Any fireworks item that shoots flaming balls into the air, such as a cake or mortar.
Is an acronym for “the authority having jurisdiction”. Generally refers to the fire marshal, local police department, local fire department, or whoever is responsible for regulating and monitoring fireworks in your area.
Ash can is another name for a silver salute. True ash cans became illegal in 1966. Legal ash cans today contain only 50 milligrams of flash powder.
A collection of fireworks items, generally consisting of fountains, sparklers, rockets, and firecrackers.
A group of items fired all at once.
A battery is a group of similar items that
Used in the manufacture of fireworks,
Also known as gun powder, black powder is a mixture of potassium nitrate, charcoal, and sulfur. It is the principal ingredient in most fireworks because it is not sensitive to shock and its burning properties are predictable and slow. Generally used as a propellant to shoot flaming balls, and in the manufacture of stars for aerial effects.
A Bombette is an exploding star, usually ejected from a roman candle or fountain. Bombettes are limited to a maximum charge of 130 milligrams of flash powder in legal consumer fireworks.
A small rocket that is approximately the size of a standard firecracker, one and one-half inches long, with a thin stick attached to it that is approximately 12 inches in length. Bottle rockets can contain whistle effects and may contain a report (loud bang).
A bouquet patter is a floral-shaped aerial pattern of stars, usually in a spherical shape (see the definition for peony).
Sometimes referred to as “repeaters” or “multi-shot aerials”, a cake is an item that has a single fuse which is used to light several tubes in sequence. Cakes can have a variety of intricate aerial effects, including spinners, fish, flower bouquets, comets, crossettes, and other elements. Cakes are the most popular consumer fireworks item outside of sparklers and firecrackers.
Another name for roman candle (see definition below).
A powerful form of chemical oxidizer, including potassium chlorate and barium chlorate. Because these items can form compounds that are sensitive to shock, especially when they come in contact with sulfur, they are banned from all consumer
A flower-like aerial pattern, usually resulting from a cake or mortar.
A type of star that leaves a trail of sparks as it flies through the air.
Sometimes referred to as display fireworks, these are professional fireworks that are regulated by the ATFE and generally require a special license to buy, store, and use. These fireworks are commonly seen in large displays sponsored by a city or other large organization. Consumer fireworks are not commercial fireworks.
A type of fountain in the shape of a cone.
Paper streamers in multiple colors that are propelled by a gas cartridge or by a small pyrotechnic charge.
Fireworks that have been approved by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Fireworks that are approved by the CPSC must be able to withstand
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission, a federal agency responsible for testing and approving all consumer fireworks. The CPSC website can be found at http://www.cpsc.gov/.
A fireworks effects that
A type of comet that breaks into multiple comets, usually forming a cross shape.
A shell that produces a
Day Time Effect
A type of fireworks
The chemical process of converting a compound or mixture into another chemically stable form. Decomposition is usually accompanied by the production of heat.
To burn or vaporize suddenly, usually accompanied by a considerable amount of heat and large volumes of gas. When the speed of the burn or the escaping gas exceeds the speed of sound, the result is a loud boom. Deflagration is the scientific term for how fireworks explode.
A characteristic of high explosives, a detonation occurs when the explosive decomposition of a substance forms an energy wave that moves rapidly though the substance at speeds that exceed the speed of sound. Technically speaking, fireworks do not detonate, but high explosives do.
Sometimes referred to as commercial fireworks, these are professional fireworks that are regulated by the ATFE and generally require a special license to buy, store, and use. These fireworks are commonly seen in large displays sponsored by a city or other large organization. Consumer fireworks are not commercial fireworks.
A special permit that is granted by the local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) to allow you to shoot fireworks legally. Some areas charge a fee for a display permit and may require a fireworks license, hazard insurance, or other documentation to obtain the permit. The larger the local population, the more difficult the display permit process is.
