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Bengal fire or Bengal light produces a steady, vivid, blue-colored light.  It is often made using combinations of potassium nitrate and copper compounds.



A cake is a cluster of individual tubes linked by fuse that fires a series of sequential aerial effects.  Tube diameters can range in size up to 3 inches (75 mm), and a single cake sometimes has over 1,000 shots.  The variety of effects within individual cakes is often such that they defy descriptive titles and are instead given cryptic names such as "Bermuda Triangle," "Pyro Glyphics, "Cosmic Carnival," "Emerald City," and "Molotov Cocktail," to name a few.  All cakes are some quantity of tubes fused together for sequential ignition.


A spherical break of colored stars, similar to a peony, but with stars that leave a visible trail of sparks.


A shell containing several large stars that travel a short distance before breaking apart into smaller stars, creating a crisscrossing grid-like effect.  Strictly speaking, a crossette star should split into 4 pieces which fly off symmetrically, making a cross.  Once limited to silver or gold effects, colored crossettes such as red, green, or white are now very common.



Essentially the same as a peony shell, but with fewer and larger stars.  These stars travel a longer-than-usual distance from the shell break before burning out.  For instance, if a 3" peony shell is made with a star size designed for a 6" shell, it is then considered a dahlia.  Some dahlia shells are cylindrical rather than spherical to allow for larger stars.


A type of Peony or Chrysanthemum with a center cluster of non-moving stars, normally of a contrasting color or effect.



Stars that propel themselves rapidly away from the shell burst, often looking like fish swimming away



Small twirling ground firework in which sparks come out of one end causing it to rotate extremely quickly.  Emits fire as well as a Glow.  Usually changes colors once to twice.



Named for the shape of its break, this shell features heavy long-burning tailed stars that only travel a short distance from the shell burst before free-falling to the ground.  Also known as a waterfall shell.  Sometimes there is a glittering through the "waterfall."



Kamuro is a Japanese word meaning "Boys Haircut" which is what this shell looks like when fully exploded in the air.  A dense burst of glittering silver or gold stars which leave a heavy glitter trail and are very shiny in the night's sky.



A mine (aka pot à feu) is a ground firework that expels stars and/or other garnitures into the sky.  Shot from a mortar like a shell, a mine consists of a canister with the lift charge on the bottom with the effects placed on top. Mines can project small reports, serpents, small shells, as well as just stars.


A mortar is a launch tube used to launch shells.  Typically if the tube is above ground (and appropriately braced) it is called a “gun” and if it is buried in the ground to any level it is called a “mortar.”


A large shell containing several smaller shells of various sizes and types.  The initial burst scatters the shells across the sky before they ignite.  Also called a bouquet shell. When a shell contains smaller shells of the same size and type, the effect is usually referred to as "Thousands."  Very large bouquet shells are frequently used in Japan.



A shell containing a relatively few large comet stars arranged in such a way as to burst with large arms or tendrils, producing a palm tree-like effect.  Proper palm shells feature a thick rising tail that displays as the shell ascends, thereby simulating the tree trunk to further enhance the "palm tree" effect.  One might also see a burst of color inside the palm burst (given by a small insert shell) to simulate coconuts.


A spherical break of colored stars that burn without a tail effect.  The peony is the most commonly seen shell type.



A Mortar Kit or a Reloadable Mortar Kit is packaged fireworks containing a launch tube and a collection of shells that you load one at a time into the launch tube and fire into the air.  Federal law requires at least one launch tube for every 12 shells in the kit.


A shell with stars specially arranged so as to create a ring.  Variations include smiley faces, hearts, and clovers.


A Roman candle is a long tube containing several large stars which fire at a regular interval.  These are commonly arranged in fan shapes or crisscrossing shapes, at a closer proximity to the audience shooting away from the audience.  Some larger Roman candles contain small shells (bombettes) rather than stars.



A shell intended to produce a loud report rather than a visual effect.  Salute shells usually contain flash powder, producing a quick flash followed by a very loud report. Titanium may be added to the flash powder mix to produce a cloud of bright sparks around the flash.  Salutes are commonly used in large quantities during finales to create intense noise and brightness.  They are often cylindrical in shape to allow for a larger payload of flash powder, but ball shapes are common and cheaper as well. Salutes are also called Maroons.  Another type of salute is the lampare.  A lampare shell has the flash powder used in a regular salute, but is filled with a flammable liquid. When the shell explodes it has a loud report with a fireball.  Salutes are for professional use.


A shell containing a fast burning tailed or charcoal star that is burst very hard so that the stars travel in a straight and flat trajectory before slightly falling and burning out.  This appears in the sky as a series of radial lines much like the legs of a spider.



An effect created by large, slow-burning stars within a shell that leave a trail of large glittering sparks behind and make a sizzling noise.  The "time" refers to the fact that these stars burn away gradually, as opposed to the standard brocade "rain" effect where a large amount of glitter material is released at once.



Similar to a chrysanthemum, but with long-burning silver or gold stars that produce a soft, dome-shaped weeping willow-like effect.

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