Reports Book Forum Photos Information Links

Glossary of Fireworks Terms

Here is a glossary of the terms used to describe the fireworks in the Benson & Hedges competition reports. A comprehensive glossary of pyrotechnical terms can be found at Tom Smith's fireworks glossary. A searchable version of this glossary can be found by clicking here.

Ball stars Stars which burn with a spherical flame leaving no trail
Bombette A mini-shell, often ejected from a Roman Candle
Cake Multiple single-shot tubes fused together to fire in sequence. Each tube fires some sort of effect which is often more complex than the type fired from Roman candles. Usually Chinese.
Candle Abbreviation for Roman Candle
Charcoal comet Comet star made with a charcoal composition giving a fairly dim orange glowing trail
Chrysanthemum shell A shell of comet stars
Comet A star which burns leaving a glowing trail of sparks in the air
Crossette A comet which contains a small bursting charge to split it into pieces, usually four, forming a cross shape
Dahlia shell A shell with relatively few comets, often producing a starfish like shape
Electric comet Comet star where the sparks in the glowing trail appear to branch into yet more sparks giving an impression of electrical sparks
Firefly A stroboscopic star which has many distinct bright flashes
Firefly - alternative definition A type of delicate twinkling produced by the reaction of aluminium carbide with air
Girandola A horizontally revolving wheel with drivers to lift it into the air. Often called a flying saucer.
Glitter Type of comet star which leaves a sparkling glittery trail
Go-getters Stars which propel themselves across the sky faster than they would be from just the burst charge
Mine Ground based firework which shoots out a large number of stars into the air simultaneously. Similar to a shell but with no lift charge
Multi-break Shell which bursts into many smaller shells which then burst simultaneously. This is more properly called a shell-of-shells
Nautic Firework launched into water and then floats on surface. Many different types such as nautic mine, nautic fountain and nautic strobe-pot.
Palm-tree shell A shell with usually charcoal or gold comets which bursts to give the impression of palm fronds. Usually has a rising-tail to give the impression of the trunk.
Peony shell A shell of ball stars
Pistil The centre sphere of stars in a spherical burst shell which contains an outer sphere of stars
Rising tail A comet attached to the body of a shell which gives the appearance of "trunk" as the shell rises into the air. Often used with palm-tree shells.
Rocket Self-propelled firework which rises into the sky and may burst into many stars like a shell.
Roman candle Ground based firework which works like a repeating gun by shooting out stars at regular intervals
Salute An aerial device which explodes with a bright flash and a loud bang.
Saturn shell A spherical burst shell with a distinct ring of stars around the inner sphere
Sequential multi-break Shell which bursts into smaller shells which burst in a timed sequence
Serpent Like a tourbillon but usually flies in a random, wiggly sort of way
Shell Firework launched from a mortar tube which bursts when it reaches the zenith of its flight. Shells are not to be confused with rockets.
Strobe pot Similar to a firefly star, but contained in a ground-based firework
Titanium salute A salute which contains titanium powder and thus leaves a cloud of bright sparks when it explodes
Tourbillon A small rotating device fired from candles, mines or shells which throws out sparks as it rotates eccentrically
Weeping-willow shell A shell which contains very long buring charcoal comets which fall almost to the ground giving the impression of a weeping-willow tree. Often the comets change to silver at the end of their burn.
Whizzer A small rotating device fired from candles, mines or shells which rotates so fast it makes a humming or whizzing sound as it flies across the sky

More Navigation