Continuing our series of blogs looking into the various fireworks available, here we bring you G to Z. Not all of these fireworks are permitted for sale and use in the UK, but we’ve included them here for posterity and as a reminder that the firework industry’s constant evolution – with exciting new products coming online all the time.
GERB: Used in a number of exciting specialist effects, a gerb is a tube that creates a shower of sparks, or fountain. Gerbs are ideal for waterfall effects.
ICE FOUNTAIN: This fountain firework is ideal for indoor or stage use since it delivers a cold fall out and a low level of smoke. Very popular in nightclubs when champagne is used.
INDOOR FIREWORK: As its name suggests, this firework can be safely set off indoors.
JUMPING JACK: This firework is now unavailable in the United Kingdom, chiefly due to health and safety concerns: this firework jumps around in an uncontrolled manner.
LANCEWORK: These set-ups are made of numerous small lances which when lit spell out a word, phrase or message as they burn. ‘Firewriting’ by contrast uses a flaming rope to create a message.
MINE (or mortar mine): Named after the piece of military hardware, a mine’s contents are ignited simultaneously and forced out and up from a tube of card. Fountains sometimes precede a mine, which are intense and spectacular – but doesn’t last long!
MINI-ROCKET: Banned due to their erratic flight behaviour, these small screeching rockets differ from other larger rockets which boast better stability in the air.
ROCKET: These fireworks are launched into the air where they explode. Generally composed of three sections: a head with the effect; a lifting motor with a fuse; and a stick for in-air stability and to make launching easier. After aerial shells were banned, the rocket became the main aerial amateur display firework. Fall out can be an issue, so care is needed.
SCREECH ROCKET: Usually categorised as a garden firework, this rocket creates a loud screech before delivering a final and equally loud bang.
SELECTION BOX: Just like its chocolatey equivalent, the selection box offers a range of firework types – great for getting your head around the vast assortment available. Often very good value.
SET PIECE: These are set off on the ground and in most cases remain in a certain area. Among the set-pieces are waterfalls, wheels and lancework messages, among others.
SPARKLER: A nostalgic childhood favourite, the sparkler is very popular on Guy Fawkes Night. It’s basically a thin metal rod coated in a combustible substance.
WAX TORCH: Ideal for processions, these big candles in most cases burn for between 60 and 90 minutes and generate a charming, atmospheric light.
WHEEL: Otherwise known as a catherine wheel, this fast-rotating firework emits sparks as it gyrates. It can feature a little plastic disk with a coil of gunpowder around it – known as a pinwheel. Bigger examples comprise edge-mounted tubes which behave like a rocket motor, generating sparks and thrust which turns the firework. Wheels are attached to posts and look more impressive when installed at height.