Make your own free website on

Index Page

Chapter 21

The Big Fireworks

Back in the 1950’s fireworks were the big item around the Fourth of July and New Years.
The bigger the bang the better. There were the big red ones that looked like small sticks
of dynamite, about two inches long and 1/2 inch in diameter; these were called ‘Baby
Giants.’ There was a silver one about the same size but had the fuse coming out the side;
these were called ‘TNT’ Then, there was a red ball shaped one about an inch in diameter
with a green fuse; this was called a ‘Cherry Bomb.’

These fireworks, along with some others, were outlawed in Texas in the 1960’s after
several people lost fingers from playing with them. The following story will give you an
idea of how powerful they really were.

About a week before Christmas in 1957 a friend and I were driving around in the country
looking for a place to ‘shoot’ some fireworks. We had some ‘TNT’S’ and some ‘Cherry
Bombs.’ We had just been discussing how the fuses on these two fireworks were
supposed to be able to burn under water when I spotted a concrete stock tank, full of
water, in a pasture about fifty yards from the road. I stopped the car and told my buddy,
“It’s time to see if these fuses will really burn under water.”

I got a ‘TNT’ and he got a ‘Cherry Bomb’ and we climbed over the fence and headed to
the stock tank. I got on one side of the tank and my buddy got on the other side. We lit
our fireworks at the same time and dropped them in the water and ran like the wind.
When I heard the explosion, I turned to look. What I saw really surprised me. There was
a geyser of water shooting about twenty feet into the air. I don’t think a stick of dynamite
could have blown any more water out of the tank than those two ‘firecrackers.’

We left that place in a big hurry, but we had proven two things. One was that those fuses
would burn under water and number two, that was more power than we wanted to play with.

Just one last note. I drove by that place several times over the next few years and I never
did see any more water in the tank. Apparently the explosion had cracked the concrete
sides enough that it would not hold water. That was a lot of power for kids to be playing with.

John Watson


Index Page