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"Dictionary and Manual of Pyrotechny"

A quality reprint of the rare second published edition of the all-time classic fireworks text
by George Washington Weingart

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Dictionary and Manual of Fireworks

"Covering the author's work and experiments from 1890 to 1935"

A quality reprint of the rare second published edition of the all-time classic fireworks text
by George Washington Weingart


Under its many editions, Weingart's books remains the all-time classic textbooks on this subject.  For more than 50 years, his texts have been thebest-sellingbooks on how to make fireworks--firecrackers, Roman candles, skyrockets, pinwheels, colored torches and smokes--hundreds of designs are described in detail.  Weingart is already on the reference shelf of every serious pyrotechnician.

And here's a reprint of the rare second published edition of Weingart's manuscripts on fireworks--an important scientific document and "collector's item!"  This Special Color Edition contains all of the original color plates, reproduced with laser-printed machinery.

In 1930, Weingart sat down at his old-fashion typewriter and came up with a 155-page document, which would eventually educate thousands of experimenters for more than half a century.  While he calls it a "Dictionary of Pyrotechnics," it was actually a how-to manual and formulary par excellance.

The textbook proved to be very popular, and Weingart to on himself the printing (five years later) of a new and greatly improved typeset edition--with color plates.  He invested much time and money into producing this excellent book, which has since been reprinted in many versions.  Now he titled the work "Dictionary and Manual of Pyrotechny."

We searched for many years to find this high-quality reproduction of his original book, printed in Japan.  Although first circulated more than 50 years ago, this is a sharp, clear bound reedition of high resolution--not a cheap photocopy.

(Later editions of this book, with a few additions and changes, were published under such titles as "Pyrotechnics" and "Pyrotechnics Civil and Military."   Chemical Publishing Company was Weingart's first major distributor, beginning in the early 1940s,and issued at least two hardbound editions of the book under various similar titles.)

From the beginning, Weingart's books have been loaded with composition formulae and detailed instructions, drawings, and diagrams (and they remain a solid foundation for learning the "how-tos" of time-honored tools and technology.  Exhaustive sections on ingredients, "manipulation," products of manufacture and formulas, exhibition fireworks, miscellaneous, glossary, and book references.  The fireworks mixtures in this book are mostly made with common ingredients available most everywhere: potassium nitrate (saltpeter), charcoal, sulfur, metal filings, and the like. 

Topics covered in this important work include:

  • Pyrotechnic ingredients
  • Manipulation of fireworks compositions and devices, including:
    • Case rolling
    • Roman candle cases
    • Sky rockets
    • Mine cases
    • Floral shell guns
    • Gerbes
    • Shell cases
    • Canister (cylindrical) shells
    • Drying cases
    • Formers, paste, crimping, and ramming
    • Matching, priming, finishing, wrapping, wiring, tying, designing
  • Articles of manufacture and recipes
    • Match and fuse
    • Tableau fire and torches
    • Ship lights and distress signals
    • Bengolas and airplane flares
    • Wing-tip flares and rocket smoke tracers
    • Roman candles and skyrockets (many, many kinds)
    • Tourbillions, pin wheels, serpents, chasers
    • Fountains, gerbes, flower pots, revolving pieces
    • Stars (many, many kinds) and comets
    • Lance work
    • Bomb shells (many kinds)
    • Parachute shells, balloons and balloon inflaters
    • Cannon crackers, flash crackers, torpedoes, paper caps
    • Whistling fireworks
    • Pharaoh's serpents, snake nests
    • Colored flames and fire sticks
    • Sparklers, water fireworks, smoke and spark pots
    • Smoke screens, colored smokes, smoke shells
    • Exhibition fireworks
  • Set pieces
  • Chinese firecrackers
Not too heavy on theory, but thick and rich with materials, technique, tools, and methods.  This is really a historic "how-to" book par excellance.

Has more than 100 hand-drawn illustrations by Mr Weingart, mostly showing tools of the trade and how to use them. 

Illustrations include drawings by the author (like these, but much larger)
This one shows how to make 8 Roman candles at a time, with simple handcrafted wooden tools and jigs

There are also precise dimensions and specifications for making all kinds of exotic fireworks

Here's the way commercial skyrockets were made, using black powder and paper cases

There are also illustrations for how to make high-performance display shells

Here's Weingart's drawing for a tissue-paper hot-air balloon to carry fireworks!
(Not in my backyard, please!)

Weingart is widely regarded as the "grandfather" of American pyrotechics.  He describes, in great detail, such topics as case rolling and drying, priming, finishing, match, fuse, torches, signal lights, sky rockets, pinwheels, fountains, revolving pieces, wheels, stars, bombshells, balloons, "cannon crackers," whistling fireworks, paper caps, colored flames, smokes, "rocket wheels," "living fireworks," and much, much more.

How do the Chinese make those firecrackers?  There's detailed descriptions, including making Chinese-type fireworks fuse.

Skyrockets?  This book tells how they've been made, for centuries, with simple mandrels and ramming tools.

When it comes to making tubes and cases for your fireworks, Weingart lists the exact sizes of paper to use, with detailed dimensions for each size of device.  There are many drawings of fireworks tools and equipment--all of which you can make yourself from these ideas.

One of our favorite parts is in the back.  It shows, with and drawings, exactly how the Chinese make traditional firecrackers and fuse!  With these instructions we made hundreds of them, in only a few minutes, from scrap newspaper!  And they really worked--crisp, loud "bangs" and as reliable as any made in Macau!

If you're thinking of making some fireworks, or want to better understand what goes into them and how they're made, this book is an excellent text to begin with.  (Most of the other books on pyrotechnics either require hard-to-find ingredients, or employ tools and techniques too advanced for most experimenters.)

By the way, if you're considering making experimental rocket motors, you'll want a copy of David Sleeter's new masterpiece, "Amateur Rocket Motor Construction."  We offer that fine book too.  (Sleeter shows you how to make your own Chile saltpeter, refine fertilizer-grade KNO3, mix high-power rocket fuels, and much, much more.)


If you're building a pyrotechnics library, this is one of the the first books to have. 

There have been only a very few authoritative and comprehensive books about making fireworks by American authors over the last 200 years, and this is one of them.  Dr. James Cutbush's "System of Pyrotechny" (1825) was the first, and we think this was the second--soon followed by Dr. Tenney L. Davis' "Chemistry of Powder and Explosives" (1941).  Every serious pyrotechnist will have them all.

This is a newly-republished edition of the 1937 classic from Japan.  A company there digitally restored it, apparently from an original edition manuscript.  This is a nice quality reprint at an affordable price.  It's printed on fairly thin paper that's not very "bright white," approx 10 x 8 inches, 177 pages, nicely softbound with a high-quality color cover like of the Weingart original.  $24.95

USA (Insured Priority Mail: $3.85)
International (Airmail: $14.85)

NB:  An exceptional color Special Edition is also sometimes available.  That version has high-quality full-color reproductions of all the original Weingart fireworks plates.  (Click here to see if one is available.)  Remember, the book described on this page has black-and-white plates, with a color cover.

We ship worldwide -- you pay only actual postal costs: combine several books into one shipment to save!

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