Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Unexcelled Fireworks Company

This 1884 unexcelled Fireworks Company Catalog is another rare find from the Boston Book Company. This catalog IS truly unexcelled, yet at the same time it unfortunately is also unavailable any longer. I'm including it in this week's fireworks line-up, as it is indeed a scarce item. As a bonus offer, TUF Co. also included the Presidential campaigners' portraits on paper, muslin or cloth for all of your essential parade needs in that day. Moreover, the medley of dazzling and explosive fireworks they offer such as paper balloons for ladies and children, Japanese novelty paper animals for daytime explosives, Roman Candles, Floral Bombshells, and actual shell cartridges for evening shotgun displays, makes me wonder if they may have contributed to the formation of the BATF. The Shell Cartridges inspired this published comment by Buffalo Bill Cody's comment, "They are a Genuine Fireworks Novelty, producing a beautiful effect when rising 350 feet in the air."

Above you can see an image of the original Unexcelled Fireworks factories in New York City. The building were intentionally spaced apart as a precaution guarding against the possibility of fire spreading throughout the complex. It didn't succeed in preventing the inevebility of explosions however, and in 1942, New Yorkers were shocked by an enormous explosion which left five men dead and several injured. The plant was sold at auction in late 1945, marking the end of New York City's fireworks industry. Below is an 1874 first issued trade card for the Unexcelled Fireworks Company via Sheaf Ephemera. This is the year they opened for business.

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