A Cake Or A Fountain?

Dear Mel,

I'm wondering about the difference between a fountain and a cake. On the outside they look prety much the same to me.


Jen R

Dear Jen,

Knowing fireworks terminology can be a daunting prospect unless you are immersed in it every day or are a student/super fan of pyrotechnics. That's why we are here for you! 

There are subtle and not so subtle differences between fountains and cakes. They also have a few things in common. A fountain can be described as a ground device that emits showers of sparks and noise effects. These may be packaged to look like an aerial repeater, or cake, but do not shoot flaming balls into the air or have reports (bangs). The different colors, sparks, shapes and noises have many unique combinations and lengths of display. Class C fountains can have a maximum powder content of 500 grams. Cakes, or aerial repeaters, on the other hand, are items that shoot flaming balls up into the sky with a variety of intricate effects. They are a little fireworks show all fused together in one box. They also have up to 500 grams of powder. Simply put cakes and fountains look the same on the outside, but fountains stay low to the ground and spark while cakes launch balls into the air which explode with reports and effects. Both have many different colors, effects and sounds. You can also usually distinguish a cake from a fountain by looking at the fuse location. A fountains fuse is on the top of the item while a cake is fused on the lower side of the box. There is also writing on the labels to let you know what type of item you have. A fountain will say "emits showers of sparks", while a cake will say "shoots flaming balls". Of course there are always exceptions and there are fountain and cake combinations as well! Be on the lookout and aware of the roadside stand in states that don't allow aerial fireworks. They will often package fountains to look like rockets or cakes (aerial repeaters) to fool customers into buying. 

Thanks for the question and keep shooting,