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British bangers from the 1980s


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#16 MrFinster

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 07:23 PM

those pictures and videos brought back some memories, thank you for posting that. 1985, bored 16 year old and a pack of 3 2 1 's and its genie time.

i do remember buying some feistal bangers in about 1996 ish, looked a bit like those astra ones with the crimped neck and black primer cap.

#17 spectrum

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 09:19 AM

Astra Bangers.

We had a shed which was permanently dedicated to banger production at Astra. There were between three and four girls working there constantly, two old women (they were ancient to me then) were engaged throughout the entire time I was there, various women filled the other positions from time to time.

It was a nice spacious workshop, light and roomy and square in shape located in the old part of the factory. One woman came to work in my department shortly before I left to join another company ithin the group and I recall asking her questions about bangers, I can't remember all the questions or answers but do remember her telling me that they produced 3500 per day. In this shed they filled, fused and boxed the bangers.

The fuses or "spouts" were produced in another smaller shed in a different part of the factory by a chap called Keith, this is all he ever did in all the time I worked there. They came into the factory from outworkers I presume or maybe they were rolled that way by the tube manufacturer.

Anyway, they came into the factory in hexagonal bundles and all Keith had to do was scoop fuse composition onto the bundle and stem them solid with a little brass tool and a mallet. The composition was a slowed down blackpowder, basically mealed B.P. with Potassium Nitrate and Charcoal added.

The tubes came in ready printed, I seem to recall they were not produced by the same company which rolled the majority of our tubes, these were a specialised tube, the name of the manufacturer was something like "the penny tube company" , I am guessing a bit at the name but it was something like this. They may even have come in from overseas, possibly Sweden.

There was a voluntary limit on the number of bangers sold and a voluntary agreement to only use Blackpowder as the charge. Astra (I presume like everyone else) complied with the second rule but ignored the first. Bangers were our biggest selling single firework.

As for other manufacturers. I worked with an old chap called Larry Oliver, Larry had worked around the business from soon after the war. He told me about one manufacturer he worked for, it may have been Benwells or it may have been Rainbow, they used to receive mal from enthusiastic kids about their bangers. One topic which was hotly debated was which banger was loudest. The company played on this but the truth of the matter was that they were all identical except for the label

After I left Sandwich the industry became a trade and those associated with it imported their goods from China. At this point certain companies blatantly ignored the voluntary restriction on the use of flash - as soon as one did certain others followed suit - I suppose they could not compete in noise terms and felt the need to join in to maintain their competitive edge.

The upshot was that bangers became a nuisance and were marketed as such by companies wanting to make money out of nuisance fireworks. Then they were banned.

They were, in fact, great fun and probably quite harmless. They were too weak then to do any harm and too quiet to be a real nuisance. They are an example of the way in which greed has all but destroyed the business.

#18 patrickescotland

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 01:10 PM

Spectrum, many thanks for the info and insight into production of bangers at the factory. The sight, sound and smell of those little beauties will be missed!
The flame that burns half as long burns twice as bright...

#19 David

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 11:22 PM

The upshot was that bangers became a nuisance and were marketed as such by companies wanting to make money out of nuisance fireworks. Then they were banned.

They were, in fact, great fun and probably quite harmless. They were too weak then to do any harm and too quiet to be a real nuisance. They are an example of the way in which greed has all but destroyed the business.


To some extent, we are going full circle. Flash bangers would now be 1.3G, of course, but it will be a million to one chance that bangers are ever legal in Britain again, even as blackpowder.

A small blackpowder banger is a bit like a party popper pop- small and harmless.
OK, interest in fireworks to be resumed in the spring. It usually is. ;)

#20 Spyrotechnics

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 08:23 AM

Flash bangers would now be 1.3G


a "banger" with more than 25% flash powder would actually be 1.1G :)

#21 David

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 01:28 PM

a "banger" with more than 25% flash powder would actually be 1.1G :)


Bloody hell, is it that strict now?
OK, interest in fireworks to be resumed in the spring. It usually is. ;)

#22 Mortartube

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 02:13 PM

That's easy just make the tube longer and put a long clay plug in the end. That makes packing more than 25%. Also a BP delay fuse at the other end.
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#23 David

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 03:20 PM

Oh, I see- they include things like clay plugs as part of the composition- thats not as draconian as it sounds, then.
OK, interest in fireworks to be resumed in the spring. It usually is. ;)

#24 Mortartube

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 04:00 PM

TBH I am not totally sure. But I believe it is the overall firework weight. I stand to be corrected I am sure.
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#25 David

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 04:11 PM

In the case of bangers, it remains largely an academic point. However, it is useful to know how this will affect things like airb0mb cakes such as Epic's "the Beast" which is currently 1.3G.

Edited by David, 14 April 2009 - 04:12 PM.

OK, interest in fireworks to be resumed in the spring. It usually is. ;)

#26 Spyrotechnics

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 04:15 PM

its the chemical composition weight that is used for the 25% calculation, nothing to do with the packaging, the same goes for items such as airbomb cakes, if they were 1.3G last year then they will have contained < 25% flash powder :)




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