Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April 7th Fireworks - 1858

The Marietta Intelligencer, April 13, 1858

Mr. Editor:

In order fully to explain why we set off the fire works on the evening of the 7th inst. before the exercises at the church were over, I submit the following statement:

The fire works were completed at about 5 o'clock p.m., and it required some two or three hands to place them properly.  We commenced arranging them, and while thus exposed it began to rain, and before we were able to pack them up again in boxes, they were more or less wet.  After the rain was over, we commenced again, and as soon as we did, it commenced raining again and continued so, more or less during the operation.  Having no time to lose in order to be ready by the appointed time, we went on, but we found that the rain was damaging the fuses of the fire works so much that it would entirely destroy the effect we intended to give by our arrangement.  In order to better understand this, I will detail our plan.

Our works formed an oblong square.  On each end we erected frames for the rockets, some 160 in number.  Parallel with these frames, but inside, and on the upper end, we placed frames for the Roman candles, 130 in number, which threw 544 fire balls.  We intended to burn off the Roman candles and rockets alternately, and from each end at the same time, so as to produce a cross fire and form an arch of living fire over the centre.  

The back ground, immediately on the river bank, we illumined with Greek fires of blue, red and white, interspersed with rockets, stars, fire balls and chasers.  In front of that a transparency lettered "7th of April, 1858."  In front of that again, all at proper distances, a frame for the large wheels, to be run at stated times, flanked on each side by pyramids, composed of flower pots, mines, stars, blue lights, and Bengal lights, connected throughout by fire crackers.  These pyramids were so arranged as to ignite at one flash.  In front of the whole square, a line was drawn for the flying pigeon to play on during the process of the exhibition.

If this plan could have been carried out to its full extent, it would have produced a brilliant effect on the spectators.  But all those fire works which were standing with fuse up were getting too damp to burn sufficiently to ignite the wet fuses of the fire works.  Fearing (as it proved itself afterwards) that the works would get so wet as to lose most of their explosive power, and knowing that the desired effect was already destroyed, we fired them off as best we could.  We trust that the subscribers will not attach any blame to the managers under such unfavorable circumstances, for I am fully satisfied that, had we waited till the exercises at the church were over, more than two-thirds of the fire works would not have exploded at all.

I think this explanation due to the subscribers to the fire works, and leave the matter for their consideration.

Joseph Wildt

No comments: