History of the PGI
The Pyrotechnics Guild International was founded in 1969 by Max
P. Vander Horck, then publisher of a monthly fireworks newsletter titled
Max envisioned the establishment of an organization for fireworks
enthusiasts, whose goal would be not only to educate themselves
regarding pyrotechnics, but the media, politicians and public as well.
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,
Current membership stands at over 3,500. 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
Today, many PGI members refer to each other as "Green men".