Apart from Tom Thumbs, crackers increased size and power. For me of course, the bigger the better, as for most boys - and their fathers. There were:
Penny bungers - as big as a man's finger
Double bungers - these had a central wick and there was some skill in tossing them. They were designed so if you were good enough with your timing, there would be one explosion and shower of sparks at the apogee of the throw, with the force of the first bang throwing the bunger even higher, whereupon the second of the bangs went off.
Then there were Jumping Jacks, which were great fun because they were unpredictable in where each consecutive explosion would hurl it.
Pretty ones came in all shapes and sizes. These usually were placed on the ground on a level spot, or in some cases, speared into a soft patch of turf if they were designed that way.
|Roman Candles - note name!|
Our list included ones such as Roman Candles, Golden Rain and Flower Pots. Jan says there were also 'Flower Gardens' but I don't remember those. knowing her, she's probably right. I do remember though that I liked the Flower Pots because although they put on quite a spectacle of pretty pyrotechnics, they weren't as innocent as they looked. At the end, when it seemed all over for the Flower Pot, it would explode with a series of cracks like a machine-gun.
|Catherine Wheels, etc.|
(I just had another look online and I did find one they called a Flower Pot but are more like what we called a Volcano. I'll bet it didn't annihilate itself completely like our Flower Pots did, though - which would have been a great ending for a Krakatoa-type firework, hey?)
Others included pinwheel types - Catherine Wheels in our lingo. You pinned them to a post with a drawing pin (or in our case, a small panel pin nail, which gave it more freedom to spin and therefore was more spectacular in its fiery whirling.)
No doubt other people remember later variations. For us, it might not have been Sydney Harbour Bridge on New Year's Eve, but from three metres away, it was every bit as good. Maybe better.
Oh, sparklers, of course - magical because their sparks just prickled the skin and didn't burn - unless you encountered the very hot central bit. They're still available so there are no surprises with them. In the darkness in the bush, the fast circles we could whirl with them left circles of bright light on our retinas.
Last and far from least, I must mention the Sky Rocket. No Guy Fawkes night would have been complete without one. Many times our finances eked out only to one single one, reserved for the end of the night. Usually they were placed in a beer bottle and then lit by a parent. Care was taken that the bottle was on level ground and that the skyrocket was placed properly in it. if a bottle tipped over just before launching, who knows where it might have aimed itself?
But oh! The sight of our own skyrocket shooting magnificently to the very edge of space, then floating back down with a last gasp of flame....
Guy Fawkes Night would be over then, for another year. But I haven't finished yet.... I need to tell you how I nearly burned our house down, and other amusing things.