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July 5, 2012 5:56 AM   Subscribe

Mike McHenry has posted several photo pages of the Chinese firecracker and firework labels he's been collecting since 1968.
posted by gman (28 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Love these. I almost brought the kids to the fireworks store this year just to look at the selection. It's quite an experience. The fly-by-night, rickety tables, red-white-and-blue bunting, weird fireworks full of misspellings, etc. And probably an experience that'll be gone by the time they are adults, since even "live free or die" places like NH are wavering on allowing fireworks.
posted by DU at 6:27 AM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


What a great collection. CrackerPacks also has a great selection of labels, but I think he has them beat.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 6:43 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's an amusing set of fireworks labels (via)
posted by exogenous at 6:48 AM on July 5, 2012


Has anyone done a gallery of billboards for Firework stores yet? Every time I drive towards Indiana from Chicago I'm always amazed at the sheer volume of billboards for Fireworks Stores. They're never subtle. I'd love to see what they look like in other regions.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 6:49 AM on July 5, 2012


Fireworks Heritage Museum (UK)
Firework Art (UK)
posted by zamboni at 6:49 AM on July 5, 2012


Here's an amusing set of fireworks labels

Cabel does that every year:

2007200820092010, 2011.
posted by zamboni at 6:52 AM on July 5, 2012


I feel sorry for this horse. That whole situation looks very stressful, and the rider is not helping at all. This buffalo, in contrast, looks less nervous and more hung over.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:59 AM on July 5, 2012


Here's an amusing set of fireworks labels...

They should just have one that's a big warning label.

WARNING: SHOOTS FLAMING BALLS
WARNING: SHOOTS FLAMING BALLS
posted by DU at 7:03 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


trail of tears fireworks
posted by ryanrs at 7:07 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


ah, Black Cats. Those guys hit the price/performance sweet spot when I was a kid. (Of course if you were feeling fancy and had money to burn, you could spring for Zebras, which I sadly didn't see in that set of photos.)
posted by jcreigh at 7:20 AM on July 5, 2012


This buffalo, in contrast, looks less nervous and more hung over

If you were hung over and had firecrackers going off around your head, you'd have that expression too.
posted by CosmicRayCharles at 7:23 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of my favorite freelance jobs ever was doing firework labels for a local company. There were, basically, no limitations so long as it was all bright and eye-catching. It was pretty cool going into fireworks shops for the next couple of years and seeing my labels on fireworks. I didn't do anything as classical as the Chinese labels, though.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:30 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


*Werner Herzog voice*

"Ze Buffalo understands zere is nosink he can do to escape ze noise and excitement that surrounds him at all times. Ze Horse continues to struggle vainly, but ze Buffalo has resigned himself to his fate."


"In ze meantime, no-one has noticed what mischief ze Cats are planning."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:34 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


DO NOT HOLD IN HAND AFTER LIGHTING

no shit.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:39 AM on July 5, 2012


Oh man, I love these. I am a big fan of this kind of ephemera, and the explanation of the changes in labeling over time is fascinating.

This is my personal collection of Indian firework labels. All modern, I'm afraid.
posted by bookish at 7:58 AM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd never seen Indian firework labels before and some of those were spectacular. Thanks for sharing those bookish.
posted by buggzzee23 at 8:11 AM on July 5, 2012


Black Cat memories....
posted by caddis at 8:23 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


These are scans of selected pages from fireworks catalogs which were printed and distributed in the United States during the 20th century. The dates these catalogs were printed range from 1905 through 1974.
WILDCAT FIREWORKS ARE GUARANTEED SAFE AND SANE AND ARE APPROVED FOR USE IN CALIFORNIA
posted by zamboni at 8:40 AM on July 5, 2012


When I was a kid, everybody knew Black Cats and Atomics were da bomb (!).

After lighting off bunches of them, we would scour the remnants looking for firecrackers that hadn't ignited. We would salvage them by cracking them open in the middle (so they formed a vee) and lighting them there. The lighted gunpowder would make them smoke and spin and shoot sparks, leaving a silvery gunpowder burn on the sidewalk. Memories.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:54 AM on July 5, 2012


...we would scour the remnants looking for firecrackers that hadn't ignited.

I delivered newspapers in the early morning for much of my teenage years. Since people were typically setting of fireworks in the dark the night before, I was able to score quite a bit this way which I could set off when my parents weren't home. Almost got myself once, though.
posted by DU at 8:58 AM on July 5, 2012


"Safe and Sane" is a legal term in California relating to not-very-interesting fireworks.
posted by ryanrs at 10:40 AM on July 5, 2012


"Safe and Sane" is a legal term in California relating to not-very-interesting fireworks.

Oh, boo.
The short version of this page: "Safe and Sane" usually means fireworks that do not fly or explode. Fountains, sparklers, wheels, smoke and snake items, strobes, ground spinners, novelty fireworks that do not travel, snappers and caps are usually considered "Safe and Sane" fireworks. Firecrackers, rockets, missiles, mines, shells, aerial cakes, flying spinners and roman candles are usually not considered "Safe and Sane" fireworks, although they still are perfectly legal in many states. Only certain states and cities restrict the types of fireworks sold to just "Safe and Sane" types and each place that does has its own specific definition of which fireworks are "Safe and Sane."
posted by zamboni at 10:55 AM on July 5, 2012


Sparklers are interesting if you tie a load of them together before setting them off. MrMoonPie and I did a kilosparkler last year - made a nice little mushroom cloud.
posted by exogenous at 11:24 AM on July 5, 2012


Eagle Tarzan firecrackers for the win.

/from bookish's collection
posted by benito.strauss at 11:36 AM on July 5, 2012


Hey, liberal quantity of free punk! You can't beat that!
posted by Naberius at 2:31 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow
posted by krinklyfig at 2:55 PM on July 5, 2012


This one's almost like an old propaganda poster. The bulldozer operator is in uniform and everything.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:02 PM on July 5, 2012


> ah, Black Cats. Those guys hit the price/performance sweet spot when I was a kid

My Black Cat poster was the first thing up on the wall when I moved, recently, as it has been for about 20 years.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:33 PM on July 5, 2012


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