#47 Safe & Sane

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“Safe & Sane” is a designation for fireworks that are safe for the consumer, such as the sparkler in this AmperArt piece, & usually means they are legal to purchase & use.

I was surprised to learn that the term “safe & sane” is not a brand, as one would think (at least I did for the last 50 years), but rather a “stamp of approval” to denote the pyro safety factor. I was very pleased at this discovery, for it allows this AmperArt edition to be part of my slogan series in addition to celebrating the 4th of July, or Independence Day, in the United States.

Here’s what Wikipedia says:

The term “Safe & Sane” fireworks became popular in the late 1950s & 1960s as a way to describe those fireworks that don’t fly, travel or explode. For example, fountains, sparklers, snakes & smoke effects, ground spinners, snap pops & other novelty fireworks fit this description. However, firecrackers, rockets, roman candles, shells & other aerial effects are not usually considered safe & sane fireworks. The determination of what fireworks will bear the official “Safe & Sane” seal is determined by the state & city as every jurisdiction has its own specific definition of what are considered Safe & Sane fireworks under their laws & ordinances.

Of course, as kids we always managed to sneak in some firecrackers, rockets, roman candles,  Piccolo Petes & other exciting, loud & dangerous pyros every 4th of July. Nearly got my toes blown off once, though.

Here’s some good advice:

Always keep a bucket of water nearby to completely cool down & extinguish your sparklers, spinners, fountains & other Safe & Sane fireworks. You are still working with pyrotechnic compounds which include gunpowder & require an open flame or other fuse-lighting method. After fireworks are dispatched, the remnants can remain very hot for quite some time & burn curious children’s fingers.


I am fascinated by all the technology at Disneyland (my favorite place in the world) from the primitive cam system driving the early Pirates of the Caribbean animatronics to the sophisticated computer systems synching the water, sound, lights, and pyrotechnics in Fantasmic and Wonderful World of Color.
The other day I came across an in-depth video that describes how some of the magic works at Disneyland and Disney World–stuff like fireworks shooting to exactly the determined height and exploding right on cue to the music. Each shell is shot out of its cannon not with powder anymore, but with a controlled blast of air, all computerized (26 computers run the show at Walt Disney World). And each shell has an embedded chip that receives a radio signal that ignites it at precisely the right moment to sync with the music. Definitely not Safe & Sane, but rather Sophisticated and Sensational! Here’s the YouTube link to that video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVcHjdD_ipM. The fireworks episode starts at 44:17, but the entire program is fascinating for any Disney park fan.
Program: Illustrator
Original dimensions: 20″ x 30″
Font: Latin Condensed (modified)
Ampersand: Illustrator star brush
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Chaz DeSimone

Design. Dancing. Disneyland. Modernism. Nudism. Black Cats or any other color.

4 thoughts on “#47 Safe & Sane

  1. Lisa, I am smiling at your clever pun, “ignited.” My inspiration for this piece was ignited when I recalled the term “safe & sane” and then it caught fire when I read it was a slogan, not a brand. Oh yes, those snakes. Now you’ve reminded me.

  2. PS I completely LOVE (and miss) the Disneyland fireworks displays, especially on the 4th! They don’t get any more spectacular than that!

  3. I love this one, Chaz! It completely reminds me of childhood and the sparklers my Mom and Dad would buy for my brother and I! Another favorite of ours were the safe and sane “snakes” that would crawl along the ground until they burned out. Life seemed fun and easy back then. What a nice memory you’ve ignited! Thank you!

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