Sivakasi is the natural choice for fireworks production. Low rain fall and a dry climate prevailing in the Sivakasi area contribute to unabated production. What could have been consumed in three hours of the Diwali Day came to be produced in 300 days, almost with overtime jobs through out the year.
In Sivakasi the first fire works industry was started in the early 20th century. Having achieved a measure of success in Safety Matches, Colour Matches and Star Matches, Mr. A Shanmuga Nadar and Mr. Iya Nadar ventured upon the making of sparklers –then the most popular item in the Small Fireworks family, which were at the time imported from the UK and Germany.
The germinal seed for the making of modern family Fireworks or Small Fireworks was planted in the year 1934 when the Central Excise Duty on Matches was promulgated. Until the outbreak of World War II in 1939, there were only a handful of factories in Sivakasi, Trichur and rimjalakuda in Kerala State. From 1938 to 1944 the import of fireworks and firecrackers was obstructed by war. This shortage gave a fillip to the indigenous industry, which was in its infancy.
During the year 1940, the Indian Explosives Rules were enacted whereby a system of licensing was introduced for manufacture, possession and sale. Thus came to be set up in the year 1940 the first organized factory with several precautions and safety measures.
The shortage in the market helped these, then seasonal, factories to work even during off-season and build up stocks. With World War II coming to an end and the gateway for import of raw materials having been reopened, the indigenous industry enlarged itself.
Not only the existing factories broadened their efforts, there came into existence several new units, of which National Fireworks, Kaliswari Fireworks and Standard Fireworks were prominent in the year 1942. These three factories started marketing their products throughout the length and breadth of India. These were later supplemented by new units at the average of 10 per year. What started as I or 2 factories in 1923, rose to 3 in 1942, and by the year 1980 the number of factories had risen to 189. By the end of 2001 the total number of factories was 450 in Sivakasi alone.