THE HISTORY OF PORTFIRES
The history of the portfire dates back several centuries and is closely tied to the development and use of fireworks and artillery in both warfare and celebrations.
A portfire is a type of pyrotechnic device used to ignite fireworks, and is essentially a long, thin, and slow-burning fuse that can be easily lit and used to ignite fireworks. Designed to burn slowly, and steadily, they provide a reliable and consistent ignition source, and are typically made by tightly rolling a mixture of chemicals, such as potassium nitrate, charcoal, and sulphur, into a paper or cardboard tube.
The use of slow-burning fuses to ignite explosives can be traced back to ancient China, where gunpowder was first invented around the 9th century. Early Chinese alchemists developed simple fuses made from bamboo or hemp, and these burned slowly and consistently, allowing them to ignite various incendiary and explosive devices safely.
The knowledge of gunpowder and fireworks eventually spread to the Middle East, and then to Europe during the medieval period. By the 14th and 15th centuries, firework displays became a popular form of entertainment during festivals and celebrations. Slow-burning fuses, which pre-date portfires, were used to ignite these early fireworks, but they were often unpredictable and posed safety risks.
With the introduction of naval warfare also came the introduction of the portfire as we know it today. The term ‘portfire’ is believed to have originated from the use of slow-burning fuses on board ships, where ‘port’ refers to the left-hand side of a vessel. Portfires were used to ignite cannons, and other gunpowder-based weaponry, where the use of portfires allowed gun crews to safely and reliably ignite cannons during battle. The almost 'weatherproof' devices would provide a strong ignition source which was resilient to both ocean wind and crashing waves.
In modern times, portfires are widely used during firework displays. One end of a portfire is left exposed, making it easy to light with a regular flame source, such as a lighter or match. Once lit, the portfire produces a controlled, slow-burning flame that can stay lit even in adverse weather conditions such as wind or rain, and therefore they provide ultimate peace-of-mind. This feature makes portfires an essential tool for firework enthusiasts who need a dependable way to ignite multiple fireworks safely and efficiently.
Due to their reliability and safety characteristics, portfires are preferred over traditional open flame sources such as matches or lighters, and will help take an amateur firework display to a semi-professional level, for very little expense.
You can read more about portfires here - WHAT IS A PORTFIRE?