Page:Pyrotechnics the history and art of firework making (1922).djvu/23

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glory. One feels that here has been a magnificent display, but the scene in its full grandeur is not depicted.

One of the few black-and-white artists who can approach the subject with some success is Mr. C. M. Padday, an example of whose work is reproduced in the following pages. His success comes from a careful study of the subject, both technically and from the point of view of composition.

That fireworks are popular there is no doubt; no form of amusement is capable of giving enjoyment to so many people at one time; there is no entertainment which so appeals to youth and age of all classes and tastes. And yet it is doubtful if there is an industry concerning which the public at large is so profoundly ignorant.

To the average onlooker any firework which rises in the air is a rocket, any that revolve are catherine wheels; both of these assumptions are incorrect.

What is the average conception of a firework factory? A building, let us say, in which workmen, with sleeves rolled up, are busily engaged in shovelling heaps of gunpowder. How many know that a firework factory consists of dozens of small buildings, the construction of which is exactly defined by law, separated by spaces also specified by law; that workmen may not roll up their sleeves in the danger buildings; or that the amount of gunpowder in each building is strictly limited to a small quantity? All of these restrictions being enforced with the view, of course, of limiting the effects of any explosion that may occur.

So far as I am aware, no history of the art has yet been written. It is true that during the nineteenth century many text-books on pyrotechny were written, but the historical side of the subject has been generally represented by a few disjointed remarks in the prefaces.