Safe and Sane
This is a term for fireworks that do not have aerial effects or explode. Items that are classified as Safe and Sane include sparklers, snaps, smoke balls, fountains, snakes, and in some cases wheels. Items that are not classified as Safe and Sane include firecrackers, rockets, and cakes. Some states restrict legal fireworks to Safe and Sane items only.
A salute is an item that explodes. This term is most frequently used in regard to aerial items, although some people refer to firecrackers as "ground salutes." When a salute explodes, it is referred to as a report.
A shell that produces a ring around an inside ball of stars. The Saturn shell is a combination of a peony with a ring around it.
Another name for a tourbillion. A serpent is a type of star that spins in the sky and gives off large quantities of gold, silver, or white light. These are generally constructed as a small paper tube with holes on each end that allow it to spin.
A ground item consisting of many colored lances that is used to make a picture. Common examples of set pieces include American flags, the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty, and many other types of signs. Set pieces are expensive and time consuming to build. It is not unusual for a single set piece to cost several thousand dollars.
A shell is an aerial item that is fired into the sky. It generally consists of a fuse, Lift bag, and paper ball filled with stars and burst media. The fuse lights the lift bag on the bottom of the shell, propelling it into the sky. At the same time, an internal time fuse is triggered and at the right time the paper shell bursts with all of its stars lit. The type of stars contained inside the shell determines the effect the shell produces in the sky.
A silver salute is an M80 firecracker with a silver colored paper tube. The words "do not hold in hand" are generally written on the tube. See the item titled M80 for more information on these devices.
A single-shot aerial is a mortar tube with a shell already installed in it. These items generally have a fuse sticking out the side of the mortar at the base of the tube. While these are one time use items, they can produce some spectacular effects.
A term for a device that spins very fast and lifts high into the sky, only to explode or burst into a special aerial effect. These are also called planes, helicopters, or UFOs.
A sky rocket is a pyrotechnic device made out of a paper tube that propels itself into the air to fly. Sky rockets generally have a stick to add stability to the flight of the rocket. Firework rockets that do not have sticks are referred to as missiles.
Any item that produces a smoke effect, including smoke balls and aerial items that produce smoke instead of light or noise. Smoke items are generally used during the daytime.
Snakes are hard pellets that are lit and produce a long carbon snake. They are popular with kids, but the pellets can be poisonous and should not be accessible to young children.
Snaps are paper balls that are filled with a cap composition that make noise when thrown at something. Snaps are generally safe for most kids to use.
A stick with a coating of pyrotechnic composition that creates sparks when lit. While sparklers are generally considered safe, they are responsible for more than 80 percent of fireworks-related injuries every year. If you use sparklers, make sure to have a bucket of water to place used sparkler wires and refrain from throwing hot sparkler wires on the ground.
Type of star that spins in the sky and gives off large quantities of white light. Another name for spinner is tourbillion.
A type of fireworks slang for an electric match (see definition of electric match above). True squibs are actually blasting caps (initiators) used in the explosive industry to set off high explosives. This term crept into fireworks jargon by individuals that did not understand the differences between an electric match and a blasting cap. True squibs are not used for fireworks.
A small pellet of composition that produces a pyrotechnic effect. Stars are used in aerial shells, rockets, roman candles, cakes, and fountains to produce streaks or light, pulses, long golden tails, and other aerial effects. A single shell could contain several hundred stars.
A strobe is a blinking effect. When used in a shell with hundreds of strobe stars, the strobe effect looks like shimmering water in the sky. Strobes can be a variety of colors, including white, green, blue, and orange.