Party popper

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Party poppers

A party popper is an object commonly used at parties. It emits a loud popping noise by means of a small friction-actuated explosive charge that is activated by pulling a string.[1] The explosive charge comes from a very small amount of Armstrong's mixture (a highly sensitive explosive) in the neck of the bottle-like shape.[2] In some party poppers the explosive charge is replaced by compressed air. In party poppers with an explosive charge, there are less than 0.25 grains (0.016 g) of explosive. The streamers are non flammable for safe use. The charge or compressed air blows out some confetti or streamers and emits a popping sound. The charge is often composed of red phosphorus and strong oxidizer, such as potassium chlorate and potassium perchlorate.

There are also party popper revolvers on the market, which use a speed loader style cartridge filled with six party popper charges inserted into a normally colorful plastic device loosely resembling a pistol or revolver.[citation needed] Its functionality is very much the same as a pistol; the depression of the trigger apparatus rotates the chamber so that a live charge is presented to a hammer, which falls onto a regular cap ring embedded in the bottom of the chamber. The chambers are one-use only.

Party poppers are generally listed as a novelty item or trick noise maker and are sold year-round in shops that sell party supplies.

The world record for most party poppers popped in one minute was achieved by Ashrita Furman, who popped 64 in one minute.[3]

Safety and precautions[edit]

Users are advised to avoid reconstructing party poppers due to potential injury, and parents are encouraged to supervise children and instruct them on the proper use.[4]

Party poppers have been known to cause severe eye trauma or other facial injuries, and users are advised to aim them away from people.

Party poppers are considered as "indoor fireworks", and therefore are subject to legal regulation in some jurisdictions. For example, in the United Kingdom, party poppers cannot be sold to persons under 16 years old.[5]

Media references[edit]

"Party poppers" are mentioned in the 1982 single "House of Fun" by the British band Madness. In the song, a sixteen-year-old boy attempts to discreetly buy a box of "balloons" (condoms), confusing the shopkeeper, who assumes the boy is searching for party balloons. References to many party items are made in the song, with added innuendo, e.g. "Box of balloons with a feather-light touch/A pack of party poppers that pop in the night."[6] This is especially noteworthy, as party poppers cannot be sold to persons under 16 years old in the United Kingdom.


  1. ^ "party popper". Oxford Dictionaries. Retrieved 2013-05-10. 
  2. ^ Colin Bradley. "How Fireworks Work". Pyro Universe. Retrieved 2013-05-10. 
  3. ^ Craig, Glenday (2014). Guinness world records 2014. 2013 Guinness World Records Limited. p. 94. ISBN 978-1908843-15-9. 
  4. ^ "Sarathkumar sustains minor injury on left eye". The Hindu. 2011-11-17. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2016-03-11. 
  5. ^ Lorraine Conway (2011-11-03). "Regulation of fireworks" (PDF). House of Commons Library. Retrieved 2013-05-10. 
  6. ^ Madness. House of Fun. Stiff, 1982. CD.