It’s just been brought to our attention that we here at All Sparks Fireworks have been guilty of waxing poetic with many firework words, terms and idioms that may not be familiar to some of our blog readers. That’s why we’ve decided to send you back to school! Just kidding, but we have complied a glossary of common (and unusual) firework terms that will make your firework purchasing experience a little more clear. Think of it as Essential Firework Vocabulary 101 for the newcomer and a refresher course for the more seasoned firework enthusiast.
Essential Firework Vocabulary A – B
Aerial Firework – firework launched into the sky such as a shell, roman candle, rocket, or repeater.
Aerial shell – spherical or cylindrical-shaped firework shot into the air from a mortar, where it bursts and ignites the contents inside.
Air Launching – A way to launch aerial shells with compressed air rather than a black powder..
Assortment – A variety of several different types (such as repeaters, fountains spinners, firecrackers, etc) packaged and sold in one box.
Atomic Pattern – a shell burst designed with three circles on three different planes to look like the orbits of electrons around a nucleus.
Bag Mine – a type of mine lacking a strong casing; consists of lift charge and stars within a sealed plastic bag
Barrage – The rapid-fire repetition of an aerial effect, such as roman candles that shoot out one shot after another.
Battery – A group of fireworks fused together into one unit with the intention of them all firing off at once or in quick succession such as a missile battery or a roman candle battery.
Battle in the Clouds – a shell that creates more than one loud reports after bursting
Binder – The filler used to keep pyrotechnic compositions, such as stars, held together.
Black Match – a common type of fuse that consists of cotton string soaked in black powder Burn time of one inch per second.
Black Powder – Also called gunpowder and is a low explosive consisting of potassium nitrate, sulfur, and charcoal. The most common ingredient in fireworks and is used to create noise, propel objects, make fuse, and used in other effects.
Bombette – a very small shell that is used in roman candles and even in large shells.
Bottle Rocket – a small rocket about the size of a standard firecracker, attached to a thin, 12″ long stick for stabilization. Flies up (sometimes with a whistle) and ends with a report similar to a firecracker.
Bottom-Fused – a method of shell construction where the time fuse enters the shell at the bottom and is ignited by the lift charge. Nearly all spherical shells, as well as most small cylindrical shells, are bottom fused.
Bounce – a black powder that creates a small explosion at the end of a fountain.
Branching – sparks that split up into smaller sparks, which looks similar to the branch of a tree.
Break – a compartment of a shell containing effects. If a firework has multi-break shells, then it will deliver several bursts in the sky.
Brick – The most common way in which firecrackers are bundled (looks like a red brick).
Brocade – a spider-like shell burst pattern. Usually has silver tail effect, and is brighter than willow or tiger tail-style bursts.
Burst – the release of effects into the air by an aerial device
Burst Charge – a chemical composition inside an aerial shells which explodes at the shell’s apex. This is what ignites and propels the pyrotechnic effects throughout the air.. Commonly made of black powder (sometimes with whistle mix), but can also be made with potassium chlorate.