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"Pyrotechnics: Civil and Military"

The all-time classic fireworks text by George Washington Weingart

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Pyrotechnics: Civil and Military

The all-time classic fireworks text by George Washington Weingart


The all-time classic textbook on this subject.  For more than 50 years, thebest-sellingbook on how to make fireworks--firecrackers, Roman candles, skyrockets, pinwheels, colored torches and smokes--hundreds of designs are described in detail.  Covers tools and techniques of manufacture, plus hundreds of formulations using common industrial chemicals.  Already on the reference shelf of every serious pyrotechnician.

Used by thousands of experimenters for more than half a century, and loaded with composition formulae and detailed instructions, drawings, and diagrams.  Remains 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:

  • Introduction to pyrotechnic reactions
  • Classes of pyrotechnic chemicals
  • Chemicals to produce pyrotechnic colors
  • Explosives hazards and "spontaneous" combustion of fireworks
  • Pyrotechnic ingredient chemicals (each one covered in detail)
  • 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 formulas
    • 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
The book also has a glossary and list of recommended pyrotechnic books.  Not too heavy on theory, but thick and rich with materials, technique, tools, and methods.  This is really a "how-to" book par excellance.

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.

Illustrations include drawings by the author (like these) and photographs

Two important pyrotechnics textbooks were first published at the time America was entering World War II.  Tenney L. Davis, teaching the subject at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, offered "Chemistry of Powder and Explosives" in 1943, which remains a standard text to this day.  George W. Weingart's "Pyrotechnics Civil and Military," also first printed in 1943, is the second of these important classics. 

Both books educated thousands of GIs and ordnance workers on these subjects during a period of world crisis.  And both books remain the best-selling texts on their subjects, even after more than 50 years.

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

Skyrockets?  Here's how they've been made, for centuries, with simple mandrels and ramming tools.

You'll also get professional advice on buying fireworks chemicals--what grades to select, what mesh sizes to use, how to store and prepare them for use. 

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 photos 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.)

We think the best way is to study both Davis and Weingart.  And before setting up your mortar and pestle, read and understand the critical issues about handling these materials in the "Safety Manual for Experimental Rocket Scientists," which we also offer.

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 the first book to have.  Every other reputable book on the subject is MUCH more expensive, often costing $100 to $300 per copy. 

This is a newly-republished edition of the 1943 classic direct from the Rocket Science Institute.  It was digitally restored from the original, first edition, and has been printed with high-quality machinery using bright-white, acid-free paper.  8-1/2" x 5.5" size, loaded with diagrams, 236 pages, and quality bound.  ISBN 1-878628-NEW     $19.95

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