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Old British Bangers


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#1 concept

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 07:44 PM

I'm a big fan of old style British fireworks (pre 1990's) and always wanted to know how they used to make bangers (the ones with a touchpaper fuse). Since fireworks like theses were before my time I never managed to experience these first hand. Any information would be much appreciated. Posted Image

Edited by karlfoxman, 02 March 2008 - 07:50 PM.


#2 karlfoxman

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 07:50 PM

Topic moved and duplicate topic deleted <_<

Now carry on :rolleyes:

#3 dr thrust

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 11:51 PM

well "when i was a lad" we had the standard 3-2-1 bangers which were of a similar design and if i remember correctly they were filled with black powder "grains" you didn't get a particularly loud bang more of a thud? but you got your "pyro fix" :D ps is it just me or does "old british bangers" sound rude?

Edited by chris m, 02 March 2008 - 11:54 PM.


#4 Mortartube

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 12:42 AM

3-2-1 Bangers were filled with Nitrocellulose prills, they also had a hole punched virtually through the entire thickness of the case wall so the chance of getting any sound from them that was not like an overindulgence in sprouts, was nearly immpossible. A few dippings on PVA glue did help a a bit though.

I believe that flashpowder bangers disappeared in the early 60's. I have some fairly modern recreations of those flashpowder bangers that were made by Edwin Bailey of Argos fireworks in the 80's and they are not too bad (Mighty Atom etc). Unfortunately they would also quite happily remove a finger or two if misused.

On to the topic in hand. A little tube was filled with black powder paste, this was the delay. When the paste dried, a touchpaper was wound and glued around one end. The larger main body of the banger was clayed at one end and the loose powder inserted. The little delay tube was then glued into the open mouth of the larger tube. If you look at the Astra bangers in the picture you can probably see it quite easily.
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#5 EnigmaticBiker

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 11:21 PM

For the Astra, judging from my memory of the grain size (and a little experimentation) they contained about 1g of 10mesh grain.

I once made replica 3-2-1s (cause the packaging fonts are easy to find) and probably still have a few empty tubes around somewhere.
It was fun to see them again although I agree with Mortartube, the sound wasn't impressive, tape improved them
They made a sort of phutt! noise, bit of a damp squib really :blush:

#6 concept

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 09:46 PM

Thanks for all the info guys I will be making some of my own in the near future, I might use flash instead of BP to give them more of a punch :rolleyes: . Does anyone know the dimensions of the 3-2-1's or have any photocopies of the original labels.



Thanks again, Doug

Edited by concept, 04 March 2008 - 09:47 PM.


#7 dr thrust

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 10:32 PM

hi, id stay away from the flash if i was you! it,ll take off a finger no problem! also it will to loud and bright for a "authentic old banger" maybe a willow pulverone would be a good starting point? thats what id try anyway

#8 Rip Rap

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 08:09 AM

hi, id stay away from the flash if i was you! it,ll take off a finger no problem! also it will to loud and bright for a "authentic old banger" maybe a willow pulverone would be a good starting point? thats what id try anyway


I agree. The 3-2-1 bangers etc had deliberately weak end plugs & weakened side wall so that (unless you taped them up) all you got was a "phhuuut"

If you use good B.P. in the same dimension tube, without the deliberately built in weaknesses, you will get a good enough report (like the 1960's B.P. bangers).
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#9 MDH

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 08:26 AM

Making a report out of black powder is fairly simple. Firstly, roll your own tubes since you know your compositions best. Buy "Elmer's wood glue" which is an excellent product, and spread it down the strip you are rolling your tube out of. This will prevent glued in endplugs from simply getting shot out, and pulling the rest of the rolled tube with it, killing your bang. One the tube is rolled, feel free to add endplugs and fill them with wood glue as well.

The fuse can be out of the top, but it's better out of the side, and twining it does a million and one.

Secondly, a better black powder is an absolute necessity for the best sound unless you are going for a deeper sound and less of an explosive one - You want hazelnut, willow, paulownia - I have used balsa which tends to blow up tubes with open ends with straight Charcoal/KNO3... no milling or anything, it's a very fluffy, messy charcoal that's very reactive (although many members of this community including those who conducted the well known charcoal tests would imply paulownia is the best based on their numbers).

Edited by MDH, 05 March 2008 - 08:29 AM.


#10 concept

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 09:06 PM

My black powder is made using willow charcoal (I always found this gave best results) so I will use this as my report composition, I might make one using flash as well just to compare report difference. Ill video them and post it as soon as I get round to making them.



Cheers, Doug

#11 MDH

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 09:35 AM

I'm finding this topic very interesting as it stems into my own interest in the way they go about making a bang all over the world. Should we start a new topic about different ways that "bangs" are made since there are so many variables and perticulars to take into consideration for each composition and goal of the device (low pitch bang, high pitch, etc)?

Edited by MDH, 06 March 2008 - 09:37 AM.


#12 The Legendary Graham

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 09:16 PM

well "when i was a lad" we had the standard 3-2-1 bangers which were of a similar design and if i remember correctly they were filled with black powder "grains" you didn't get a particularly loud bang more of a thud? but you got your "pyro fix" :D ps is it just me or does "old british bangers" sound rude?


The ones before those were called "Little demons" these didnt have the hole punched through them and were way better.
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#13 dr thrust

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 10:19 PM

how long was the 3-2-1 banger manufactured for? and who made the "little demons" banger, all interesting stuff!,

Edited by chris m, 06 March 2008 - 10:56 PM.


#14 The Legendary Graham

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 08:45 PM

how long was the 3-2-1 banger manufactured for? and who made the "little demons" banger, all interesting stuff!,


little demons were made by standard before they started making the 3.2.1 bangers
We dont do girly shows.!!!

#15 spectrum

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 09:43 PM

I'm a big fan of old style British fireworks (pre 1990's) and always wanted to know how they used to make bangers (the ones with a touchpaper fuse). Since fireworks like theses were before my time I never managed to experience these first hand. Any information would be much appreciated. Posted Image




I worked in the factory in which these little beauties were made. There was a small shed, approximately 20ft square in which there would be 3 or 4 full time permanent ladies working on the job, Each girl would produce around 1500 per day. The tubes were bundled into lots of 19 (I think) in a hexagonal bunch secured with an elastic band, they would be filled through a brass jig in one go and the spouts glued in by hand.

The spouts were charged by a chap who was employed for this job alone, for the whole time he worked at Astra that was all he did, his name was Keith as I recall.

The charge was blackpowder by voluntary agreement and, by voluntary agreement, production / sales were limited I thing to 150,000 units per year although we, like everyone else cheated on this one. Bangers were the biggest seller in the factory.

I am sorry that you were denied the opportunity of enjoying these fireworks, it is ironic that the decision to deny you the pleasure was made by legislators who were not themselves denied the experience of bangers in the younger days. I cannot blame them though. When the fireworks trade (it is NOT an industry now of course) began importing from the far east the gloves were off and a race began to seel as much as possible and damn the consequences. The people involved didn't give a Sh*t and all they wanted was to outperform the competition. It hasn't changed that much since I am afraid and this has contributed to much of the demise, an industry which cannot regulate itself will be deemed to need regulating!!! I'd better get off my soapbox.




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