what drives the irdieden?


Wheels rotate by the force supplied by the drivers. These are made of Charcoal, Potassium Nitrate and Sulphur. Charcoal is made out of grape vine trimmings which is burnt for a few minutes and then closed air tight in a 45 gallon tank and left idle for more than 8 weeks. Black PowderBlack Powder Then the charcoal is milled to fine powder and afterwards mixed with the sulphur and potassium nitrate with the appropriate mix, ball milled and then granulated.

The black powder used for the drivers is now finely granulated, then it is left to dry for almost a month in a ventilated area. Trials are carried out to optimize the height to bore ratio of the clay nozzle. It is a standard feature of all black powder drivers, that these have an internal bore of ½ inch. The diameter of the nozzle hole is between 3.0 to 3.5 mm. The carton driver tube is normally hand rolled by a number of volunteers.

The next process is the filling up of the drivers. This is done either manually or using hydraulic press which can press around 100 drivers in one go. The filling up is done potion by portion. Normally a driver is filled up in 8 steps. After the filling up the drivers, the next step is to match the drivers.

These are prepared in sets of 6 drivers. When one driver burns out completely, it will light the next one. This will be repeated for all the 6 drivers. The time taken by all the 6 drivers is equivalent to the time the lance last. The time is approximately one minute.


LancesLances The lances are 4½ ins. tall and ¼ ins. in diameter. These are filled up manually. When these burn, these produce a coloured flame. The popular colours used in lance work are Red, Blue, Green, Yellow and White. The lances are fixed to a piece of wood (hard cardboard). A 1 inch nail is fixed to the wood and then the lance is dipped in white wood glue and inserted in the nail in an upright position. The lances are fixed in a row, 6 ins. away from each other. Then these are matched together. These lances will then be fixed to the framework of the Raddiena.

The lances and the drivers are then attached to the framework and all will be matched. The whole Raddiena will be fixed to a pole. This pole is normally a wooden pole which measure around 8 ins. diameter and around 25 feet tall. Then the pole will be inserted in a hole in the ground and will be well supported. The Raddiena will be ready for fire. In Malta the traditional way to light the black match of the Raddiena is with the use of a lighted lance. In other places outside Malta, the use of electric match is more popular.