DOT is an abbreviation for the US Department of Transportation. The DOT is responsible for classifying explosives in the United States. The DOT classification 1.4G is synonymous with consumer fireworks, while 1.3G is synonymous with display fireworks. The DOT imposes special requirements on businesses that transport materials with these special designations. The DOT website can be found at http://www.dot.gov.
An electric match is a device that is used to ignite fireworks using electrical current. Approximately one inch in length and ¼ inch round, these items usually consist of a small nickel-chromium wire with a pyrogen coating. An electrical current causes the nickel-chromium wire to heat up, igniting the pyrogen and starting the fuse. Typical manufacturers of these devices include Oxral and Davey Fire.
A substance or mixture which, when submitted to shock, friction, sparks, or flame, can undergo rapid decomposition with the production of a considerable quantity of heat and large volumes of gas.
A beautiful aerial effect that consists of glowing embers that tumble slowly in the air, flickering back and forth as they fall back to earth.
A fireworks item containing flash powder and wrapped in paper with a fuse attached. When the fuse is lit, it burns down inside the paper until it reaches the flash powder. The deflagration of the flash powder results in a loud bang. Legal consumer firecrackers are limited to a maximum of 50 milligrams of flash powder.
A stroboscopic tail effect that consists of many distinct bright flashes of light.
A device that is designed to be burned or ignited in order to yield a visible and/or audio effect.
An aerial effect that looks like a swarm of objects squirming though the air. This effect usually lasts only a few seconds. Fish are actually a type of fuse that propels itself through the air, creating a swimming effect.
A cylindrical device containing a composition that burns for several minutes. Flares are generally 12 inches of
A silvery chemical mixture usually consisting of potassium perchlorate and finely powdered aluminum. It is used as the explosive component of firecrackers, aerial salutes, and the reports in rockets and roman candles. Flash powder is very dangerous to manufacture.
Similar to glitter, flitter is a type of star that contains bright flashes of light in the trail the star leaves behind.
An aerial pattern that resembles a flower with points of light that streak outward from the center of the break.
A ground device that emits showers of sparks several feet in the air.
An item resembling a string or wire that is used to light a fireworks device.
A large horizontal wheel that rotates quickly enough to rises into the air. Once it reaches its peak, it usually explodes or shoots flaming stars. Girandolas are
A tail effect that contains flashes of light and small explosive bursts lasting several seconds.
A self-propelled star that “swims” in the sky link a rocket without fins.
Ground items are any item that is lit on the ground and does not shoot objects into the sky. This includes fountains, sparklers, snaps, snakes, pops, smoke balls, and other items.
A term for a device that spins very fast and lifts high into the sky, only to explode or burst into a special aerial effect. These are also called planes, sky flyers or UFOs.
High explosives are extraordinarily powerful substances that can release large amounts of energy and heat. They can be detonated by a sufficiently large mechanical or explosive shock, and
A device containing primary explosives that
Similar in appearance to a firecracker, jumping jacks spin rapidly and emit red and green sparks.
A tube of pyrotechnic composition, usually five inches long, that burns for one minute. Lances come in various colors are used in set pieces for fireworks events. See the definition of
These are explosives that burn at a steady speed and can only be detonated under extreme circumstances (if at all). Low explosives are generally used as
The original M80 was a military simulator that was sold as a firecracker. M80s are red in color, one and one-half inches long, 5/8 of an inch in diameter, with a green waterproof fuse sticking out the side. It contained two grams of flash powder and was responsible for hundreds of serious injuries due to its powerful blast. These items were banned by the CPSC in
An aerial device that
In fireworks, a missile is a sky rocket that does not have a stick for guidance. Instead, it may rotate to give it some stability as it lifts off, or may be shot from a tube (like Saturn Missile Batteries).
A mortar is a paper or HDPE tube containing a shell with a long fuse. The shell has a lift charge on the bottom that helps propel it into the air. Once in the air, the shell explodes open and release stars and other effects that streak the sky with various designs. Most display fireworks are shot from mortars.
