A Description of the Technical Reports in the Westech Fireworks Manual

The new revised Westech Fireworks Manual is now available! Almost thirty years have passed since the Westech Fireworks course in pyrotechnics became a collector's item. Originally sold on an individual subject and technical report basis few if any have the complete set.

Now more than thirty years after their original publication, you can own the complete unabridged collection of what has been called by some "the best how-to book on fireworks construction available."

This is not just a copy of the original material bound into a book. Each chapter in the series has been painstakingly reworked over the last two years. Each article has been retyped in Microsoft Word, and new ones drawn using Adobe Illustrator have replaced the original hand drawn illustrations. Many of the drawings are in full color. 

Illustration 1

Illustration 2

Illustration 3

Other enhancements to the original literature include corrections, table, and figure numbers, complete referenced to figures in the body text, call outs, a table of contents, and list of tables and figures.

The following descriptions appeared in the original Westech catalog from 1972. These descriptions give a good overview of each of the chapter contents in the new revised Westech Fireworks Manual. Remember, this is the original text, descriptions, and prices from Westech. The individual reports are NOT available from us.


L-101: Basic Pyrotechnic Manipulations – Contains essential and preliminary information needed in order to construct all types of fireworks Contents include: types of paper used in casings; how to make wet-rolled, dry-rolled, and other types of casings; pyrotechnical quality paste; various formulas far priming and how to apply it correctly; how to make black match, quick match, and meal powder; important operations such as mixing, nosing, charging, ramming, driving, etc, are fully explained, plus a complete list of safety precautions. Absolutely essential for beginners, and highly informative to professionals. 

L-102A: Sound Producing Fireworks, Part 1 - Construction, theory, formulas, and safety precautions forming the following items: Firecrackers, Flashcrackers, Lady Fingers, Cannon, Crackers, all types of ground salutes... 

L-102B: Sound Producing Fireworks, Part 2 - Safety precautions, construction, formulas, etc. for making-the following-items. Exploding cones (Black Volcano’s, Whistling Devils, Block-Busters), Torpedoes, Musical Salutes, Aerial Flesh Bombs (#00 -#100 sizes), Repeating Aerial Bombs 3-, 5-, and 9-shot repeaters), Whistling Aerial Bombs, Thunder Shells, Rocket Shells, Siren Bombs, Thunderbolt Shells, Sky Devil Shells, Cannonades, Rainbow Flash Reports. Illustrated.

L-CO1: Complete Course in Sound Producing Fireworks - Both L-102A and L-102B.

L-103 Series: Wheels and Revolving Pieces - These present to the pyrotechnist one of the best means to display his imagination and artistic ability. So much can be created using so little. Wheels can be effectively used in the smallest backyard display, in country club-type displays, to the largest stadium exhibitions. Revolving pieces provide not only showers of sparks and fire, but motion and animation as well. Thus they are able to provide a varied and interesting display in themselves.

L-103: Basic Wheels and Revolving Pieces - All formulas, basic descriptions, theory, and safety precautions for all the L-103 Series are found in this publication. In addition, complete descriptions for Saxons (all types), and 1-, 2-, 3-, and multiple-driver wheels are given. Profusely illustrated.

L-103A: Exhibition Wheels (EW) and Revolving Pieces (RP), Part I (Vertical) - All types of Revolving Suns, Compound Exhibition Wheels, Windmills, Chromatopes, Multiple Exhibition Wheels, Airplane Spin, Flash, Wheel, Colored Rosette Wheel, etc. Profusely illustrated.

L-103B: EW and RP, Part 2 (Horizontal) - Caprice Wheel, Furiloni Wheel, Revolving Fountain, Fiesta Display Wheel, the famous Devil Wheel, Carousel Wheel, Spiral, Helix, and Tornado Wheels, etc. Profusely illustrated.

L-103C: EW and RP, Part 3 (Aerial) - Gyro, Girondola, and Circus Wheels, Flying Saucers, etc. These are some of the most spectacular types of fireworks! Illustrated.

L-CO2: Complete Course in Wheels and Revolving Pieces - All L-103 publications, postpaid -$3.00.

L-104: Basic Ground Displays - All formulas, basic descriptions, theory, and safety Precautions far all the L-104 Series are contained in this publication. Construction of the following items are also given: Tableau Fires, Torches, all types of Fountains, Volcanoes, Piping Pyramid, Flower Pots, Gerbs, Niagara Falls, Cascades, Roman Candles, Exhibition Candles, Italian Streamers, all types of Mines (Prismatic, Spangles, Meteoric Shower, Serpent, Thunder, Battle, Thunder and Rainbow, etc.), all types of Comets (Gold Silver, Floral, Thunderbolt, Calliope, Rainbow, Fancy, etc.), Golden Butterfly Shells, Pearl Streamer Shells, Etc. Illustrated, tables.

