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Collecting Vintage Fireworks - Where To Start?

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#1 Drawde


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Posted 10 November 2007 - 04:46 PM

I'm interested in collecting examples (preferably "dead" or dummies, rather than live!) of the fireworks I remember as a kid in the 1980s (particularly Standard, Astra and Brocks) but from what I've found searching the web, and reading posts here, it seems like they are extremely hard to find and very expensive. I couldn't find anything on eBay, although I don't know if this is simply due to scarcity or because eBay don't allow fireworks (even dead ones or dummies) to be auctioned? Are there any dealers in old collectable fireworks?

I've tried building some replicas of vintage fireworks, using the labels downloadable from sites like http://www.firework-art.co.uk, and tubes from dismantled dead/spent fireworks. These turned out surprisingly well - has anyone else tried this? (Although I haven't yet managed to find a convincing material to replicate the distinctive blue touchpaper - or the red plastic spikes found on some roman candles, air b ombs etc.)

I've been interested in fireworks for nearly 25 years - ever since I was about 5! - and currently help to organise and set off a small local display (budget about 250) every year, but do not currently have any ambitions to build my own fireworks - mainly due to safety issues, as pyrotechnics and firework design seems a fascinating subject - but I hope you don't mind me posting here all the same! I'd be very interested to hear from any other collectors of vintage fireworks.

Edited by Drawde, 10 November 2007 - 04:51 PM.

#2 EnigmaticBiker


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Posted 10 November 2007 - 07:57 PM

I can't help you with the collecting side, but I've had some success with reproducing the touchpaper using Quink blue and blue/black inks, kraft paper (light brown wrapping or use sugar bags for white) and an alcohol solvent for the ink (like meths or surgical spirit) to reduce the tendency for the paper fibres to lift. Messy but with some trial and error I got some decent looking paper.

Unfortunately the soaking in KNO3 or KClO4 does tend to lift fibres and leave crystals on the surface, I suspect the maufacturers actually calendered (compressed between steel rollers) the paper after impregnating it).

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