So what are the different types of pyrotechnic materials we use at Dragonfire and what do they look like?
This is a short guide to some of the 900 different fireworks we stock and use in our displays. Each of our shows will use a carefully selected combination of materials drawn from each type of product.
The most spectacular of fireworks comprising a lifting charge (to propel the shell into the air) and a bursting charge to eject stars or subassemblies in the air after a predetermined delay. Shells are fired from mortars.
This is a ground firework, which produces a spray of sparks or other effects into the air. Chinese fountains tend to be quite novel. Larger fountains are often called 'Gerbs'. Some fountains are conic in shape, which has the effect of a steadily increasing volume of sparks and noise. These are called 'Cones' or 'Volcanoes'.
This is a ground firework, which has several 'Shots' in small tubes bound together to look like a small Cake all off one fuse. Each Shot is a charge that produces an effect and there can be 70 to 90 in each Cake. Chinese Cakes produce several types of effects be it Silver Cascades, Coloured Stars, Flashes and Coloured Bouquets shooting up into the air or sound effects like Whistles and Buzzers.
A Roman Candle consists of a tube that fires a series of coloured stars or noise effects into the air. 'Candle Batteries' contain four roman candles fused together. 'Candle Bombardments' contain seven. Also available are 'Candle Bouquets', which consist of a number of roman candles strapped to a wooden frame in a fan shape. Very large roman candles may contain 'Bombettes', which fire a number of aerial shells high into the air.
These fireworks consist of a 'Mine' pre-loaded into a cardboard 'Mortar Tube'. The mine explodes from the ground and sends a large number of coloured stars and/or noise effects high into the air. Although mines only produce one eruption the effect can be quite startling and usually draws a gasp from the crowd!
Wheels and Setpieces
Wheels are spinning fireworks usually consisting of 'Driver Fountains' and effects attached to a frame. Some wheels have two or three 'Breaks' which will result in a series of effects. Setpieces are similar to Wheels, but do not rotate. They usually consist of a static bouquet of various Fountains. It is important to note that for both Wheels and Setpieces before firing they need to be attached to a fence post (if small) or to a sturdy post at least three metres high for the larger devices.
What no Rockets!
If you would like more detailed information on pyrotechnic stock take a look at http://www.eig.org.uk/eig2002/glossary.php
Most people think of rockets when they think of fireworks, but we tend to avoid them in our displays, preferring Shells and Mines which are more predictable and controllable in they way they perform, ensuring greater safety for our audiences.