Firework Definitions

1.3G – DOT classification for Professional Fireworks

1.4G – DOT classification for Consumer Fireworks

200g Cake – multi-shot firework consisting of several tubes all connected together. The “g”

stand for grams of powder in the firework. So all of the tubes combined have 200 grams of

powder. This is a medium sized effect cake firework.

500g Cake – multi-shot firework consisting of several tubes all connected together. The “g”

stand for grams of powder in the firework. So all of the tubes combined have 500 grams of

powder. This is the largest firework available to consumers in the US.

Aerial Firework – Any firework that travels in the air. Can be a rocket, roman candle, or

artillery shell.

Aerial shell – typically called a mortar shell and come in various shapes from canister shape to

ball shape. These items launch from the launch tube via a lift charge and then discharge in the air

from a timed fuse.

Alloy – means to combine two metals to form a new compound with new characteristics. Alloys

are often used in fireworks to create new effects.

American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) – fireworks industries leading association.

Responsible for almost every aspect of the fireworks industry from safety to shipping issues for


Assortment – just a combination of various fireworks in one convenient package. Used to help

make it easy for fireworks shoppers to quickly purchase fireworks in one package.

Barrage – fast succession of firework explosions designed to awe the spectator.

Battery – similar to a barrage. Quick succession of fireworks going off from one fuse.

Black Cat – a fireworks brand that has been in the US since 1952. The most widely recognizable

brand of fireworks.

Black Match – This is a type of fuse that burns quickly(1’/second). Often it is a combination of

string and black powder.

Black Powder – potassium nitrate (KNO3

it is used for a variety of firework effects.

Bottle Rocket – small stick rocket that looks like a firecracker attached to a stick. They travel

approximately 60 feet in the air and explode like a firecracker.

Break – usually the upper portion of an artillery shell that contains the colorful effect. This

usually sits above the lift charge in the shell and ignites via a timer fuse as the shell reaches its

), sulfur (S), and charcoal. Also known as gunpowder

maximum altitude.

Brick – associated with firecracker bundles taking on the shape and look of a brick. Often used

as “a brick of firecrackers”, “Half Brick”, Full Brick”.

Brocade – a round burst with dripping star effect in any color, but usually gold. This is one of the

most common effects you see in aerial fireworks.

Burst – when a shell goes off in the air.

Cake – the name is derived from the fireworks appearance. Can come in any shape but many

resemble a baked cake. These fireworks consist of many attached tubes that have only one fuse to

light and each tube ignites in sequence releasing its ariel burst in the air. Each burst usually

consists of many effects.

Candle – another way of saying Roman Candle.

Canister Shells – an artillery shell that is fired from a tube device and it’s rounded and oblong in


Cherry Bomb – an overloaded flash powder firecracker that is round in shape, red, and

resembles a cherry. Cherry Bombs have been illegal since 1966.

Chrysanthemum – a rounded aerial break that maintains its round shape and slowly fades away.

These breaks are often floral in color and design. Another very common break that you see in

many fireworks shows.

Class B – used to refer to professional display fireworks. Not available to the public and for

professional use only. Also known as 1.3g fireworks.

Class C – used to refer to Consumer Fireworks that are available for use by the general public.

Also known as 1.4g fireworks.

Comet – a firework break or effect that streaks across the sky leaving a trail of stars.

Cone – a firework that is shaped like a cone and usually emits sparks and color.

Consumer Fireworks – these fireworks are designed for the general public and are limited in

how much flash powder or pyrotechnic powder they contain. These fireworks can’t contain over

500 grams of pyrotechnic powder.

CPSC – Consumer Product Safety Commission. Federal agency which regulates Consumer

(1.4g) fireworks.

Crossette – a fireworks break that resembles a cross that moves across the sky.

Dahlia – floral shaped break with big stars.

Deflagration – the rapid process that takes place when you ignite a firework. It essentially is a

rapid gas expansion that causes sound wave that we regard as an explosion.

Display Fireworks – professional grade fireworks also known as 1.3g fireworks.

Dragon Eggs – multiple spherical effects from an ariel device.

Dud – firework that doesn’t go off after it’s ignited.

Explosive – an item that has the ability to rapidly expand after ignition.

