The “First Family of Fireworks”
Fireworker Antonio Zambelli ventured from Italy in 1893 to establish the Zambelli Fireworks Manufacturing Company in New Castle, Pennsylvania, which was to become a center for America’s fireworks industry. Building on the grand tradition Antonio began, subsequent generations of Zambellis are now known worldwide for setting the industry standard in design and technology – then exceeding it. Today, that Zambelli family heritage continues under the guidance of Antonio’s grandson, George Zambelli Jr., M.D., as Chairman.
The dreams, dedication and precision infused into the business by the Zambelli family has been displayed in a variety of venues from presidential celebrations to small town weddings. Indeed, with both outdoor and indoor extravaganzas of all scopes and sizes, Zambelli Fireworks has changed the face of the fireworks industry.
When Antonio Zambelli emigrated from Italy to the United States in 1893, he carried a big dream and a little black book full of his family’s fireworks recipes. Through the stewardship of his late son, George Zambelli Sr., Antonio’s dream has grown to include some of the most creative and innovative pyrotechnics in the world.
The 124 year Journey of Zambelli Fireworks
We invite you to tour our history and see the amazing journey – from Italian immigrants to the US to putting on the world’s greatest pyrotechnic displays for presidents and historical events.
Antonio’s Little Black Book
When Antonio Zambelli emigrated from Italy to the United States in 1893, he carried a big dream and a little black book full of his family’s fireworks recipes. Through the stewardship of his late son, George Zambelli Sr., Antonio’s dream has grown to include some of the most creative and innovative pyrotechnics in the world. Even today, George’s leadership serves as the foundation of tomorrow under the guidance of his son, George R. Zambelli Jr., M.D., as Chairman.
George Zambelli Sr.
George Zambelli Sr. attended Duquesne University and joined his family upon graduation. With his business and educational experience, he developed an infrastructure with a number of family and young non-family members (some who would remain with the company for 40+ years).
With the support of his wife Constance, matriarch of the family, George Sr. became an icon in the pyrotechnic industry and the envy of his competitors, increasing the number of displays from 8 the week of the 4th of July to over 800 that week at the turn of the century and over 2200 displays per year.
George reviews annual Washington Mall display with National Park Service.
Zambelli Fireworks Highlighted Fort McHenry’s Dawn’s Early Light Program
In 1960, with the addition of Alaska and Hawaii to the Union, President Eisenhower ordered a new design and arrangement of the stars in the Union. On July 4, 1960, the 50 star flag was raised over the Fort McHenry National Monument in Baltimore Maryland.
During the 1960’s, Zambelli Fireworks was proud to be a part of the “Dawn’s Early Light” program commemorating the 1st shot toward Fort McHenry which was fired on September 13th at 6:00PM.
President Kennedy enjoys Zambelli Fireworks from White House balcony
Zambelli has produced fireworks for every president since and including President Kennedy, earning Zambelli the title “Zambelli, The First Family of Fireworks.”
President Kennedy on the White House balcony overlooking the South Lawn, watching a Zambelli Fireworks display in honor of the King of Afghanistan in September 1963
Zambelli Fireworks Honor America Day 1970 Fireworks Spectacular
Honor America Day in 1970, which was produced by Bob Jani, Senior Vice President of Disney. The evening belonged to Bob Hope, his one-liners and his entertainers, including Jack Benny, Red Skelton, Dinah Shore, and Glen Campbell, and culminated with Zambelli Fireworks
Zambelli’s designer multi-break shells highlight the Honor America Day festivities
Bob Hope entertains Honor America Day attendees
Washington Mall 4th of July Celebrations
Philadelphia Bicentennial Celebration
Zambelli Fireworks illuminate sky behind Independence Hall.
George Zambelli and his brother Louis review aerial shells for Philadelphia Bicentennial Spectacular.
In addition to the 100’s of Bicentennial displays that Zambelli Fireworks produced, Philadelphia was the most elaborate in the United States, exhibited simultaneously from 7 downtown locations including the historic Philadelphia Art Museum, Penn’s Landing, Independence Mall, and several rooftops.
