You are here: Home > Fireworks Glossary

Fireworks Glossary

Everything you always wanted to know about fireworks.

Aerial Repeater
Aerial Repeater
Aerial Repeater: 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.
Assortment
Fireworks Assortment
Assortment: A collection of fireworks items, generally consisting of fountains, sparklers, rockets, and firecrackers.
Barrage
Barrage
Barrage: A group of items fired all at once.
Bottle Rocket
Bottle Rocket
Bottle Rocket: 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).
Break
Fireworks Break
Break: The aerial burst of a shell that produces the star and color effect.
Brocade Effect
Brocade Effect
Brocade: A spider like effect in the sky, much like fine lace. The brocade effect is generally a silver tail effect, and is brighter than the willow or tiger tail effect. Most brocade effects use glitter to produce the long brocade tails.
Cake
Cake
Cake: see Aerial Repeater
Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemum: A spherical break of colored stars, similar to a peony, but with stars that leave a visible trail of sparks.
Comet
Comet
Comet: A type of star that leaves a trail of sparks as it flies through the air.
Cone
Cone Fountain
Cone: A type of fountain in the shape of a cone.
Consumer Fireworks
1.4G Fireworks
Consumer Fireworks: 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 350 degree temperatures for two days, must not be able to explode with mechanical shock, are limited to 500 grams of composition, and can not contain aerial bursts that have more than 130 milligrams of flash powder. If the item has not been approved by the CPSC, it can not be classified as consumer fireworks. Also categorized by the DOT as 1.4G Fireworks.
Crossette
Crossette
Crossette: A type of comet that breaks into multiple comets, usually forming a cross shape.
Firecracker
Firecracker
Firecracker: 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.
Fireworks
Fireworks Assortment
Fireworks: A device that is designed to be burned or ignited in order to yield a visible and/or audio effect.
Fish Effect
Fish Effect
Fish 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.
Fountain
Fountain
Fountain: A ground device that emits showers of sparks several feet in the air.
Glitter Effect
Glitter Effect
Glitter Effect: A tail effect that contains flashes of light and small explosive bursts lasting several seconds.
Go Getter
Go Getter
Go Getter: A self-propelled star that "swims" in the sky link a rocket without fins.
Ground Item
Novelty Tank
Ground Item: 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.
Helicopter
Helicopter
Helicopter: 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.
Jumping Jacks
Jumping Jacks
Jumping Jacks: Similar in appearance to a firecracker, jumping jacks spin rapidly and emit red and green sparks.
Mine
Mines
Mine: An aerial device that shoot stars into the sky in an upward spray pattern.
Missile

Missile
Missile: 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, use fins for stability, or may be shot from a tube (like Saturn Missile Batteries).
Mortar
Mortar Rack
Mortar: 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.
Novelty
Novelty Fireworks
Novelty: Fireworks items that limited in their potential to harm people and property, such as snaps, snakes, poppers, and (sometimes) sparklers.
Palm Tree Effect
Palm Tree Effect
Palm Tree Effect: Fireworks items that limited in their potential to harm people and property, such as snaps, snakes, poppers, and (sometimes) sparklers.
Parachute

Parachute
Parachute: A paper projectile that is expelled from a mortar tube either as a single-shot item, or as a multi-shot effect in a cake, that bursts with one or more parachutes that float to the ground. The parachutes may contain flares or other effects.
Peony Effect
Peony Effect
Peony Effect: An aerial effect that looks like a spherical ball of colored lights in the sky. A very common aerial effect on most fireworks displays.
Plane
Helicopter
Plane: See Helicopter.
Punk

Punk
Punk: 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.
Reloadable Aerial
Reloadable Aerial
Reloadable Aerial: 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, a long quick-burning fuse is lit, and the item is fired into the sky. These items are consumer versions of the mortar-based fireworks used in commercial fireworks displays.
Repeater
Aerial Repeater
Repeater: See Aerial Repeater.
Report
Boom!
Report: 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.
Roman Candle
Roman Candle
Roman Candle: A paper tube filled with composition that shoots flaming balls out one end of the tube. Most roman candles have five or more balls. Roman candles should never be held in your hand. Instead, they should be planted securely in the ground and pointed away from people and flammable objects. A good way to shoot roman candles is to get a five gallon pail and fill it with kitty litter. The roman candles can be easily inserted into the bucket of kitty litter and fired safely.
Salute
Titanium Salute
Salute: 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."
Shell
Fireworks Display Shell
Shell: 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 time the paper shell bursts with all of its stars lit. The type of stars contained inside the shell determines the effect the shell produces in the sky.
Single Shot Aerial

Single Shot Aerial Tube
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, one time use items only, these items can produce some spectacular effects.
Sky Rocket
Sky Rocket
Sky Rocket: 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.
Smoke Bomb
Smoke Balls

Smoke Bomb: An item that produces a smoke effect instead of light or noise. Smoke items are generally used during the daytime.
Snaps
Snapper Pops
Snaps: 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.
Sparkler
Sparkler
Sparkler: 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.
Star
Stars in Star Rolling Machine
Star: 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.
Stick Rocket
Stick Rocket
Stick Rocket: See Sky Rocket
Strobe Effect
Strobe Effect
Strobe Effect: 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.
Tube
Mortar Rack
Tube: See Mortar.
Wheel
Wheel
Wheel: 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.
Wholesale Fireworks
Wholesale Fireworks
Wholesale Fireworks: Fireworks that are sold by the case. You can generally save twenty percent of more by purchasing fireworks by the case.