Finale – the final item set off during a fireworks show. Usually the biggest and loudest item you

have to shoot off.

Fish – multitude of small aerial effects that seem to propel them themselves through the air. They

move randomly in a tight pattern.

Firecracker – flash powder fireworks where the powder is tightly rolled in a tube(usually paper)

and sealed at both ends. A fuse is inserted. Causes an audible effect from the pressure created in

the tube as the firecracker is ignited. To be considered a firecracker it must have 50g of flash

powder or less.

Flare – slow burning firework that is shaped like a tube. Often used as a warning device.

Flash Powder – an explosive. Combination of an oxidizer and a finely powdered metal. Very

hazardous to use and manufacture.

Fountain – fireworks that expel a multitude of sparks as their effect. Usually associated with

safe & sane fireworks.

Fuse – any device that is used to transfer ignition to firework. Most commonly a string shaped

device that is coated or made with pyrotechnic composition.

Ground Firework – small fireworks that typically don’t leave the ground and don’t produce an

effect that travels over 15 feet from the ground. Most common types are fountains, novelties, and

smoke items.

HDPE – High Density Polyethylene: strong plastic pipe commonly used for mortars

Helicopter – a device that has set wings and flys into the air.

Jumping Jacks – small tube devices that spin around on the ground and often change colors as

they spin.

Ladyfinger – very small forms of firecrackers.

Lift Charge – part of an artillery shell that makes the shell shoot into the air.

M-80 – a device that was created by the military to simulate a grenade. They have been banned

since 1966 in the US and it is not a firework.

Mine Shell- shell that explodes directly out of the launch tube.

Missile – device that flys through the air and is sleekly shaped and has fins for guidance.

Mortar– the launching mechanism for shells and mines. Most commonly a tube shaped device.

Mortar Rack – a device that holds multiple mortar tubes for rapid firing mortars.

Multi-break – aerial shell that explodes multiple times with different effects in each explosion.

NFPA Standard 1123 Code for Fireworks Display

NFPA Standard 1124 Code for the Manufacture, Transportation, and Storage of Fireworks and

Pyrotechnic Articles

NFPA Standard 1126 Standard for the Use of Pyrotechnics Before a Proximate Audience

Novelty – fireworks that are shaped like a toy, animal, or vehicle that are ground fireworks and

they emit sparks & whistles.

Parachute – a firework that shoots into the air and then releases a parachute and floats slowly

back to earth.

Palm tree – aerial effect that resembles the branches of a palm tree when it breaks.

Pearl – an aerial effect that remains one color after being launched.

Peony – rounded ariel break that shoots outward and then slowly arc and droops across the sky.

PGI – Pyrotechnics Guild International- group of fireworks professionals and enthusiasts.

Punk(s) – used to light fireworks. A slow burning stick that resembles incense.

Pyro – used as a general term to describe fireworks or someone that enjoys fireworks. Pyro

means fire in Greek.

Pyrotechnician – a person that designs and fires fireworks.

Repeater – means a firework that shoots several ariel fireworks repeatedly into the air.

Report – an audible sound from a firework.

Rocket – a firework that shoots into the air and has a large stick to help guide it. Most rockets

also have an effect.

Roman candle – firework that is round in shape and shoots repeating effects.

Salute –firework that is known for its loud report.

Safe and Sane – used to describe fireworks that are smaller in nature and mainly ground

fireworks. Mainly fountains.

Safety fuse – fuse that is slow burning and not easily lit.

Saturn Missile Battery – Multi-shot firework that rapidly ignites a series of small missiles that

shoot into the air. Often come in 25 shot, 100 shot, 300 shot, and 750 shots.

Smoke – a firework that emits white or colored smoke.

Snake – small black carbon based firework that burns and creates a trail of black colored ash.

Sparkler – a stick that is coated is pyrotechnic powder that emits sparks as it burns down the

stick. Often on a wood or wire stick. They burn at over 2,000 degrees and can cause severe burns

if mishandled.

Strobe – bright stars that each flash repeatedly .

Wheel – a rounded firework that resembles a car wheel in shape. Uses fireworks to drive it in

one direction while giving off sparks of color.

Willow – ariel device that explodes in the air and resembles a willow trees branches.