Simply put, Roman candles are fireworks fashioned from long, cylinder-shaped tubes that shoot out colored balls along with a shower of sparks into the air. A time-honored favorite when it comes to consumer fireworks, these candles are sure to light up your next event – whether that is a beach bonfire, a Fourth of July celebration or a New Year’s Eve party.
Roman candles are typically made with the chemical compound of bentonite, a lifting charge, pyrotechnic stars (the effects), black powder and a delay charge. As the candle’s fuse is lit from the top, it burns slowly until it moves down the tube to the first star. When the first star is lit, it is thrust upward out of the tube with the force of a bullet and spreads more fire downward into the tube to ignite the delay powder. Once the next layer of delay powder is burned, it fire will eventually trigger on the next star and so on until the last star is fired.
Roman candles come in an array of effects including various colors, noises and special effects such as crackles, tails, changing colors and more. Most roman candles are packed with 10 stars (shots) per firework although there are versions that deviate from this norm with more or less. Roman candles can be bough in sets of various quantity and assortment.
Most folks are tempted to shoot their Roman candles by holding them and pointing skyward. However, in the instance that a Roman candle is bent, crushed or otherwise malfunctions, the stars inside can get jammed and cause the whole thing to blowup through the side. Because of these safety issues, manufacturer and fireworks expert advises consumers to stabilize these explosives on the ground before lighting the fuse. You can stick them into sand, secure in a pile of rocks or even use a tube used for your artillery shells.
Perhaps you are wondering how Roman candles got their name; it’s more than a bit morbid. Historians say that the Roman emperor, Nero, who ruled from 54 to 68 C.E., persecuted Christians by tying them to the poles in his elaborate garden, drenching them with flammable oils and then lighting them on fire if they refused to recant their beliefs in Jesus Christ – all for the amusement of the guests at his garden festivities.