Steeple Claydon Fireworks Hardware
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I have been asked on several occasions how do our fireworks differ from those normally available in shops during the Bonfire Night period. Whilst the fundamental principles are very similar, ie: they go bang whiz whirl or fly etc. they differ in general construction and the way in which they are displayed. They also, by their nature, usually end up much larger than the average garden firework. We fire similarly fireworks whose names are probably familiar to you. For example – Rockets, Roman Candles and Fountains, are all used in the show, however those which you may not be so familiar with are Shells, Mines, Cakes and some of the set pieces we build ourselves, made from lances. To answer some of your questions, I have put to-gether some pictures of the equipment we use and some of the fireworks we fire each year to give you an idea of w hat goes into our displays. The first picture is that of the Control Panel, built to fire Shells and Mines safely, this unit can fire up to 120 single shells/mines or combinations of shells and mines and other set pieces.

To complement the above Control Panel, we use up to three ‘Slave Boxes’ which we connect to the Harting Connectors shown in the top right hand corner of the picture – these units allow the firework fusing to be connected to the control box and places the fireworks at a safe distance from the firer.

When a display is set up we have to conform to certain rules that are in place and this ensures public safety (and that of our own) If you imagine a cupful of gunpowder set on a flat board, when lit a mild explosion would occur along with a bright flash. Not much help if you wish to propel a shell or mine into the air. What we need is a firing tube (not dissimilar to a rifle barrel) Below is a selection of the tubes we use to launch all shells you see in our displays. The largest we fire is 8” diameter as shown in the red/black tube. Shells are manufactured up to 24” diameter, but would be too big to use in the recreation ground.

Shown below are a selection of shells and mines used in our display.

Shown below is a sample of the Millennium 4000 rocket currently available for display use. They are approx 3” in diameter and soar to approx 400 ft. before exploding.

Below is a selection of the type of fuse we use in our displays: Tape Match is used to light our lancework (set pieces) such as Spitfire and Thunderbirds images Quickmatch is used between any type of firework that has to be ignited simultaneously and burns at 1m/sec Electric Igniters are used to fire shells and mines electrically Not Shown is a fuse called PIC (Plastic Igniter Cord) this burns at 25mm/sec and we use this fuse to place time delays between fireworks should we need it. Portfires are used to light ground fireworks such as cakes etc and lancework

Mike Wells

Link: Firework safety

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