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Different Types of Fireworks - Effects and Patterns

Updated on July 16, 2011

Types of Fireworks

This page contains basic information on the types of fireworks that are generally available today. Fireworks are a traditional form of celebration in many countries. There are many different types of fireworks, but all of them are made in pretty much the same way. If you buy fireworks online instead of at stores, check out the different types of fireworks available at your convenience. Here are some of the list of popular types, effects and patterns of fireworks.

Chrysanthemum Fireworks
Chrysanthemum Fireworks

List of Fireworks

Beehive

A visual effect of color stars that activelly are swarming around which illuminates into a visual Beehive appearance

Brocade

A large spherical break of stars that produce long lasting trails dripping down

Chrysanthemum

A dense spherical burst of stars, in this effect the stars often leave a burning trail of particles when they expand outward. (see pic on the right)

Dragon Egg Firework
Dragon Egg Firework

Dragon Egg

a cluster of cracking sparks in the air (see pic on the right)

Falling Leaf

This effect is when the stars fall down slowly with its tail attached which looks like a leaf falling down out of a tree.

Firecrackers

They are the most basic of the various types of fireworks. Firecrackers are basically cylinders that are filled with gunpowder. These items often come in strips and can be lit with only one fuse. Firecrackers are best known for the amuont of noise they can make.

Flying Fish

This effect is when little specs of light swarm around in the air and propel themselves outwardd as a school of fish would when startled.

Flying Spinners (Helicopters)

These are basically ground spinners with slanted wings. When they spin, their wings direct the air flow downward and thus lift it into the air, much like a helicopter. Sometimes the whole thing will explode during its flight.

Fountains

These items sit on the ground and emit beautiful showers of colored sparks upwards. A variation of the fountain can be found in the Waterfall, where the spray cascades downwards.

Girandola

Special wheel which designed to rotate and emit a spray of sparks and then rises rapidly in the air. Some may end with breaks and or effects.

Go Getters

Beautiful color stars that expand outward and apear self propelled sometimes having an unusual noise accompanying them.

Ground Spinners

Ground spinner spins around randomly at ground level, it shoots out colored sparks and flames. "Ground Bloom Flowers" are the most common type, they spin furiously all over the place. Its flame can change color and the unbalanced spin makes this device looks like a bright flower as it rotates.

MD-80s and Cherry Bombs

Many of you may already know these fireworks. It is strongly suggested that you better leave them alone because they pack so much power and are illegal (even the sellers swear up and down that they are legal).

Mine Fireworks
Mine Fireworks

Mines

Mines are very similar to shells but without a lift charge. Mines should be buried (halfway) under the ground and they can shoot to 20 meters in the air with a whoosh. It produces upward, fan-shaped blasts of color and effects. (see pic on the right)

Novelties

Novelties are small fireworks that look like some "real life" object (cars, animals, ships or tanks) and often scoot across the ground. These items generally don't do much and arent that impressive. However, kids also like these very much because they can use what's left over as a toy.

Parachute

Parachutes come in two different types - day and night. And each type can also be broken down into single or multiple shots. Sometimes the "paratrooper" is a colored smoke canister which ignites on the way down so that it is easier to track. "Single" daytime parachute launches a canister high into the air, where it then bursts into one or two parachutes. Multiple shot daytime parachute looks more like a tall and thin repeater consisting of many tubes. These devices can fill the air with 100 different colored parachutes, which rain down everywhere. Night parachute is the same as the daytime one, except that its paratrooper has a strobe or colored star composition in it and thus will burn brightly as it falls down.

Peony Firework
Peony Firework

Peony

A flower like effect that is spherical shaped, but the stars do not leave trails as thay expand outward. (see pic on the right)

Pinwheels

These feature sticks driven into the gruond, with the firework spinning at the top of the stick.

Palm Tree Firework
Palm Tree Firework

Palm Tree

This effect looks like the long large leaves hanging down from a palm tree.

Repeaters (Cakes)

Repeaters are also known as cakes. It is essentially an assembly of tubes such as single-shot Roman Candles, all fused together to fire in rapid sequence. Their variety of effects and long duration make them great crowd pleasers. They all include a single fuse whicch ignites a preset routine of shells, rockets and fountains. They can be lit by one fuse, this means that we can get a big show for minimal effort.

Rocket & Missiles

A tube with a cone shaped front attached to a guiding stick. Most rockets today finish with an impressive burst. Some of them are designed to produce many kinds of effects such as some color, report, stars, crackle, whistle or other minor effect at its highest point of the flight path.

Roman Candle Firework
Roman Candle Firework

Roman Candle

Roman candle (often called just 'candle') is a single tube that fires many shots, unlike shells and repeaters that only fire one shot per tube. These candles need to be tied to an upright stake or pushed into the ground for firing. The shots fire one at a time out of a tube. Candles will vary in size, giving more or bigger effects as the size increases. The type of shots you can see range from a simple color star to the more complex stars that flash, whistle, explode and crackle. Multiple candles strapped together are called batteries.

Salute

Loud report and white flash.

Scrambling Comet

The comets are contained in a shell, when the shell breaks these comets take off and fly in different directions.

Shells

Like rockets, they are fired into the air and then burst open in a pattern.

Smoke

These items mostly come in the form of smoke balls. The smoke comes in blue, orange, green, yellow and purple. Cylindrical "smoke grenades" are also available, they create thick clouds of smoke for about 2 minutes.

Black Snake Firework
Black Snake Firework

Snake

A pellet that when lit produces a long, brittle carbon ash, which looks like a long snake coming out of the ground.

Snaps

Small firecrackers that are thrown to make a snapping sound. Many kids like these but they are extremely dangerous if thrown at each other. Make sure that these firecrackers are kept away from young kids because they might put them in their mouth.

Sparklers Fireworks
Sparklers Fireworks

Sparklers

These are the only firework meant to be held. Sparklers are hand held fountains that give off sparks from the burning tip. There are two types - "Morning Glory" and metal rod. Morning Glories are attached to wooden rods, they have 3 distinct burning phases - the first 20 seconds for a red flame, then a snapping/crackle phase for about 20 seconds and finishing off with 20 seconds of a white/green flame. Metal rod sparklers are typically single-color (usually silver or gold).

Strobe Firework
Strobe Firework

Strobe

Strobe produces bright flashing stars that flash on and off repeatedly during its performance.

Tail

A tail of color or effects that folows the shell as it leaves the ground to the sky.

Wheel

These are fireworks which are designed to be atached to some sort of vertical support, usually by a nail. If they are burned, they will spin around their center emitting showers of sparks, whistles and crackle. Most wheels are powered by several engines (drivers) which fire in sequence. They spin at great speeds, looking like a circle of blazingg fire floating in midair.

Willow

A large round break that appears like many fine branches hanging down from a willow tree. This beautiful effect is created by excess charcoal in the composition of the star that gives it an extra long burning time.

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