Poisonous Fireworks

Manufacturer and builder 3, 1877

A young lady living at Bristol, N. H., died recently from the effects of inhaling gas from "red fire," burned during a young ladies' tableaux entertainment, in which she took part about six weeks before her death.

The above pyrotechnic mixture, "red fire," is quite a favorite at private tableaux exhibitions, but should be utterly banished from the parlor. Its fumes are highly poisonous; it is composed of nitrate of strontia, black sulphide of antimony, sulphur, and chlorate of potash; the crimson color is due to the strontia. The latter is a salt of the metal strontium, similar to the metals calcium, magnesium, and barium, of which only the latter is poisonous. Strontium, notwithstanding its compounds are not direct poisons, when its vapors are inhaled with those of antimony or other subetances which the pyrotechnist may put in, must be considered dangerous in all illy ventilated place.

The green fire made with barium is far more dangerous still, as barium is directly a poison. The same may be said of many other fireworks mixtures. The lime-light lanterns and pieces of glass of different colors may in many cases be substituted, by which a great variety of effects are obtained; and we would advise avoiding the use of these colored fires, except in large well ventilated localities, but rather substitute the colors produced by colored glass, at least in all cases where the desired effect may be attained. If not, take care to give the vapors a free escape, and never expose the performers by bringing the colored fire too near them.

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