28 Oct, 2021
6 minutes

A Brief History of Bangers: Fireworks of Legend

Bangers… The name of these once-delightful nuisance fireworks still casts a flash of sentimental mischief across the eyes of people of a certain age.

In today’s world, a pocket-sized explosive designed for child’s play is one of the farthest things we can imaging coming to market. So what happened to the infamous pocket money firework?

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What were bangers?

Legendary favourite fireworks, bangers came in two different categories: gunpowder bangers and those made with flash aluminium. The difference between the two was in power. Flash powder is incredibly powerful, and just a small amount can produce a large bang. Only a pound of flash powder could destroy a building the size of a house. Gunpowder bangers would produce a lower bang (still a substantial explosion, though!)

Whether using gunpowder or flash powder, the construction of a banger was much the same: a tightly rolled piece of paper, packed with gunpowder and a fuse at one end. This has been the basic construction of a firework since the invention of fireworks. A banger was designed to produce one small bang and a tiny flash, highly satisfying to children and even big kids when they were readily available in the local corner shop.

What happened to bangers?

Before the war, in the 1930s, bangers were available in almost every shop at around 40p each in today’s money. Bangers took a hit during and following the war when the supply of materials to make them was restricted. But it wasn’t enough to wipe them out and bangers came back strong in the 50s, with Wizard Fireworks cornering the banger market.

During the 60s and 70s several public information films moved public opinion, and that of the law, bringing the dangers associated with bangers to light.

But it wasn’t until late 1997 when bangers became illegal, thanks part and parcel to their reputation as a nuisance, a danger, and a troublemaker’s toy. Bangers aren’t illegal in all countries, so they have been known to turn up on the black market in the UK. Bangers acquired through illegal sources are usually unregulated and therefore unsafe for public consumption. Numerous instances have occurred where people have been injured by illegal bangers. So, it may be a good thing the chaotic fun of these tiny fireworks was put to an end after all. We will simply have to look back wistfully on a bygone era of firework fun.

Legal Alternatives to Bangers

Bangers may be gone for good but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy other, bigger, louder, and more impressive fireworks. There are a great many different types of fireworks that produce incredible effects today. Here are some alternatives to bangers.

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1. Fun Snaps

Fun snaps offer a similar spontaneity to the banger firework. Throw these down on the ground for a flash of light and a high pitched snap noise. Add fun to parties, or just have a laugh throwing them down to produce quick-fire bangs and cracks. We sell packs of 50 fun snaps, or a full case of 12 x 50 pack boxes of fun snaps to stock up your shop.

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2. Ice Fountains

Ice fountains won’t produce the sudden signature bang of a banger but these mini pyrotechnics do produce a wonderful stream of silver sparks and flame. Attached them to bottles, stick them in cakes, securely tie them to anything as long and it’s out of the way of fire hazards and watch a mini firework display.

3. Mines

If you’re after the adrenaline rush that comes with a firework exploding and producing a powerful visual and auditory effect, a mine is sure to satisfy. Mine fireworks release multiple shots at the same time and launch straight up from the ground. Watch incredible combinations of colours, patterns, heights, and effects. A mine is the most powerful firework you can buy. We like Tequila Slammer which is bound to have you and your guests eyes wide and gasping in awe.

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