Pinfire Fireworks Cartridges
Here is a selection of pinfire cartridges that were loaded with a fireworks charge. These pinfire fireworks cartridges allowed anyone with a pinfire shotgun, pistol, rifle or cane gun to shoot fireworks into the air.
The text from the above Societé Française des Munitions catalog states that these cartridges fire fireworks and do not cause any recoil so they can be safely used by ladies and children. It specifies that these cartridges must be fired into the air where they rise 200 meters and at this height
the flares explode into firecrackers producing a very loud bang, the shower of stars are produced by a small explosion and are divided into a number of star-shapes in multiple colors falling like a parachute producing the most beautiful effect. They state that this cheap distraction is very original and enjoyable providing the illusion of fireworks.
Most of these cartridges pictured were made by Societé Française des Munitions. The first two shotshells have a headstamp that reads: Artifices St Hubert. Artifices translates to fireworks and St. Hubert was the patron saint of hunters, among other things. These two were made by SFM. The third and forth 12g shotshells pictured were made by Societé Anonyme des Cartoucheries, de Anderlecht.
A 1901 catalog from Manufacture Française d’Armes et Cycles de Saint-Etienne shows some of their examples with an image of what the resulting fireworks actually look like. They even sold a giant 4g fireworks shotshell!
Unlike most shotshells sold around this time which were unloaded, these were actually loaded which meant they could not be shipped quickly. The note at the bottom of this catalog page states that these fireworks cartridges could only ship at slow speed and to allow a couple weeks for delivery. They also noted the increased transportation cost necessitated larger orders of at least 20 Francs.
The SFM reference collection has the following box labels for pinfire fireworks cartridges. They sold two varieties, gerbe étoilée, or star spray, and fusées pétards, or firecracker rockets.