww Supports UKFR

    So., just to keep things ticking over here - or fizzling - I think that's what BTP does :) Question: Is it true that BTP products would include a little splodge of prime "on the inside" to help ensure ignition of the main charge of the device ? Clearly the way BTP is wrapped around the outside of the tube, it somewhat relies on gravity to ensure a few sparks fall on the main charge ( in the way that any spindle form of fuse ( bickford/visco/igniter etc.) does not, as it's stuffed directly into the main charge ) It can be twisted more tightly and pressed toward the main charge to help with this of course, but a little prime, dobbed on the inner folds would ensure communication from the BTP. Any views very welcome. I've not been inactive btw, various little developments going on as time allows. Some in-situ BTP demo's on the way before too long I hope. Hope all super in collecting and BTP land :) JW. BTW., does anybody know where BTP sits in the spectrum of regulated things ? - it's not really a mixture of anything, it's certainly not a (chemical) compound, it can't provide accurate timing as a fuse but it's not actually banned as a stand alone entity as far as I know ( it can be freely purchased on the internet ). Mmm...funny one....
     
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  13. The only item that I personally remember that had a prime under the BTP was a Standard Traffic Light (that is not to say that there were not many others).
    It was a acaroid resin / red gum type based mix and rock hard! From memory, if you tried to tear away the BTP, big chunks were left stuck in the prime which was smeared over the top of the tube and the composition below.
    It would also be very likely that 50's / 60's bangers etc that used Bickford fuse with a wrap of BTP over the end, had a BP based prime to aid ignition. Just relying on fizzling BTP to light the core of Bickford fuse would lead to a lot of duds.
     
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  14. Bet snowstorm was primed too with all that hard to light barium nitrate and aluminium

    Rod
     
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  15. When did they stop making blue touchpaper? I remember it as a child, but these days that sort of thing would be a H & S nightmare.
     
  16. Tinderbox

    Tinderbox Pro Firer/Crew

    Hi gang. Long time since I was on here. To answer the question of prime being used:
    Yes, a lot of little fountains used BP slurry prime and I believe it was accroides resin or red gum based too. The ones that didn't relied on the twist to be touching the contents of the tube.
    Rockets used lengths of blackmatch to transfer fire through the nozzle to the grain or up into the cavity with whistles. Later on Standard used pale green PIC fuse in their rockets but all still using BTP as the primary ignition.
    Bangers, as I recall relied on the paper twist being close enough to the powder in the spollette (tamped powder in a thin tube). I only recall Standard using a Bickford style blasting type fuse which was used in the final days of bangers. It was a red plastic coated Bickford still used today in blasting and used a grey friction sensitive slurry prime. I discovered this by striking one off the side of a safety matches box like the ones from northern Europe though the instructions never stated this. Not many kids knew friction head bangers existed in the UK and were gobsmacked when I showed them. Black Cat and Cosmic did them as well though the ones Feistel brought out were not friction heads. Just a delicate yellow blob of prime.
     
  17. Bickford fuse in the final days of bangers? Strike ignition?

    Most old school fireworks were initiated with meal powder twisted in to the touch, accroides resin would not have been used due to the expense, Dextrin would be the cheap alternative.

    I still reckon my BT is the best LOL.
     
  18. you forgot the sulpher rod
     
  19. Tinderbox

    Tinderbox Pro Firer/Crew

    Yes. Bickford used by Standard right at the last moment of british bangers. Primed with a grey slurry. It ignited when struck on red phosphorus match strikers. You would have never of known it until you tried it. I was used to having match crackers sent to me by a friend years back so I naturally tried it. Hardly anybody knew. In fact nobody I knew was aware of it. Black Cat and Cosmic bangers did it too. Crazy but true. Standard Used that thick red plastic coated stuff you sometimes see used for time delay intervals on racks of shells and such. I think it's made in Italy. They do a thicker blue version too.

    I could be wrong about the red gum in the primer. I would have thought dextrin would take forever to dry in a slurry... When I smell burning comp using gum as binder, I smell old fireworks. Might be going doolally...
     
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  20. Tinderbox

    Tinderbox Pro Firer/Crew

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