MINES - ARE THEY DYING OUT?
A traditional mine is a type of firework that produces a single, large burst of effects, and little is more attention-grabbing. Historically mines were a single tube that gave an instant lift of effects, however as time passed fountain-mine combinations became popular and gave tranquil fountain spray which lulled onlookers into a false sense of security shortly before violently erupting with bellowing towers of light and noise. This stark contrast often caught viewers off guard and would cause much excitement. So why is it then that as the years pass we are seeing fewer and fewer mines available?
The origins of the mine are unclear, but similar devices have been used for centuries in various parts of the world. In Japan, a type of mine known as 'marumon' was developed in the Edo period from 1603 to 1868.
In Europe, the mine became popular during the 19th century, when pyrotechnicians began experimenting with new ways to create dramatic and more impactful fireworks. By placing a lift charge, they were able to produce a large, bright explosion that could be seen from a distance, by placing a variety of additional effects, such as stars, crackling clusters, whistling serpents and reports on top of this black powder.
There is no evidence to suggest that mine type fireworks are dying out. While they may not be as popular or widely used as other types of fireworks, such as barrages or rockets, mines remain a desirable firework with demand out-stripping supply. Many customers are disappointed at the lack of mine choices, and yet at Epic Fireworks we stock more mines than most. Where lies the problem?
It would seem that fewer Chinese factories are interested in manufacturing mines, this is mainly due to their relatively low purchase price. Factories producing large barrages and compound cakes can make greater sums of money for less hassle, and generally speaking the manufacturing of mines is seen as tedious work. In fact, many UK firework companies have unsuccessfully tried to introduce new mines onto the British market. With a lack of interested factories wishing to produce the fireworks, factories over-price items and, in addition to this, demand unreasonable minimum order quantities.
Transportation of the firework is also becoming more of an obstacle. Large bore tubes with loose powder, (essentially a good mine), are considered more hazardous to transport than a more conventional firework type, again this aids a lack of enthusiasm towards mine production.
It is worth noting that mine cakes, the latest incarnation of the traditional mine, go against this way of thinking, and because they are manufactured in the same way as a conventional barrage are still widely available. In fact, we have seen a new mine cake from Black Cat very recently. Interestingly, selection boxes also seem to be able to include smaller mines with little to no issues, perhaps as their net explosive content tends to be relatively small.
Overall, while the popularity of different types of fireworks may come and go with time, there is no indication to suggest that firework fans are losing their love for the mine. Although there is no danger of demand disappearing anytime soon, we are not sure that the same can be said for the supply of the firework. With tightening regulations on transportation within China, we suggest that those with a soft spot for the increasingly harder to find firework should probably stock up whilst they still can. As long as people continue to enjoy firework displays, there will likely be a place for mine type fireworks, let's just hope that importers can do enough to satisfy demand.