After Christmas & birthdays, there was nothing so exciting to my younger self as Cracker Night, when the suburbs were aglow with catherine wheels, sparklers, roman candles & bonfires. Cracker Night was held in late-autumn here in Australia (a lingering tradition of the Empire Day holiday of May 24th that were phased out in the 1960s), & it was commonplace to set off fireworks on the abandoned circle of sand in your backyard that, come summer, lay beneath your 3-foot swimming pool. We also observed Guy Fawkes Night on November 5th. I recall an exciting evening at my primary school, where they assembled (what seemed to me) a gigantic bonfire on the school oval & burnt a floppy effigy made of newspaper-stuffed pantihose. I had no idea what the Gunpowder Plot was all about, but it was all very thrilling nevertheless!
Sadly, Cracker Night came to an end in the mid-70s, but I still have fond memories of the excitement of backyard fireworks. To celebrate the exuberant packaging design & advertising of the fireworks of my early childhood, I thought I'd dedicate a series of blog posts to them. This first one is devoted to the beautiful patterns & colours of fireworks labels, & coming up will be a post packed full of fireworks typography, & another about posters & advertising.
I think fireworks packaging & branding was absolute genius - so evocative & exciting - I'm sure you'll agree these patterns are gorgeous. I love that so much attention to detail was lavished on something that would eventually be set alight & explode! But what an explosion...raining stars, fizzy, sparkly, noisy & glorious.
The names of the different fireworks were as colourful as the packaging, conjuring images of fountains & fire bursts, space travel, magical creatures, snow storms, bombs, warfare, jewels & flowers. Here are some of my favourites...
Twinkler, Floodlight, Crackling Pearl, Emerald Cascade, Harbour Lights, Golden Rain, Sequin Shower, Carnival Torch, Jewel Casket, Silver Fountain, Crystal Spray, Magic Flowers, Star Stream, Silver Cloud, Silver Mist, Silver Streamer, Glittering Cascade, Scarlet Runner, Shimmering Cascade, Golden Zodiac, Jewelled Pyramid, Silver Tree, Jewel Fountain, Harlequin, Magic Tracer, Jewel Torch, Flower Pot, Whistle Stop, Shamrock Shooter, Snow Drop, Snow Blizzard, Royal Squib, Jack in the Box, Signal Beacon, Whirligig, Spitfire, Smasher, Spangled Star Bomb, Fiery Whirlwind, Thunder Flash, Electric Whizzer, Air Bomb, Flash Gun, Dam Buster, Wonder Banger, Mine of Fiery Serpents, Humming Spider, Will o' the Wisp, Pixie Tree, Banshee, Screech Owl, Fairy Fountain, Little Demon, Flying Imp, Fairy Fern, Crackling Cauldron, Moon Travellers, Radium Dazzler, Mighty Atom, Meteorite, Lunar Rocket, Silver Orion, High Ball, City Flicker, Sunset Strip.