Explosive art: How a firework is made
For centuries, fireworks have been used to mark major events around the world: the births of nations, weddings, birthdays, funerals and New Year’s celebrations.
A boy uses sparklers to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing, in 2005. Credit: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
But before fireworks can take over the skies, each one must be carefully and meticulously crafted. The process — which can take days to complete — is an art in its own right, according to Wu Hongyong, director of production and technology at one of China’s biggest firework companies.
His firm, Jiangxi Zhongsen Fireworks Ltd, ships over 30,000 boxes of pyrotechnics around the world each year, with each of the fireworks made by hand.
“We see it as an art to make everyone in the world happy,” Wu said.
A fireworks display as part of the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in Dailan, China, in 2011. Fireworks are made with an explosive material called stars. Credit: VCG/Getty Images AsiaPac/VCG via Getty Images
Made in China
Waterfall fireworks on display at the Yanshuei Beehive Rockets Fireworks Festival in Tainan, Taiwan. The festival takes place a few weeks after the Lunar New Year. Credit: Ashley Pon/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
“It is a complicated and messy process,” Wu said. “From purchasing materials to the production… it is time consuming.”
Each firework contains small balls of explosives, known as stars, that are responsible for the colorful light displays seen in the sky. They are mixed with gunpowder in a shell, and then wrapped in paper and fitted with a fuse. Stars can be wrapped and pressed into different designs, meaning that buyers can request particular shapes to commemorate important occasions.
A dark side to fireworks?
Victory fireworks over the Red Square in Moscow, 1945. Credit: STRINGER/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Safety checks at companies like Jiangxi Zhongsen Fireworks Ltd, which employs over 300 people, are often extensive. According to Wu, each load is inspected by six internal departments before being sent to government agencies for further checks.
For the factory workers, this is normally the last they’ll see of the devices they produce. Nonetheless, watching fireworks ignite in the sky can leave a lasting impression on their creators.
“While we make the fireworks, we don’t participate in setting them off,” said Liu Zhilian, a 40-year-old worker at the factory. “But it’s a beautiful sort of feeling. It’s glorious when a firework explodes.”
News credit : Cnn