This is another name for a cake or repeater.
An abbreviation for the National Fire Protection Association. The NFPA is responsible for setting uniform national standards for fireworks use, manufacture transportation, and storage. NFPA 1122 sets standards for Model Rocketry. NFPA 1123 sets standards for using display fireworks. NFPA 1124 sets standards for manufacturing and transporting fireworks. NFPA 1125 sets standards for manufacturing model rockets. NFPA 1126 sets standards for the use of proximate (indoor) fireworks. NFPA 1127 sets standards for the hobby of high-power rocketry. The NFPA website is http://www.nfpa.org/.
Fireworks items that limited in their potential to harm people and property, such as snaps, snakes, poppers, and (sometimes) sparklers.
An aerial effect that produces a gold or silver stem as the shell rises into the sky (known as a rising tail), followed by a brocade or willow effect that creates palm fronds. It resembles
A paper projectile that is expelled from a mortar tube either as a single-shot
An aerial effect that looks like a spherical ball of colored lights in the sky. A very common aerial effect on most fireworks displays.
A common oxidizer used in fireworks manufacture. With a few exceptions, perchlorates are preferred over chlorates because their compounds are generally less sensitive to shock.
A ball of stars in the center of another ball of stars. Another way to describe this effect is a small peony inside a larger peony.
A term for a device that spins very fast and lifts high into the sky, only to explode or burst into a special aerial effect. These are also called helicopters, sky flyers or UFOs.
Also known as initiators or initiating explosives, these items are stable under normal conditions, but will detonate if ignited and can be extremely sensitive to mechanical shock. These are typically used to initiate high explosives. Primary fireworks are used in fireworks.
The formal name for indoor fireworks. Indoor fireworks are used for concerts and public events, and their use in public shows is heavily regulated in most States.
A punk is a bamboo stick with a brown coating that burns slowly. These look identical to incense sticks, but do not have a distinctive aromatic effect like incense does. Punks are generally used to light consumer fireworks. Another way to light fireworks is with an instant-on propane torch or a road flare. Because fuses are known to spit fire occasionally, lighting fireworks with matches is strongly discouraged.
Ant item that burns in order to perform its function. Fireworks are classified as pyrotechnics.
Quick match is a type of fuse that is used to light commercial fireworks. It consists of black match that is wrapped loosely in a paper pipe, approximately 3/8
A reloadable aerial is an aerial mortar that includes one or more mortar tubes and several reloadable aerial shells. The shells are placed inside the mortar tube,
Sometimes referred to as “cakes” or “multi-shot aerials”, a repeater is a cluster of aerial tubes with a single fuse. The name “cake” was attributed to these because the cluster of tubes looks similar to a cake in size and shape. Once the fuse is lit, each of the tubes is fired in sequence. Cakes can have a variety of intricate aerial effects, including spinners, fish, flower bouquets, comets, crossettes, reports, and other aerial effects. Cakes are the most popular consumer fireworks items outside of sparklers and firecrackers.
A report is another name for a bang. Items with reports explode with a bang. This term is most often used with rockets and cakes.
A shell that produces a ring as its aerial pattern. See also Saturn shell.
A rising tail is a gold or silver tail effect that is created when a shell is shot into the sky, similar to the trunk of a tree. Commonly used with palm tree shells.
A rocket is a tube-like pyrotechnic device made out of a paper tube that propels itself into the air in order to fly. There are many different kinds of rockets, including sky rockets, bottle rockets, and missiles. Please refer to these items for more information on rockets.
A paper tube filled with
Safe and Sane
This is a term for fireworks that do not have aerial effects or explode. Items that are classified as Safe and Sane include sparklers, snaps, smoke balls, fountains, snakes, and (in some cases) wheels. Items that are not classified as Safe and Sane include firecrackers, rockets, and cakes. Some States restrict legal fireworks to Safe and Sane items only.
