Old Technology - Blue Touchpaper

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

  1. Tinderbox

    Tinderbox Pro Firer/Crew

    I emailed Standard with a request to visit the old site... Do they even still own that plot now?
     
  2. standard steve

    standard steve Supports UKFR

    black cat own the site , sold back in the late 90s , its been slipping into a bad state of repairs for decades , ive been to crossland hill quite a few times over the years , im surprised it wasn't knocked down and built on years ago . its only a warehouse know, and an office . its a shame , but the worlds moved on .
     
  3. All that is left is a rather shabby looking concrete building behind a pair of gates, the rest just looks like derelict land.
     
  4. Tinderbox

    Tinderbox Pro Firer/Crew

    Recent aerial photos show shed plots and test sights. Admittedly not much to see but I'd still like to visit nonetheless. Never been. Just to sate a curiosity I guess...
     
  5. standard steve

    standard steve Supports UKFR

  6. Maybe there's a forgotten secret bunker at the site where a huge stash of old pyro lurks :p
     
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  7. jww

    jww Supports UKFR

    I note that "light the blue touch paper" appeared in a journalist written article very recently. I wonder if younger readers "get" that one ? - and also wonder how long the term will survive in common use. Forever if I'm helping :)
     
  8. Tinderbox

    Tinderbox Pro Firer/Crew

    I think it's fairly well imbedded.
     
  9. jww

    jww Supports UKFR

    BTP priming to transition from the glow of the paper to the main effect in interesting. I've been reading up on primes from various sources and as usual plenty to go at. I've not investigated much about how / when the prime was applied, but it's a tad more subtle than one might hope I suspect. Ensuring that the prime actually adheres to the BTP, and is chemically compatible all around are important of course. The little "spout" device used by Standard Fireworks, a small often red or blue tube which fitted into bangers, quick-match (leaders) on set pieces and various other is interesting. A secondary delay after the BTP. It's mentioned ( not by name ) in Revd. Lancaster's book - and he notes a gold rain type formulation I believe i.e. gunpowder + charcoal. All interesting "research", I'll hope to post a bit more substance when I've a bit of time.
     
  10. Tinderbox

    Tinderbox Pro Firer/Crew

    "The little "spout" device used by Standard Fireworks, a small often red or blue tube which fitted into bangers, quick-match (leaders) on set pieces and various other is interesting. A secondary delay after the BTP. It's mentioned ( not by name ) in Revd. Lancaster's book - and he notes a gold rain type formulation I believe i.e. gunpowder + charcoal."

    That's known as a 'spollette'. An Italian term. Spollettes are sometimes known as 'pressed powder delays' and are used in European and American (they brought the methods to the USA via Italy) cylindrical shells. Though these use a much faster and hotter burning black powder formula which is rammed rather than just tamped like the bangers were. Often, the wire and funnel method was used in banger spollettes. The wire goes through the funnel and into the tube. Powder is introduced into the funnel by a scoop at a time. The wire is then thrust up and down by hand to agitate the powder and help it transfer into the parent tube easily. The wire then perform a secondary duty where it also compacts the powder firmly into the tube to keep it from spilling out. A spollette on a shell is rammed by mallet and drift so the powder becomes one solid grain. A tamped powder would not survive the forces involved in the left of the shell and would be knocked free during the lift.

    I know Standard used to have a lot of their smaller single tubed devices like garden fountains and Air Bombs loaded upside down. The finished tubes would come into the loading sheds complete with their BTP and wrappers. The BTP was also twisted closed but the bottem end was opne, ready to take the load.



    They were loaded into small racks and jigs which held several tubes upside down. A dosing tray was added on top which would take a measure of composition spread evenly and the a kind of 'trap door' slide which loosed the dose into each tube simultaneously. A simple yet affective technique. Then a drift and mallet would tamp the comp' tightly. Pressing it up against the BTP. Then a scoop of course sawdust was added and to seal it, a dollop of resin type glue. In the case of Air Bombs, The passfire fuse (two runs of BP trapped between two adhesive white paper strips) was pushed in, the projectile unit dropped in, a small tissue paper twist of BP lift powder dropped in, a paper end cap and then the red plastic spike finished it off.



