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"You guys outdid yourself this year! They were the best EVER!!! I am not the only one who thought so, and have since heard many long-time residents & viewers say that this year they were even better than they've ever been. I am in AWE. It was truly SUPERB! You've set such a high standard that I can't wait to see next year!! :)"


Nostalgia Pyrotechnics, Inc. Offers variety and service

Fireworks originated in China some 2,000 years ago. The most prevalent legend has it that fireworks were discovered or invented accidentally by a Chinese cook working in a field kitchen who happened to mix charcoal, sulphur and salt peter (all commonly found in the kitchen in those days). The mixture burned and when compressed in an enclosure (a bamboo tube), the mixture exploded.

Today, the town of Osco, located about five miles from Cambridge, has its own manufacturer, importer and distributor of Class B and Class C fireworks, Nostalgia Pyrotechnics, Inc. Nostalgia Pyrotechnics, Inc. once known as Osco Fireworks, is owned and managed by Tom Krawiec, a former police officer “I grew up around fireworks,” Krawiec stated. “I was born and raised in an Italian neighborhood in Chicago where there were lots of festivities. One of my best friends grandfather made fireworks and shot them off at the different festivals.”

Krawiec bought Osco Fireworks in 1987 after the owner filed bankruptcy.” Osco Fireworks was a booming business with a fulltime crew creating a variety of fireworks. Because of labor costs the overseas market has become impossible to compete with; sadly it has necessary to import 99% of our fireworks from the overseas market.”

“We still have a part-time crew during the summer and fall months that make booms and a few other things, but the majority of inventory is imported.” Krawiec stated in addition to manufacturing, importing and distributing fireworks, Nostalgia Pyrotechnics, Inc. plans professional events and even shoots them off. “Our fireworks go all over the United States.” Krawiec stated. “There used to be a lot of firework manufacturers/distributors but today there’s not.

When manufacturing the products in Osco, Krawiec said there’s a lot of preparation that goes into a shell before it can be loaded. He said different chemical combinations create the different colors. He purchases his supplies from Osco, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

OSCO: Business offers fireworks

Aerial display fireworks can range from $3.50 to $400.00 for a 12-inch Japanese shell. Individuals putting on a show must have a federal and state license. The private consumer can also purchase a variety of fireworks; however they must have a permit from their local fire chief. “We have a list of state approved items we can sell to the private consumer, aerial shells and fountains are among them,” Krawiec stated. In addition, to the consumers licensing requirements, Nostalgia Pyrotechnics, Inc. must obtain a variety of state and federal licenses as well.

“People like a lot of variety in their show,” Krawiec stated. “The bigger the burst, the better the crowd likes it. Everyone like the bursts with the tails that drag, and of course a great finale.” Nostalgia Pyrotechnics, Inc. always tests any new fireworks before selling it. “We always test the item to make sure they do what they are supposed to” he continued. I would not want to sell anything I wasn’t happy with.”

When asked how residents deal with the testing of new products, Krawiec was quick to state he tries to be a good neighbor and does not shoot them off in the middle of the night or when the town has something special going on. “I think most people love to see our fireworks, so I really don’t think they mind,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of positive comments about the things I’ve done.” Krawiec concluded by saying that fireworks are used for a variety of celebrations: including, festivals, weddings, ball games, parties, family reunions and much more!

The Chronicle(Quad City Newspaper) discovered upon a bit of history research that settlers brought fireworks to the U.S. during the 1600’s and the first Independence Day fireworks celebration was in 1776, and memorialized by then future President John Adams as follows: “The day (Independence Day) will be the most memorable in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as a great anniversary festival..it ought to be celebrated with pomp, parade, bonfires and illuminations(fireworks) from one end of the continent to the other from this day forward forevermore.”

TOM KRAWIEC, owner and president of Nostalgia Pyrotechnics, Inc. in Osco, Illinois showing off some of the fireworks the business has available to the public. Krawiec said there are hundreds and hundreds of different types of fireworks, but people like the biggest burst possible and fireworks that have the tails. It’s interesting to note the 99% of all fireworks are made in China, where the firework originated. Nostalgia Pyrotechnics, Inc. formerly known as the Osco Fireworks still makes some booms and a few other things but most of their products are imported.


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