Explosive Fun: The Firework Promotion Of Yesteryear

The golden age of unfettered firework packaging and advertising.

These days, fireworks are a controlled substance and increasingly frowned upon outside official displays (unless you live around these parts, where it is no expense spared and no restraint shown it seems). In the past, where the firework was judged entirely on its explosive power, its ability to fly out of control and the speed at which the blue touchpaper would burn (or better yet, stop burning until some foolhardy person went to investigate, at which point it started up with mere seconds to scramble to safety) and where small children could leave the local corner shop, arms laden with high explosives and no questions asked, the packaging was all. After all, most fireworks offer a brief blast of sparkly colour but on the boxes, they were madly spiralling space rockets, atomic bombs or Lovecraftian creatures from beyond, possessed of names that only the most deranged and determined marketer could conceive of. My own disillusionment with fireworks began when the actuality failed miserably to match the promise that had me cowering with fear and anticipation, only to see some dismal rocket fly unevenly upwards, pop like an unenthusiastic bottle cork and then fall to the ground. Small pleasures for even smaller minds, I decided.

Nevertheless, the packaging remained tempting. And does so now. Here is a selection of artwork from around the world. Enjoy!

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One comment

  1. I remember a lot of the companies shown and another one, Wessex Fireworks when I was a young lad.

    I agree a lot of fireworks in the selection boxes didn’t live up to their promise but a sports shop in town started selling the bigger Standard fireworks and although expensive, you got what you paid for.

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