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Our History

The Pyrotechnics Guild International was founded in 1969 by Max P. Vander Horck, then publisher of a monthly fireworks newsletter titled American Pyrotechnist. Max envisioned the establishment of an organization for fireworks enthusiasts. From the outset, the goal of the PGI has been to educate Guild members about pyrotechnics, and also help educate the media, politicians, and the public. 

In March 1969 he announced to his subscribers that membership was available in a newly founded organization called the Pyrotechnics Guild International, and the PGI was born.

The membership expanded for a few years and in 1974 a formal charter and bylaws were drawn up, officers elected, and formal incorporation accomplished (in Illinois), and the PGI became the PGI, Inc.

Current membership stands at over 1,600. Members are from all walks of life, and range from people with just a passing interest all the way up to hard-core fireworks enthusiasts.

Many regional clubs have sprung up over the last few years and have their own agenda of fireworks related activities.

The "green man" figure within the PGI emblem was selected from John Bate's 1635 fireworks treatise, "The Second Booke", to symbolize the long tradition of using fireworks as an essential part of festivals and celebrations - at that time led by so-called "green men" appointed to head processions with a "Fire Club" shooting sparks. They were called "green men" because they clothed themselves with fresh leaves to protect themselves from sparks produced by their hand-held fireworks.

Today, many PGI members refer to each other as "green men".