|The Art of Pyrotechny
W.H. Browne, Ph.D., M.A., L.R.C.P., &c.
Author of "Gun Cotton and other Explosive Compounds," "The Chemistry of Warfare," &c., &c.
Described on the title page as:
The Art of Pyrotechny
Comprehensive and Practical Instructions for the Manufacture of Fireworks,
Specially Designed for the Use of the Amateur
William Henry Browne was regarded as the best English pyrotechnist of the late 1800s. This is a high-quality reprint of his master work, originally published in London in 1873. The Art of Pyrotechny remains a valuable and very useful guide to making professional-quality fireworks, "from scratch," with very simple ingredients. Every serious pyrotechnist has a copy of Browne in his reference library.
The author opens the book saying his object is "to give a lucid description of the various processes (chemical and mechanical) employed in the art of pyrotechny ... [and] to simplify the work and render the task an easy one for the pupil and amateur." Dr. Browne goes on to say that if readers will "accurately and carefully carry out the instructions" their work will be "fit for any exhibition" and "the most critical spectator."
Browne claims his formula are intended to "give the best possible results with a minimum cost," and claims that it is "very easy to manufacture fireworks without danger to the operator or risk to his habitation."
A thick and comprehensive textbook, it covers every aspect of making display fireworks for exhibitions.
Chapter 1: Rockets
Chapter 2: Roman Candles
Chapter 3: Gerbs and Jets of Chinese Sparkling and Brilliant Fires
Chapter 4: Wheel Cases and Small Wheels
Chapter 5: Case Colours for Wheels, &c.
Chapter 6: Brilliant, White, and Coloured Bengal Fires
Chapter 7: Lances and Lance Work
Chapter 8: Saxons, Plain, Brilliant, and Illuminated
Chapter 9: Mines of Serpents, Crackers, and Stars
Chapter 10: Tourbillions, Plain and Brilliant
Chapter 11: Shells and the Mortars From Which They are Fired
Chapter 12: Compound Fireworks and Set Pieces
More than 160 fine-quality engravings illustrate every item and process. Includes more than 100 pyrotechnics composition formulae. No other pyrotechnics book we've seen has graphics of this quality and scope.
NOTE: Sample illustrations greatly reduced in size and resolution
Chapter 1 is devoted entirely to rockets, "the King of Fireworks" (as the author terms them). Browne shows how to make six sizes of skyrockets, from tiny 3/8" bore to 1-1/4" bore. While standard cardboard tubes are sold today for skyrockets, this book shows exactly how to wrap your own rocket cases, using brown paper, paste, and a tubing former. Making fireworks tubes and cases is considered an essential skill for every pyrotechnician. Here are specific, clear, and detailed instructions (and many drawings) for how to do it right.
Unlike most modern skyrockets (which use clay nozzles), Browne also shows how to make them using crimped cases.
As for rocket propellants, Browne says: "I have experimented with a great number of formulae, first varying one ingredient and then the other ... my aim has been to construct a rocket with a rich tail of fire, unbroken throughout its whole course, majestic in flight, and with ample power to carry sufficient stars or other decorations to end its career nobly and worthy of the artist." He then proceeds to share his "ideal rocket formula," which uses potassium nitrate, charcoal, and sulfur in special proportions.
Here are three of the hundreds of excellent pyro formulae in the book
After showing how to make the rockets and load the propellant, Browne explains exactly how to prepare dozens of kinds of fireworks payloads for them, add stabilizing sticks, and prime them for launch. (His largest rocket uses a 6-ft long thin pine stick!) There are even instructions for making different kinds of fuse. Finally, the author discusses the various kinds of launch equipment for skyrockets.
Chapter 2 is devoted to Roman candles, in various sizes. Following this thick and detailed chapter (which shows precisely how to make many different sizes and types of Roman candles), the textbook has chapters on producing jets of fire, spinning wheels of all sizes and colors, colored fires, lances (and signs with fireworks letters and borders), firecrackers, and aerial display shells--the huge bombs that spread stars across the sky with various designs, colors, and effects.
The last big chapter shows how to produce hundreds of more complex "compound fireworks" and set pieces. Many of these are truly ingenious, and can be built from simple, inexpensive materials. You could certainly make your own unique fireworks exhibition from the information in this grand book.
Stars are the heart of most fireworks displays, and Dr. Browne covers dozens of varieties that produce many unusual effects. He offers many formulations that employ common ingredients, and tells how to make them.
There are also explanations and formulations for golden rain, port fires, asteroid rockets (whose payloads burn under parachutes), peacock's plume rockets, Italian streamers, comets, magnesium stars and fires, sparkling fires, etc etc etc.
Here are a couple of the illustrations of aerial shells and a mortar
(greatly reduced in size and resolution)
So here's a textbook that's dense with information about every aspect of the art and craft. 148 pages, 11 x 8.5-inches, quality soft-bound book. Printed in Sri Lanka. $23.95
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