    In terms of devices requiring delay like the Snow Storm etc, I am unsure if this was added in the upside down process or if these things needed to be made right side up. As in, the bottom bungs were made, then the comp, then the delay and then the BTP twisted into the wet prime slurry and left to dray/cure. I'm no expert on the old ways but I know Standard during the 80s used a BP slurry with a small percentage of metal powder to increase the flame temperature. The slurry then hardened with the BTP stuck into it.



    There are tons of primes and I'm sure a slurry paste type was not always the answer when BTP was the primary fuse.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
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  11. Jamie Thornton

    Jamie Thornton Supports UKFR

    Very interesting information, thanks for sharing this valuable info.
     
  12. Tinderbox

    Tinderbox Pro Firer/Crew

    Replace the word "delay" with the word "prime". Why I kept saying "delay" I do not know. Well, actually I do, becaue I've drank a bottle of port!
     
    jww likes this.
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  14. Tinderbox

    Tinderbox Pro Firer/Crew

    Yes. I am. Air bombs and some small fountains. Filled upside down. Look at the dissection of an old British Air Bomb by Standard. There are pics somewhere in the forum... I remember seing actual footage back in the day of these being made by hand on the Huddersfield site.

    Look at the base of old British fountains. The liquid resin has set with a rise at the tube walls showing they were upside down until the resin had cured.
     
  15. jww

    jww Supports UKFR

    As a broad observation, for me it's a fascinating fact that the finished pyro. article is *always* the result of a lot more subtlety, trade-craft, empirical work and of course some pure technical and scientific know-how than might be obvious. For example, you might submit a chemical to endless tests to say it's good for a formula - but if old Fred in the mixing shed says "nah, that won't work !" - having been mixing same for 20 years, you can bet your dollar that he's right - there are so many factors - as noted by the Revd. Ron. He describes the difficulty of everything from Catherine Wheel formulae to getting strobe stars consistent to variability in e.g. Aluminium powders - even between batches from a supplier. A key part of the "art" for me is the ability to deliver a device within this envelope to achieve the desired item :) JW.
     
  16. I haven't read all the thread so apologies in advance if you have already found a solution. The paper used for the spectacle wipes from Aldi or may be the hand wipes from KFC seems the same look and texture as I remember when dry only white. Mabey try dying one blue, it doesn't rip when twisted, it hase that mat grainy look
     
  17. Tinderbox

    Tinderbox Pro Firer/Crew

    I think the impregnation of nitrate crystals tends to embrittle the overall properties of some, if not all papers. Some can withstand the embrittlement more than others when dried and then twisted. It's during the twist that they either hold or give way. Worth trying the Aldi and KFC papers. My hunch is that they just used newsprint. I still haven't got around to trying newsprint.
     
  18. jww

    jww Supports UKFR

    If you hold original BTP "up to the light" you'll notice it's a very light, course, thin and flimsy paper really. MUCH more so than newspaper. Keep in mind that paper exists in an unlimited number of types, and also that some paper is consumer/public, and some is industrial. If one studies a bit about paper, it's clearly a complex material with a lot of engineering, craft and customisation in its creation. 25gsm to maybe 40gsm weight are all "game on" in the hunt, but if a particular characteristic of the paper - e.g. the finish or clay content - is off - then that's one step away from "the real thing" of course ;) Just my layman's views. JW.
     
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  19. jww

    jww Supports UKFR

    Recently distracted by the wrapping paper around a bottle of wine - it's somewhat glossy, akin to plain newspaper paper, but very obviously more toward the translucent end of the market as previously noted. I'll "do the process" being developed and report back. My gut feeling is that the sparse fibre nature of genuine BTP, and the relationship between that, its mechanical features and the air/oxidiser dynamic at "run time" all play a part in the signature of this material. Reviewing lots of old fireworks, the way the paper was wrapped tightly certainly shows a thinner paper accepting this manipulation more than something heavier - as noted, the issue of tearing of the paper to be considered. Onward ! JW.
     
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  20. Most of the smaller stuff was filled upside down. The labels and touch paper were wrapped onto the tubes using a machine that was originally designed for wrapping rolls of sweets. The volume of material Standard produced was amazing.