Saturday, June 23, 2012
Even More Fireworks! Set Pieces: Part 1
The above piece--the American Eagle!--is called a set piece in the fireworks world. It is a static display, in that it is anchored to the ground at all times.
This type of firework display was most popular during the 1800s and on into the 30s. It was creative and contained--perfect for a small town 4th of July celebration. They are hard to find now, although most large fireworks companies offer them as part of some packages.
I had read about static displays in many novels and newspaper accounts of events, but had never seen any myself until I was at Fort Huachuca, in Arizona, for a couple of years. Their celebration of the 4th is wonderful--high school football field, the Army firing cannon for the 12812 Overture--they have it all! Plus, set pieces!!
A set piece is wired to a green wood or wet bamboo frame. Various salts and minerals are added to the black powder charges to change the colors of each shell, to color the image. All are fired at once, so that the image bursts into focus.
It is just amazing to see an eagle flap its wings in fireworks!