This publication has been prepared under the direction of the Ordnance Department to be used as a basis for the instruction of officers and civilians in the art of manufacturing military pyrotechnics.
Such a publication was found necessary, due to the lack of any written information on the subject and the inability to secure men trained in the art.
These volumes - Volume I, History and Development of Pyrotechnics; Volume II, Manufacture of Pyrotechnics; and Volume III, A Study of the Chemicals Used in the Manufacture of Pyrotechnics - were compiled under the direction of Henry B. Faber, dean of the pyrotechnic schools established during the World War, with an historical introduction by Marvin Dana. Acknowledgment is made to the various ordnance officers and civilians, teachers and students of the Pyrotechnic School, as well as the manufacture of pyrotechnics, all of whom contributed to a greater or less degree in the furnishing of the necessary information and scientific data on which these works are based.
War Department, Office of the Chief of Ordnance, Washington, May 31, 1919. No. O. O. 461/3341.
From: Chief, Trench Warfare Division. To: The Chief of Ordnance. Subject: Textbook on Military Pyrotechnics.
1. During the period of participation of the United States in the World War, the requirements for military pyrotechnics increased at a more rapid rate than productive capacity. This condition was foreseen but could not be immediately remedied by the creation of new manufacturing facilities. Pyrotechnics remains as one of the few "crafts" of our industrial life. No literature exists. Knowledge of the art has been handed down from generation to generation, and is confined to but a handful of skilled operators. The prewar industry had been expanded to the limit. Withdrawal of skilled operators from producing plants in order to form a nucleus for newer organizations would have been disastrous. The only remaining solution was to proceed immediately with the education of new operators.
2. With this end in view, an Ordnance School of Military Pyrotechnics was authorized. The services of Mr. Henry B. Faber as dean of the school were secured. Some 45 students taken from various walks of life were then apprenticed to the various manufacturing plants. Each student confined his activities to some one or more specific phases of the work. From the technical diaries of these students, Mr. Faber and his assistants extracted such data as would make a complete and well-correlated textbook for the use of the organizations of the additional plant facilities to be created.
3. The manuscript of this work was practically completed at the signing of the armistice, but was not published owing to the immediate reduction of requirements. Time no longer being pressing, Mr. Faber was authorized to increase the scope of the work so as to make its usefulness broader than was originally intended. The manuscript as it stands to-day covers the entire field of pyrotechnics and opens promising lines of research and development It is recommended that this work be published by the Ordnance Department with funds still remaining from the allotment made to cover the cost of the Ordnance School of Military Pyrotechnics. The necessary authority has been obtained from the Office of the Chief of Staff (O. O. 461/2997 Miscl.). Should an emergency again arise, this book would be of priceless value.
4. It is not, however, solely with this end in view that publication is suggested. Present conditions do not indicate that material improvements in the art may be expected from within the fireworks industry. It is therefore believed that interest in the subject must be stimulated in other directions and that a judicious distribution of this work among libraries and technical institutions would open up fields of research from which much good might reasonably bo expected.
E. J. W. Ragsdale, Lieut. Col. Ordnance Department, U. S. A.
Chief, Trench Warfare Division.
O. O. 461/3841.
Office, Chief of Ordnance, June 2,1919.
To: Chief, Trench Warfare Division.
1. The publication by the Ordnance Department of the Textbook on Military Pyrotechnics as above referred to is approved.
C. C. Williams, Maj. Gen.) Chief of Ordinance, U. S. A.