L-104A: Exhibition Ground Displays (EGD), Part I (Temple Pieces) - Fully explained are: all types of Candle Batteries (Regular, Fountain, Union, Bengola, Bombette, Comet, etc.), Devil-among-the-Tailors, Jack-in-the-Box, Aerolites, Meteors, Band-of-Pipers, Carousel Display, Screaming Meemie, Zeus’ Thunderbolts, Carnival Display, Three Musketeers, Mount Melody, Fiery Echo, fiddler Fountain, Tuneful Tower, Fiesta Display, Jubilee Display, Pandean pipe Display, Golden Blossom Display, Peacock Plume Fan, Fiery) Cross, Fiesta Cascade, Battle-in-the-Clouds, Bazooka Battery, Jamboree Display, etc. Illustrated.

L-104B: - EGD, Part 2 (Lancework) - Formulas, construction techniques, etc. for producing Professional quality lancework are completely described. Illustrated

L-104C: EGD, Part 3 (Set Pieces) - Collection of drawings and specs for the construction of set pieces. Described are: many types of Tree Pieces, Rising Sun, Pyramids, Pleiades, Cluster of Jewels, Chinese Fan, Peruvian Glory, Criss-Cross Fire, Lattice Poles, Turkish Cross, Peacock Tail, Polar Star, Rainbow Gardens, Rainbow Fanfare, Evening Sunset, Fountain of Beauty, Golden Sentinel, Blazing Sun, Diamond Circlet, Mosaic Rosette, Revolving Jeweled Circle, Golden Glory, Jeweled Fan, Saxon Diamond, etc., as well as other favorites from the USA,England, and Italy. Profusely illustrated.

L-CO3: Complete Course in Ground Display. - All L-104 publications.

L-105 Series: Aerial Display Shells (Euro-American)

L-105: Basic Aerial Shells - All the formulas, basic descriptions, theory, and safety precautions for all the L-105 Series are found in this publication. Also given are detailed instructions for making the following items: Commercial Star Shells, sizes #0 through #5, Floral Shells, Single Break Exhibition Star Shells in all sizes, Profusely illustrated, tables.

L-105A: Exhibition Aerial Shells (EAS), Part I (Fancy Breaks) - Meteoric Shower Shells, Spangle Shells, Thunderbolt Shells, all types of Rain Shells, Peacock Plumes, Palm Boughs, Garatine Shells, Serpents, Creepers, Double Layer Serpent Shells, Serpents and Stars, Saucissons, Whirlwinds, Fireflies, Stars to Serpents, Symphony Shells, Stars to Thunder, Rainbow Report Shells, Grasshopper Shells, Thunder Shells, Thunder and Rainbow Shells, etc. Illustrated, with additional formulas and construction methods.

L-105B: EAS (Patterned Breaks) - Spider Web Shells, Criss-Cross Shells, Octopus Shells, Weeping Willow shells, Double Ring Shells, Compartment Shells, Illustrated, with additional formulas and construction techniques.

L-105C: EAS, (Multiple Breaks) - Tiered or Piled Shells, Military Shells, Hammer Shells, Shell-of- shells, Three-in-one Shell, Crossette Shells, Spectral Shell, Surprise Haley’s Comet Shell, and Trajectory Garnishments. Illustrated, with additional construction techniques.

L-CO4: Complete Course in Aerial Shells (Euro-American) - All L-105 publications.

L-106A: Rockets - Constructions, theory, formulas, and safety precautions needed in order to obtain top quality results in the following items: Skyrockets from 1 oz. to 4 lb. sizes, plus a discussion of various types of headings and garnishments; various types of Line Rockets (Flying Pigeons, Radios, etc.) Serpents. Illustrated.

L-106B: Buzz Bombs/Helicopters - Upon ignition, these spin rapidly on the ground and then ascend in a gyrating manner of or 150-200 feet, leaving a trail of gold sparks Here the device terminates with a report or shooting star. Illustrated.

L-106C: Z-Bombs/Hummers - These usual and amusing items shoot rapidly up into the sky, making a loud humming noise and spinning like a top as they go. When they reach their apex, they explode with a loud report or shooting star. Smaller devices, known as Hummingbirds, and constructed similar to Z-Bombs, are very popular in aerial shells. These are also described.

106D: Tourbillions - A tourbillion, so called from the French word for whirlwind, rotates and ascends at the same time, forming a spiral of fire, and ending in a hemispherical canopy of sparks, in the shape of an umbrella. These are seldom seen in the US any more, but these illustrated instructions tell youhow to make your own and recreate these amazing devices.

L-CO5: Complete Course in Rockets - All 106 Series publications.

