Established in 1891, Standard Fireworks, the UK’s number 1 Firework brand was the brainchild of Yorkshire wholesale draper James Greenhalgh.
Always the entrepreneur James had seen that there was money to be made selling fireworks through his drapery business in the weeks before November 5th - Bonfire Night.
These fireworks were mainly made by outworkers, usually local coal miners supplementing their income.
Supplies for the fireworks were also brought from China by sea and arrived at Huddersfield by barge.
So, a fireworks manufacturing business had begun in a very small way and was worked alongside a continuing whole sale drapery business.
Years on the firework business proved to be a successful venture and a proper firework manufacturing site was soon needed.
Standard Fireworks moved to its current site at Crosland Hill, Huddersfield in 1910, where it now covers over 100 acres. When the site was purchased 1910 it was an old stone quarry, which was ideal in that, as well as providing all the space required for making fireworks, the site already had purpose built gunpowder stores used previously in the quarrying business.
A firework factory was started and today, although manufacturing has now been moved to China, the site remains with the head office for firework sales, marketing, warehousing and distribution, still located there.
During both the First and the Second World Wars firework production switched to munitions and become an essential part of the war effort.
The post war years brought further expansion and Standard Fireworks was floated on the Stock Market in 1959.
In 1988 Standard Fireworks bought the old established Scottish based Brocks Fireworks Ltd, seeing all fireworks production transferred to Yorkshire.
During the 1980's and 1990's Standard Fireworks become a major employer in the Yorkshire region with a 500 strong workforce both manufacturing fireworks and office staff.
1998 saw the purchase of Standard Fireworks by the Chinese based Black Cat Fireworks, now part of the largest manufacturer of fireworks in the world. Black Cat Fireworks switched all firework manufacture to China.
The Huddersfield site is now the UK headquarters for Black Cat Fireworks UK and acts as the sales, marketing, warehousing and distribution centre for both Black Cat Fireworks and Standard Firework brands.
Continued investment in new firework product development, innovation, sourcing, logistics, warehousing, sales and marketing have ensured Standard Fireworks will remain the leading Family favourite firework brand in the UK.
Black Cat Fireworks has established itself as the brand leader for the fireworks enthusiast and produces innovative and exciting ranges year after year.
2003 saw Black Cat Fireworks and Standard Fireworks launch their first website to provide information and an online product catalogue. Over the recent years this has developed into the commercial firework website you see today, reflecting the trend for all year round sales of fireworks including the growth of the celebration market.
The history of firecrackers is deeply embedded in the Chinese psyche; in its traditions, its ceremonies and culture. Just as Europeans enjoy the pop of champagne cork and a sip of sparkling wine to celebrate a birth, a marriage, a home-coming or a business deal, Chinese people prefer something more visually demonstrative!
In ancient China, people used to burn pieces of the ever present bamboo to celebrate the coming of the Lunar New Year. As they caught fire, the bamboos cracked and burst with a loud popping sound. People believed that the noise would drive away evil spirits, thus the firing of bamboos was considered to be the best way to ensure a New Year of health, peace and prosperity.
In time, the Chinese discovered that certain mixtures of carbon, potassium nitrate and sulphur produced an even more spectacular explosive effect - a very useful commodity for hurling missiles and weapons (like arrows) in war, and, when peace came, a vast improvement on the simple burning of bamboo. But in spite of its superior volatility, the firecracker retains its ancient name of "burst bamboo" (pao chuk).
In China black cats are a symbol of luck and good fortune, this fact being the basis for Black Cat Fireworks tag line of "The Best that you can Get".
The firework brand was introduced in the USA in the 1940's by Li & Fung, one of the largest and most respected Trading Companies in China which became a Registered Trademark in 1952 and is now the oldest and most highly recognised firework brand in the American market.
1998 saw the purchase of Standard Fireworks by Black Cat Fireworks and the introduction of Black Cat Fireworks into the UK market. Since this time the brand has gone from strength to strength and is now synonymous with exciting and innovative fireworks for those who take their fireworks more seriously.
Over the past 60 years in China Black Cat Fireworks has evolved from the basic firecrackers to a product line that today contains over 500 items.
Continued focus on quality and innovation has made Black Cat Fireworks an International brand, with presence in firework markets all around the world.
Over the past couple of years, Shiu Fung has invested heavily in its infrastructure and now oversees the operations of its certified factories from its state-of-the art facilities in China.