Skills to have in the endarkenment

Michael Winning

Make your own fireworks for entertainment on November 5th: (From “Hobbies Weekly”, September 1938.)

Schoolboys will be turning their minds to topical entertainment at this time of year. Get about three pounds of old newspaper, trim roughly to size, and roll tightly round slightly tapered wooden dowels to a thickness of about 1/4 inch of tight paper. The dowles should be about 3/4″ to 1″ in diameter. Soak the entire cylinder in papier-mache, while tightly bundled, and let dry thoroughly for a couple of weeks in the sun. Secure the dry cylinder with quite a large amount of brown paper adhesive tape. Pull out the wood formers and cut to the required length of thunderflash with a good sharp hacksaw, allowing about three inches for the combined length of the top and bottom plugs, which can be cut from wine cork and then secured with tar. A good charge-length is about 6 inches or more, so make the overall tube length about 9 or 10 inches.

Obtain about three pounds of good black powder from your chemist or iron-monger, it should be about 2d a pound. Fill the hollow dry newspaper tightly with dry powder, insert a suitable fuse such as industrial blasting-fuse or good guncotton, and plug with tar. There should be about a foot of good reliable fuse free of the exterior. Let dry. This should be sufficient for about two dozen fireworks. Clean up spillages carefully with wooden brushes andtools.

Iron filings can be profitably added to the black powder, for a golden shower effect. Your ironmonger will oblige. Do not stand within about 30 feet of the lit firework, and retire immediately the fuse has “taken”.

One response to “Skills to have in the endarkenment

  1. 30 ft? That must have been a commendable bang. Soon we shall be so secure we can die in safety. I almost cried when I read it.