L-107: Novelty Fireworks - Construction, theory, formulas, and safety precautions needed to make the following items. Pinwheels, Bottle Rockets, Flying Discs, Grasshoppers, Bees, Sparklers, Colored Fire Sticks, Smoke Pots and Bombs, Smoking Cap Sticks, Cracker Balls. Profusely illustrated.

L-C06: Complete Course in Pyrotechnics - All publications (L-101 through L-107) Most complete and up-to-date course in fireworks ever published.

L-600 Series: Japanese Aerial Display Shells – The Japanese have developed the art of aerial display shells to an almost incredible degree of beauty and originality. This series of pamphlets gives the exact techniques, methods, and formulas that are used to achieve these fantastic effects.


Westech is proud to announce the publication of the first, few pamphlets in a series describing the manufacture of Japanese aerial display shells. This is the first time this information has been published and has been obtained after years of research. Hundreds of Japanese shells were dissected and test fired; numerous chemical and physical tests were performed in the laboratory; and correspondence from pyrotechnists in many parts of the world were brought together to make this series possible.

The Japanese have developed the art of aerial display shells to an almost incredible degree of beauty and originally. Japanese shells are a favorite at all fireworks displays because of their unique and surprising effects; no top-quality display would be complete without a varied selection, of these shells.

Professional and amateur pyrotechnists alike will greatly benefit from this information since they can use some of these novel techniques to improve, their own shells. Or they can use the information directly to make their own Japanese-type shells. Intermediate, and advanced pyrotechnists especially will benefit more from reading this series than probably from any other information published in the pyrotechnics field.

This information has long remained a secret from western pyrotechnists. Although some occasionally know the "anatomy" of a few Japanese shells, they didn’t know the, exact techniques, methods, and formulas that were used to achieve such beauty.

One of the significant benefits of this series is that it describes exactly the myriad ways that the Japanese almost literally "create something from nothing." Although their effects are very amazing, all of their methods are extremely simple, but very clever. With them you’ll be able to add many new dimensions to your aerial shells, as well as cut production costs on many of them.

These pamphlets give step-by-step instructions; details are fully explained so the pyrotechnist is never left in doubt as to how to proceed and there are many professional illustrations and photographs. With the publication of this, series, a great void in fireworks literature has been filled. These long-awaited instructions will be one of the most useful and valuable additions to every serious pyrotechnists library.

L-601: Basic Construction Techniques - This treatise forms the foundation for all other pamphlets in the 600 series. Necessary information used in constructing all Japanese shells is fully explained. The following topics are discussed: Shell Casings, Rice-Hull Powder, and Round Stars. Illustrated tables.

L-602: Chrysanthemum/Peony Shells (CP) - These shells are noted by their perfectly round symmetry and great size of the burst. The almost mathematical precision of the pattern is in direct contrast to the rather random spray produced by an ordinary shell. Illustrated, tables.

L-603: Pistils - These are a smaller cluster of stars in the center of the larger burst, forming a sphere within a sphere. Adding pistils to a C/P shell produces a shell of striking beauty. This treatise gives step-by-step illustrations and instructions. Profusely illustrated.

L-604: Willow Shells - These shells have a hemispherical, drooping burst like the shape of a willow tree. Besides being shells in their own right, willows are used as components of many other Japanese shells. Instructions for making other types of willows plus suggestions for their use in many other shells are described. Illustrated.

L-60C: Complete Course in Japanese Shells - All 600 Series publications.


Westech maintains a pyrotechnics research and development lab. We are constantly experimenting to produce new effects, better ways of achieving the traditional ones, or just plain trying to find out why and how certain devices behave the way they do. The results achieved are then published as "Technical Reports" (TR) All are offset printed on quality paper. If you have any problems or suggestions you’d like us to work on, drop us a line. We’d be happy to see what we can do with them. If a personal reply is desired, please include a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

L-TRI: Professional Pyrotechnic Adhesive - This item is one of the most useful and versatile the pyrotechnist has at his disposal - Its composition has not been known by the general public -Its advantages are: (1) is an extremely strong adhesive; (2) dries very rapidly; (3) easy, quick, one inexpensive to prepare; (4) can be made to any consistency desired. Some of its main uses are: (1) forming the rock-like shell of Cherry Smoke Bombs and regular Cherry Bombs; (2) securing and reinforcing the end plugs of tube devices such as smoke M-80’s, tube salutes, etc.; (3) forming the end plugs using the "Acceloseal" method; (4) attaching paper mortars to wooden bases; (5) attaching drivers, gerbs, etc., and fortifying their junctures on wheels and revolving pieces, and other display items. Complete formulation-and instructions.

L-TR2: - Hints for Better Exploding Fireworks - This TR will help you obtain exploding firework, that are (I) as safe as possible to make an to shoot, and (2) those that use the most economical methods and amount of powder and other materials to obtain the desired report. Using numerous principles of physics, this TR gives practical applications you can Lee for manufacturing all types of exploding fireworks. Also given is a modern formula that will make the best flash powder you have ever heard. The powder is not only inexpensive, but more importantly, safe. (It uses no chlorates, sulfur, sulfides, nor magnesium.) Use this TR to help improve your manufacturing methods and formulas. Complete instructions, formula.

