Catherine wheel (firework)

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For other uses, see Catherine wheel.
Catherine wheel at Qala, Malta

The Catherine wheel or pinwheel is a type of firework consisting of a powder-filled spiral tube, or an angled rocket mounted with a pin through its centre. When ignited, it rotates quickly, producing a display of sparks and coloured flame.

The firework is named after Catherine of Alexandria who, according to Christian legend, was condemned to death by “breaking on the wheel”. When she touched the wheel it miraculously flew to pieces.

The largest Catherine wheel ever made was designed by the Lily Fireworks Factory of Mqabba, Malta. The Catherine wheel had a diameter of 32.044 m (105 ft 1.6 in), and was lit on 18 June 2011, the eve of the annual feast of Our Lady of the Lilies.[1][2]


  1. ^ "Firework - largest Catherine wheel". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 8 February 2015. 
  2. ^ "Mqabba sets world record". Times of Malta. 20 June 2011. Retrieved 8 February 2015.