IF YOU'RE NEW TO FIREWORKS, AND DON'T KNOW WHAT'S WHAT FROM WHAT -
YOU CAN START HERE FOR BASIC TYPES OF FIREWORKS TO HELP STEER YOU IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.
AND VISIT THE AMERICAN PYROTECHNICS ASSOCIATION FOR CURRENT STATE LAWS
Artillery Shell – A reloadable aerial, also known as a mortar shell. The shell is made to be inserted into a mortar tube and ignited by the fuse extending out of the top of the tube. The shell and tube must be of the correct size to work properly. Artillery Shells come in a few forms including CANISTER and BALL.
Assortment - A collection of various fireworks types, sold together in a package
Bottle Rocket - A small rocket that is approximately the size of a standard firecracker, one and one-half inches long, with a thin stick attached to it that is approximately 12 inches in length. Bottle rockets can contain whistle effects. The average bottle rocket flies into the air and ends with a report (bang), but can also come with a whistling known as a whistling bottle rocket.
Cake - Sometimes referred to as "repeaters" or "multi-shots", a cake is an item that has a single fuse which is used to light several tubes in sequence. Cakes can be distinguished from fountains because a cake always has a fuse on the lower side, rather than on the top like a fountain. Cakes can be found in 200 gram, 350 gram and 500 gram
Cone - A type of fountain in the shape of a cone.
Consumer Fireworks - Fireworks that have been approved by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Also called 1.4G or Class C. Fireworks that are approved by the CPSC must be able to withstand 350 degree temperatures for two days, must not be able to explode with mechanical shock, are limited to 500 grams of composition, and cannot contain aerial bursts that have more than 130 milligrams of flash powder. If the item has not been approved by the CPSC, it cannot be classified as consumer fireworks.
Day Time Effect - A type of fireworks that can be enjoyed better during the day time than the night time. Including but not limited to confetti cakes and novelties, smoke items, sky lanterns, firecrackers and parachute items.
Firecracker - A fireworks item containing flash powder and wrapped in paper with a fuse attached. When the fuse is lit, it burns down inside the paper until it reaches the flash powder. The deflagration of the flash powder results in a loud bang. Legal consumer firecrackers are limited to a maximum of 50 milligrams of flash powder.
Fountain - A ground device that emits showers of sparks and noise effects. The different colors, sparks, shapes and noises have many unique combinations.
Ground Item - Ground items are any item that is lit on the ground and does not shoot objects into the sky. This includes fountains, sparklers, snaps, snakes, pops, ground spinners and smoke balls, among many other items.
Jumping Jacks - Similar in appearance to a firecracker, jumping jacks spin rapidly and emit red and green sparks.
Missile - In fireworks, a missile is a sky rocket that does not have a stick for guidance. Instead, it may rotate to give it some stability as it lifts off, or may be shot from a tube (like Saturn Missile Batteries).
Mortar Tube - A mortar tube is a cardboard, fiberglass or HDPE tube that is made to contain a shell with a long fuse.
Multi-Shot Aerial - This is another name for a cake or repeater with multiple shots preloaded by a manufacturer using mortar tubes of variable sizes.
Novelty - Fireworks items that are ground devices, not including fountains or sparklers, such as snaps, snakes and poppers. Often these items are made in the shapes of animals, boats, planes, cars and other vehicles.
Parachute - A paper projectile that is expelled from a mortar tube either as a single-shot item, or as a multi-shot effect in a cake. After expelled the device opens up and floats back down to the ground. Many have cardboard pieces for weight, some parachutes may have ‘army men’ attached for weight.
Punk - A punk is a bamboo stick with a brown coating that burns slowly.
Reloadable Shell Kits (mortars) Also known as Artillery, have become one of the most popular types of consumer fireworks available today. When ignited, the shell is propelled high into the air, where it bursts into a beautiful pattern of colors, much like the fireworks seen at professional displays. These assortments contain one or more tubes and anywhere from 6 to nearly 100 shells. The mortar tube can be made out of either High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), fiberglass or heavy cardboard. Consumer use mortars (1.4g) have to be smaller than 2” in diameter and cannot contain more than 60 grams of pyrotechnic composition.
Repeater - Sometimes referred to as "cakes" or "multi-shot aerials", a repeater is a cluster of aerial tubes with a single fuse. The name "cake" was attributed to these because the cluster of tubes looks similar to a dessert cake in size and shape. Once the fuse is lit, each of the tubes is fired in sequence. Cakes can have a variety of intricate aerial effects, including spinners, fish, flower bouquets, comets, reports, and other aerial effects.
Report - A report is another name for a bang or boom. Items with reports explode with a bang for loud audible effect.
Rocket - A rocket is a tube-like pyrotechnic device made out of a paper tube that propels itself into the air in order to fly. There are many different kinds of rockets, including sky rockets, bottle rockets, and missiles.
Roman Candle - A paper tube filled with composition that shoots flaming balls out one end of the tube. Most roman candles have five or more balls. Roman candles should never be held in your hand. Instead, they should be planted securely in the ground and pointed straight up into the sky away from people and flammable objects. A good way to shoot roman candles is to get a five gallon pail and fill it with kitty litter or sand. The roman candles can be easily inserted into the bucket of kitty litter and fired safely.
Safe and Sane - This is a term for fireworks that do not have aerial effects that shoot into the air by a propellant or explode. Items that are classified as Safe and Sane include sparklers, snaps, smoke balls, fountains, snakes, and wheels. Items that are not classified as Safe and Sane include firecrackers, rockets, mortars and cakes.