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For other uses, see Sparkler (disambiguation).
A sparkler on a Christmas tree
A "Morning Glory" type sparkler, emitting small pyrotechnic stars during this phase of the burn
Sparklers are popular fireworks for children.
Moving sparklers quickly can create attractive patterns

A sparkler is a type of hand-held firework that burns slowly while emitting colored flames, sparks, and other effects.

In the United Kingdom, a sparkler is often used by children at bonfire and fireworks displays on Guy Fawkes Night, the fifth of November,[1] and in the United States on Independence Day (United States).[2] It is called Phool Jhadi in India and is popular during the Diwali festival.[3]


Although the history of the invention of the sparkler has not been elucidated, some sources report that the very first sparkler was called a Cherosiphon and it was invented in AD 670 by a citizen of Heliopolis named Callinicos.[4] His invention was originally intended as a weapon known as Greek fire and it was used on approaching enemy ships.[5] Later, it was adapted for use as a celebratory instrument used on festive occasions.


The "classic" type of sparkler consists of a stiff metal wire approximately 20 cm (8 inches) long that has been dipped in a thick batter of slow-burning pyrotechnic composition and allowed to dry. The composition contains these components, one or more of each category:[6]

The colored spot on the top of each rod indicates the color of the sparkles emitted when ignited.

A more modern type of sparkler, known as the "Morning Glory", consists of a long, thin paper tube filled with composition and attached to a wooden rod using brightly colored tissue paper and ribbon. Several different compositions can be packed into a single tube, resulting in a sparkler that changes color.

Safety issues[edit]

A 2009 report from the National Council on Fireworks Safety indicated that sparklers are responsible for 16 percent of legal firework-related injuries in the United States.[7] The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's statistics from the Fourth of July festivities in 2003 indicate that sparklers were involved in a majority (57%) of fireworks injuries sustained by children under five years of age.[8]

The devices burn at a high temperature (as hot as 1000°C to 1600°C, or 1800°F to 3000°F), depending on the fuel and oxidizer used, more than sufficient to cause severe skin burns or ignite clothing.[9] Safety experts recommend that adults ensure children who handle sparklers are properly warned, supervised and wearing non-flammable clothing. As with all fireworks, sparklers are also capable of accidentally initiating wildfires. This is especially true in drier areas; in Australia, for instance, sparkler-related bushfire accidents have led to their banning at public outdoor events during summer like Australia Day celebrations.[citation needed]

Sparkler bombs are constructed by binding together as many as 300 sparklers with tape, leaving one extended to use as a fuse. In 2008 three deaths were attributed to the devices,[10] which can be ignited accidentally by heat or friction. Because they usually contain more than 50 milligrams of the same explosive powder found in firecrackers, they are illegal under U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) regulations.[10]

In art and pop culture[edit]


An Art group monochrom were planning to light 10,000 bound sparklers as they described as "symbolic liberation" to reflect that sparklers are generally used in monotheistic traditions.[11] A large group from Toronto, Ontario, Canada also held an event displaying 10,000 sparklers to symbolize brightness, intensity, warmth and creativity.[12] In 1999 the two artists Tobias Kipp and Timo Pitkämö developed a technique of drawing portraits with burning sparklers on paper, which they called pyrografie. Since then the two artists have drawn more than 20,000 pyroportraits.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "10 safety tips for Guy Fawkes". 5 November 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "Fireworks Information Center". United States Condumer Product Safety Commission. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  3. ^ "Sparklers for Diwali celebrations". 27 October 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  4. ^ Sparklers in the Sixth Century
  5. ^ Callinicos of Heliopolis
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Sparklers 16 percent of fireworks harm." United Press International. June 22, 2009. [1]
  8. ^ "The Dangers of Fireworks." Topical Fire Research Series. Volume 5, Issue 4. U.S. Fire Administration/National Fire Data Center. June 2005. [2]
  9. ^ "Sparklers Can Burn at 2,000 Degrees Fahrenheit" (PDF). United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  10. ^ a b 'Sparkler Bombs' Mar Celebrations, Wall Street Journal
  11. ^ Free Bariumnitrate Archived February 27, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^
  13. ^ Pyrografie