A salute is an item that explodes. This term is most frequently used in regard to aerial items, although some people refer to firecrackers as “ground salutes”. When a salute explodes, it is referred to as a “report”.
A shell that produces a ring around an inside ball of stars. The Saturn shell is a combination of a peony with a ring around it.
Another name for a tourbillion. A serpent is a type of star that spins in the sky and gives off large quantities of gold, silver, or white light. These are generally constructed as a small paper tube with holes on each end that allow it to spin.
A ground item consisting of many colored lances that
A shell is an aerial item that is fired into the sky. It generally consists of a fuse, a lift bag, and a paper ball filled with stars and burst media. The fuse lights the lift bag on the bottom of the shell propelling it into the sky. At the same time, an internal time fuse is triggered and at the right
A silver salute is an M80 firecracker with a silver colored paper tube. The words “do not hold in hand” are generally written on the tube. See the item titled M80 for more information on these devices.
Single Shot Aerial
A single shot aerial is a mortar tube with a shell already installed in it. These items generally have a fuse sticking out the side of the mortar at the base of the tube. While these are single-shot,
A term for a device that spins very fast and lifts high into the sky, only to explode or burst into a special aerial effect. These are also called planes, helicopters, or UFOs.
A sky rocket is a pyrotechnic device made out of a paper tube that propels itself into the air in order to fly. Sky rockets generally have a stick to add stability to the flight of the rocket. Firework rockets that do not have sticks are referred to as missiles.
Any item that produces
Snakes are hard pellets that are lit and produce a long carbon snake. The items are popular with kids;
Snaps are paper balls that are filled with a cap composition that goes BANG when they are thrown at something. Snaps are generally safe for most kids to use.
A stick with a coating of pyrotechnic composition that creates sparks when lit. While sparklers are generally considered safe, they are responsible for over eighty percent of the injuries due to fireworks each year. This is because people throw the hot sparkler wires on the ground and other people step on them. If you use sparklers, please make sure you have a bucket of water handy to place the used sparkler wires in when the sparkler burns out.
A spinner is a type of star that spins in the sky and gives off large quantities of white light. Another name for
A type of fireworks slang for an electric match (see definition of
A small pellet of composition that produces a pyrotechnic effect. Stars are used in aerial shells, rockets, roman candles, cakes, and fountains to produce streaks or light, pulses, long golden tails, and other aerial effects. A single shell could contain several hundred stars.
A strobe is a blinking effect. When used in a shell with hundreds of strobe stars, the strobe effect looks like shimmering water in the sky. Strobes can be a variety of colors, including white, green, blue, and orange.
A burning trail that follows a star in the sky. Most comets have tails, and so do willow and brocade effects.
An aerial salute that produces white sparks along with a loud report. Titanium is frequently used in fireworks to produce bright silver-white sparks.
Another name for a serpent. A tourbillion is a type of star that spins in the sky and gives off large quantities of gold, silver, or white light. These are generally constructed as a small paper tube with holes on each end that allow it to spin.
A tube is another name for a mortar (see definition for mortar above).
A term for a device that spins very fast and lifts high into the sky, only to explode or burst into a special aerial effect. These are also called helicopters, planes, or sky flyers.
Visco is a type of rugged water proof fuse that is used to light fireworks. Most
A wheel is a stationary device that spins and creates a circular ring of fire and sparks. These are generally nailed to a pole or a tree before they are lit. You should always be careful to make sure the area is free from flammable debris before you light a wheel as the sparks can carry ten feet or more.
Whistles are generally small paper tubes filled with a composition that makes a sharp howling sound. Whistles can be found in rockets, fountains, cakes.
Fireworks that are sold by the case. You can generally save twenty percent
An aerial effect that looks like a giant gold willow tree in the sky. A true willow effect has delicate golden trails that hang in the sky ten seconds or more.