On July 4, no golden tourbillions will cascade fire down the night sky. There will be no blinding saucisson shells, no bengolas, no spidery pyro cuttlefish, no earwhacking bombshells, no climactic Niagara Falls. The U.S. is without its tradition al fireworks (except for a few bootleg pops) because the whole fireworks indus try has become a sizzling skyrocket.

Best peacetime fireworks year had been 1929. Then the entire industry employed 1,8 1 1 workers, did a $6,500,000 business. In the following years, state after state restricted fireworks. The industry wilted like...

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