Salute to Belgium
Zambelli Fireworks, was proud to exhibit fireworks on the occasion of the arrival in the United States of Their Majesties King Baudouini and Queen Fabiola of the Belgians and the official opening of Belgium Today, an American commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Belgian independence on April 20, 1980.
Zambelli Fireworks exhibited from South Lawn of White House
Saudia Arabia’s Yesterday and Today US Tour 1989
George and Connie Zambelli with Saudi Arabian Prince Bin sultan Bin Abdulaziz before a fireworks exposition.
Zambelli toured the US exhibiting fireworks for the Saudia Arabia Yesterday and Today program. The tour developed an effective style of outdoor show staging and productions that forged a renewed interest in laser shows in theme parks such as seen in Hershey park’s Night Light Laser Show.
Zambelli Fireworks is also proud to produce the Hershey Parks fireworks laser displays.
Saudia Arabia’s Yesterday and Today US Tour 1989
1992 Visit to Taiwan and Peoples Republic of China
Toured China’s fireworks factories to incorporate Zambelli manufacturing technology, safety, and quality control.
Dr. George Zambelli Jr. builds a 12” chrysanthemum shell
George Jr., George Sr., and Howard Simmons visit a Chinese government fireworks facility
George Sr. discusses pioneering bar codes on pyrotechnic articles with world renowned Japanese firework maker Mr. Oh at one of his Taiwan facilities
George Sr. and George Jr. visit one of Jim Shih’s Sunny Fireworks facilities.
Howard Simmons demonstrates how Zambelli Fireworks produces quality controlled finale chains
George Zambelli Sr. critiques Sunny-manufactured shells that he designed
Premiere of Disney’s Pocahontas in Central Park
Pittsburgh 250 Imagine Pittsburgh Fireworks Spectacular
Zambelli’s Signature Thunder Over Louisville
Now in its 23rd year, Thunder Over Louisville is the granddaddy of pyrotechnic displays. Created as the opening ceremonies of the Kentucky Derby Festival, it is the largest annual fireworks display in America thanks to the artistry of Zambelli Internationale.
The physical set-up includes 250 tons of launching tubes, some as high as 10 feet with a diameter of 12 inches. Two million pounds of sand pack the firing tubes on 1800 feet of barges. Almost 700 miles of wire cable connect 20 firing computers to the command post for synchronization to music.
The annual display is choreographed by Michael Richards, George Sr.’s son-in-law.
The special themes give each Thunder a unique flavor. Since the beginning, all shows have included a special salute to America. One year, a prelude salute to Connie and George Zambelli to commemorate their 50th wedding anniversary.
Michael Richards working on Thunder Over Louisville
Michael Richards on-site on the bridge in Louisville overlooking the set-up.
Niagara Falls and bridge effects
Peoples Gas Light the River Spectacular
The combination of flame work and Zambelli Fireworks made the show one of a kind. Isopar flame canons propelled propane flames as large as 60 feel high and 8 feet in diameter. The Firewater system shot rotating narrow flames 10 to 20 feet long creating effects replicating the water fountain at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.
Detroit’s Independence Celebration
Zambelli has been hosting Detroit’s Annual Freedom Festival for over 2 decades. The 2013 display will mark their 25th appearance.
Detroit’s Independence display is one of America’s largest.
Historic 24” shell is carefully loaded into a giant mortar
24” shell in the Detroit Annual Freedom Festival show
2013 National Boy Scout Jamboree
Zambelli Fireworks was proud to have been selected to display fireworks at this year’s National Jamboree on July 20, 2013 at their new facility, The Summit, in Mt. Hope, West Virginia.
In addition to the fireworks extravaganza, which was fired from up to 7 locations, Zambelli trained the Boy Scouts on how to produce and choreograph a fireworks display through lectures, demonstrations, demo shells, and computer simulations.