L-TR3: Petards - Using the simplest of casings consisting of only a few turns of dry-rolled paper that can be merely taped at the ends - these items produce a tremendous report, equal to any device of the same size (including those using heavy casings). Petards use no adhesives other than masking tape; no end plugs, no special casing. You can therefore save tremendously in material costs. Petards are ideal for reports in aerial shells, mines, or rockets, or for ground bombs or special effect reports. Through an ingenious Italian method of construction and special formula (using no chlorate/sulfur, perchlorate/sulfur, nor magnesium), petards achieve their amazing success. Complete instructions, formula.

L-TR4: Pyro Powder - Of all the instructions and formulas available, this will probably have more all -around use than any other since it provides the pyrotechnist with a method by which be can manufacture an excellent substitute for block powder! Pyro Powder manufacture is based on a relatively unknown but simple and very effective principle. Using no special tools (such as a grinder or press), nor involved processes (such as incorporating, pressing, or granulating), nor dangerous combinations (such as chlorate/sulfur or perchlorate/sulfur), this unique method uses the simplest of operations and ingredients but combines them in an ingenious process and formula which makes a safe, black -type powder that is even better than the best commercial grade. In fact, one-half part Pyro Powder is about as effective as one part commercial powder! Using this method you can produce your own better powder at a fraction of the cost of commercial types. Besides, you’ll gain tremendously in self-sufficiency. You’ll probably save more in production costs with this investment than you could on any other bit of information or production idea available. Complete instructions, formulas.

L-TR5: "Chinese" Fuse - The exact method of making this useful item has long remained a mystery to Western fireworks makers. Weingart and Davis are the only two published accounts that make reference to it. But they give no details, saying that the process is "very difficult" or "Westerners haven’t the knack for it. " By following the step-by-step details in this TR, you can quickly, easily, and inexpensively make yards of fuse in a matter of minutes. All the "secrets" to the "Chinese" process are fully explained, accompanied by photographs showing manipulation details. A method is also given to waterproof this fuse for underwater use. 100' of "Chinese" fuse costs only about 20 cents to make. Directions, photos.

L-TR5A Time Fuse - This method produces a time fuse that has all the advantages of rammed ("Roman") fuse - considerable end spit, large trajectory trace, easy ignition - but without the time-consuming and costly disadvantages. Following this method, you can turn out yards of top grade time fuse in very little time. You can make various powder core loads, different fuse diameters, and even different trajectory fire traces! Complete, step-by-step instructions, formulas.

L-TR5C; Complete Course in Fuse Manufacture - Both L-TR5 and L-TR5A.

L-TR6: Mini-copters - This Little item is about the same size and has the some effect as a "Flying Disc" or "Satellite," but is much easier, faster, and less "expensive to construct. Upon ignition, it spins rapidly on the ground and then ascends in a gyrating manner to a height of about 75', leaving a trail of gold and silver sparks. Here it terminates with a sharp pop. Mini-copters are one of the most amusing items in novelty fireworks. Illustrated.

L-TR7: Acceloseal - Mass Production Method of Plugging Tube Devices - This TR will cut your production costs of tube devices considerably. There are many tubular pyrotechnic devices that must have one or both ends plugged. Examples are: smoke devices, small star shells, salutes, comets, special stars, etc. Most of these devices have used paper plugs to seal the ends. This TR will show you how you can plug ends without paper plugs, cutting your time and costs in half! Besides, this special method makes an extremely strong seal, stronger than a paper plug. This method will allow you to plug both ends exactly the same or differently, depending on use. Can be used to plug only a few tubes, as well as several hundred at once, A few commercial manufacturers have used this method, keeping its exact operation a secret. This TR gives you step-by-step instructions so you too can use this ingenious method. 

L-TR8: Whistling Rockets (Whistling Jupiter’s) - These delightful item are fired from soda pop bottles. When ignited they zip away to a height of about 100' or more, all the while emitting a shrill whistle and leaving a block trail of smoke. They end their flight with a sharp report. These items have been one of the best selling commercial fireworks items in recent years and how you can make your own, that are even better than the commercial ones. Illustrated.

L-TR9: Contact Explosive - This super sensitive material is great for jokes. It is safe when wet, but when dry a feather or breath of air sets it off. A piece the size of a pencil tip explodes as loud as a firecracker. Apply like paint on keyholes, doorknobs, light switches, chair legs, etc. in small amounts for lots of fun. Although not strictly a pyrotechnic item, we offer the instructions for making this material because of the good-natured fun and special effects a pyrotechnist is sometimes called upon to produce.

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