ATOMIC NIGHT SALUTE: Available in 3″ – 6″ in diameter, this shell explodes with a loud report and is accompanied with the silver burning titanium. Not suitable for daytime use, these shells are especially nice when fired in barrages to open or close a display. American made salutes are especially loud and popular.
BATTERY: A collection of fireworks devices fused together in such a manner so as to be shot within a short period of time.
BLACK POWDER: An intimate mixture of fine potassium nitrate, sulfur and charcoal. It serves as the propellant in shells.
BLACK MATCH: Cotton wicking or cord impregnated and coated with black powder, used for igniting fireworks devices.
CAKES, FINALE BOXES or AERIAL REPEATERS: These devices have multiple tubes tied and fused together, each of which fires a “shot” into the air that usually breaks into some type of pattern or effect. Shots are fired one at a time – except in fan cakes, which fire in volleys and at different angles. These devices fire many shells on one fuse and are awesome for filling the sky with color.
CHRYSANTHEMUM: Spherical hard breaking shells in which the stars leave burning trails in their trajectories and therefore produce a tail. Chrysanthemums produce a distinctive pattern in the sky. (Contrast to Peony).
COLOR SHELL: Available in all sizes, this shell breaks with one color with no report and is the simplest shell. This shell class includes Chrysanthemums and Peonies.
COMET: A large pellet of composition that is propelled from a mortar or shell that continues to burn as it propels, producing a long tail effect. Comets may or may not burst at their zenith. Bursting Comets are often called ‘Split-Comets’ or ‘Crossettes.’
CROSSETTE: Also known as a “Split-Comet,” this comet shell breaks at its zenith. “1000-Crossette” shells will break into several arms on its first break, then each arm will re-split again producing an awesome criss-crossing effect.
DETONATION: A powerful and loud explosion that may occur inside the mortar and in which nearly all the pyrotechnical contents of a device are consumed instantaneously. A detonation usually damages the mortar and may affect adjacent mortars.
ELECTRIC MATCH (SQUIB): Consists of wires terminating at a relatively high resistance element surrounded with a small quantity of heat-sensitive pyrotechnic composition. When sufficient electric current is passed through the circuit, the squib produces a burst of flame, which immediately ignites a fuse or lift charge within a firework device.
FALLOUT AREA: The area in which shell duds, components and debris will fall during a display.
FLASH POWDER: Explosive composition used in firecrackers and salutes.
FLYING FISH: A type of star used in fireworks that appear to be swimming in the sky rather than simply falling.
GERB: A device made of heavy tube solidly filled with composition and usually having a choke or restricted orifice. When ignited, it releases a jet or broad spray of fire and/or sparks. It’s used on set pieces often as a wheel driver or other driver.
HUMMER SHELL: This shell breaks into a mass of howling, twisting, whistle-like devices that dart everywhere.
LANCE: Small paper tubes charged with composition used for outlining pictures, letter, or designs in white or colored fire.
MINE: A device designed to project many ignited stars and/or other effects into the air from a mortar. Compared to shells, mines produce effects seen at ground level. They’re like a shell bursting out of the mortar.
MORTAR: A tube plugged at one end, from which shells and mines are fire. Made of steel, HDPE, Fiberglass, or heavy paper.
PATTERN SHELL: Shells that make distinctive patterns in the sky including: Butterflies, hearts, rings, stars, diamonds, and letters.
PEANUT SHELL: Two shells tied together with time fuse. They produce one break, then a pause, followed by another break.
PEONY SHELL: A spherical hard-breaking shell in which the start do NOT leave tails. Often confused with Chrysanthemums.
QUICKMATCH: Blackmatch enclosed in paper wrapping. Quickmatch burns VERY rapidly (15-20 feet per second).
ROMAN CANDLE: Cardboard tube designed to shoot “mini-shells” or comets high into the sky.
SAFETY CAP: A tube of heavy paper, closed at one end that fits over the bare black match of a shell leader, protecting it from accidental ignition or damage. It is removed by the shooter just prior to ignition.
SHELL: A device that contains many stars or other pyrotechnical composition and a lift charge. Upon ignition of the lift charge, the shell is projected out of the mortar and into the sky very rapidly and continues to burn a piece of time fuse. At the shells’ zenith the time fuse ignites the shells’ “break charge” which breaks the shell apart and ignites the shells’ stars or other pyrotechnical elements.
SNOWMAN SHELL: Three shells tied together by time fuse. Breaks are time to break with pauses in between.
SPIDER WEB SHELL: Breaks with a delicate and filmy looking pattern of soft color that tends to crawl as it spreads.
STARS: Small cubes or balls of composition which are discharged from shells, mines, roman candles, or other devices, and burn while in the air. Some of the compositions used to make colors are: Magnesium or Aluminum = White; Sodium salts = yellow; Carbonate or Strontium nitrate = red; Barium Nitrate or Chlorate = green; Copper salts and Chlorine = blue; Charcoal and Iron = gold.
WILLOW SHELL: Shells containing trailing stars which droop in the sky forming a pattern in the sky similar to a willow tree. Good Willow Shells have long hang-time duration, as their arms tend to crawl forever through the sky.