Electric Bulb Initiator

Section VI

No. 1

Mortars, mines and similar weapons often make use of electric initiators. An electric initiator can be made using a flashlight or automobile electric light bulb.


  • Electric light bulb and mating socket
  • Cardboard or heavy paper B
  • lack Powder
  • Adhesive tape


Method I

1. Break the glass of the electric light bulb. Take care not to damage the filament. The initiator will NOT work if the filament is broken. Remove all glass above the base of the bulb.

2. Form a tube 3 to 4 inches long from cardboard or heavy paper to fit around the base of the bulb. Join the tube with adhesive tape.

3. Fit the tube to the bulb base and tape in place.

Make sure that the tube does not cover that portion of the bulb base that fits into the socket.

4. If no socket is available for connecting the initiator to the firing circuit, solder the connecting wires to the bulb base.

CAUTION: Do NOT use a hot soldering iron on the completed igniter since it may ignite the Black Powder.

5. Fill the tube with Black Powder and tape the open end of the tube closed.

Method II

If the glass bulb (electric light) is large enough to hold the Black Powder, it can be used as the container.


1. File a small hole in the top of the bulb.

2. Fill the bulb with Black Powder and tape the hole closed.

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