Category Archives: Firework Facts


Wyn Testing Epic Fireworks May 2013

I bet you’re all thinking WTF is that above picture all about!

Well, before I tell you, let me give you a brief reminder (and apologies if you already know this) of what kind of work goes into making a cake/barrage.

1. Roll the tubes

Step 1 involves rolling the tubes. Many years ago this was done by hand, but in the past 10 years or so, machines have been introduced to roll the tubes, just like below.

Big Rolls Of Paper For Tubes  - Epic Fireworks China Trip 2012

2. Dry the tubes

Once the tubes have been rolled and cut to size they are then left outside to dry. Depending on the time of the year, sometimes the tubes are placed in a ‘drying room’  due to the rainy season or damp weather. Having strong tubes is crucial – more info here.

Ideally, the tubes that are dried naturally tend to be much stronger.

Jimmy Goes Firework Testing in China July 2012 - A 70 Shot Fan Barrage In Production

3. The bung

Step 3 involves ‘breaking down’ the ‘red China earth’ into a fine powder as shown in the video below.

Machines (video below) are then used to turn the fine red powder into a clay bung (sometimes these are made from plastic to keep the weight down) to one end of the tube. This acts as a solid base for the firework to recoil against and forces the effect to go upwards.

4. Insert the lift charge and effect chamber into the tube

Once the tubes have been rolled, dried, and bunged at one end, the next process is to insert the lift-charge and the effects. This could be stars, whistles etc.

5. Linking the tubes together

Once you have all the tubes loaded with the different effects, the next job is to link them all together, using glue, tape, visco fuse, paper and loads of patience.

6. Insert Cardboard disc

This is where you add a cardboard disc inside the tubes to stop any composition from falling out and it also helps to contain the energy inside the tube once it starts its chemical reaction.

7. Add the label

This involves wrapping a label around the firework and sometimes on top of the fireworks.

Rows Of King Cobra  - Epic Fireworks China Trip 2012

8. Place the fireworks into the shipping carton

The final step is to put the barrages into the UN carton ready for shipment.

Jimmy Testing Fireworks

As you see, making fireworks is a very time-consuming, labour intensive job. So, back to the opening paragraph, WTF is this:

Wyn Testing Epic Fireworks May 2013


This will be how cakes and barrages are made in the future. The mould is made 100% from recycled materials including vegetable fibre, recycled paper, starch, calcium carbonate, and glue and it’s extremely strong – which makes it even safer.

There will be no need to roll the tubes, wait till the tubes dry, insert a bung……etc……. Now, all you do is insert the lift-charge and effect chamber, add the cardboard disc, add the fuse underneath (see pic below) and wrap the label around the firework.

The Future of Fireworks

Job Done.

In theory, the price of firework cakes and barrages should come down as this process removes a lot of production time (and the labour costs in China are going up and up and up every year) but the initial investment in the new machines that produce the mould is very very expensive.

So, a very well done to our Chinese suppliers for coming up with this awesome idea – the only thing they haven’t figured out (yet) is that they can’t produce fan cakes this way !

But watch this space!

More news on this fantastic development to follow soon 🙂



Firework Facts

Here at Epic, we know only too well that Bonfire Night is fast approaching and we thought we would take this opportunity to offer some facts about fireworks.

• Fireworks were invented in China 2000 years ago and were made of bamboo. They were burned and crackled as the pockets of air which naturally occur in bamboo exploded. This was thought to frighten away evil spirits.

• China continues to be the biggest exporter of fireworks in the world.

• The town of Liu Yang in Hunan Province is ‘THE fireworks producing capital of China’ and the whole of the province  is dedicated to the art of pyro.

• Fireworks have been used for centuries in ancient Thai and Indian religious ceremonies. Some of the rockets were 8-10 feet long and they were attached to sticks that were 40 feet high.

• The first recorded in the UK were at King Henry V11 wedding in 1486. They gained popularity in England during the reign of Henry VIII and by the time we reached the reign of Elizabeth I there was a ‘fireworks master’. Elizabeth created the post so that someone could be in charge when there was a state event. On in history from this point, James II even knighted his ‘fireworks master’ following a particularly excellent display.

• The word for firework in Japan is ‘Hanabi’which means ‘fire-flower’.

• Half of all fireworks accidents occur in the under 16 age group.

• Three simple sparklers lit together will generate the same heat as a blow torch.

• There are 2 classifications in consumer fireworks 1.3g and 1.4g. This refers to the explosive content. The 1.4g fireworks usually have a lower flash content, whereas the 1.3g is a much higher explosive content, giving a more spectacular display.

• Fireworks will frighten most animals, this would include gun-broken dogs – ensure all animals are able to hide away as the noise, light and children’s excitement will simply add to your pets distress.

• The colours in fireworks are created by the addition of chemicals like sodium, copper, potassium and barium to name but a few. It is said that the first addition was iron filings which were ground down and added to the gunpowder and resulted in gold colouring which is the earliest recorded ‘colourful’ firework.

Just a few facts but you should always remember that Fireworks are a truly beautiful thing but should not be used by children and safety first every time.