What Are Bottle Rockets?

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March 8, 2022
What Are Bottle Rockets?

An enormously popular and classic consumer firework design, bottle rockets are commonly used and enjoyed in celebrations all around the world.

If you’re thinking about using these fun fireworks at your next event, read on to learn about their fascinating history and how to enjoy them safely.

How Bottle Rockets Got Their Name

While the actual origin of these pyrotechnics is much older, the modern name of this interesting firework comes from the traditional method in the 20th century of shooting the rocket out of a soda bottle.

History of Bottle Rockets

While historians debate the exact era in which people invented fireworks in China, many agree on the period between 200 BC and 700 AD.

Chinese pyrotechnicians developed bottle rockets in the 12th century AD. Traditionally, soldiers used them in warfare. They were set off along the ground to cause confusion and scare military horses. Soldiers also launched them into the air attached to arrows.

These initial rockets had a very similar design to the modern-day consumer product. 12th-century pyrotechnicians designed them to hold the gun powder in bamboo tubes attached to long thin sticks for stabilization. They were lit at the bottom and propelled forward.

They also became commonly at royal and large-scale celebratory events, like national or cultural holidays, or to celebrate a military victory.

Consumer Sizes and Design

Today, consumer bottle rockets fall into the category of “skyrocket fireworks” as they contain a solid rocket that launches into the air and explodes in the sky.

These are small skyrockets that typically come in sizes of one inch to two inches in length, and ¾ of an inch in diameter.

How to Safely Light Bottle Rockets

To safely light this product, you must first be sure that you’re in an appropriate area.

These pyrotechnics tend to shoot 50 to 75 feet in the air, so make sure you are setting them up in an area clear of trees, buildings, and power lines. As suggested by the pros at Black Cat Fireworks, create a perimeter of at least 75 feet away for spectators to enjoy the show.

While the word “bottle” is in this device’s name, it is not advisable to set it up in a glass bottle. Instead, a safer method is for you to place them in plastic or metal bottles, pipes, or tubes.

Make sure the rocket is pointing in a skyward direction and be certain that the stick is stabilized before launching to prevent it from falling over once lit.

Punks are always the preferred method of choice for lighting fireworks. With this tool, you can stay about a foot away as you light the fuse, and the punk does not contain an open flame.

If you don’t have a punk, you can use a torch or lighter, but matches are not advisable.

What Kind of Effects Can Bottle Rockets Have?

These products shoot up and produce one aerial bust, but that explosion can result in varying effects. Different bangs (known as reports in the fireworks industry), flashes, colors, and star shapes can occur through the unique composition of the rocket’s chemistry.

Pyrotechnicians will add certain chemicals to the mixture contained in the rocket to produce these varying effects. Bottle rockets are also known to make a fun whistling noise upon launch.

Final Thoughts

These fun little rockets are a classic for a reason. They’re simple to use, affordable, exciting, one of the best selling fireworks of all time, and help make your events or celebrations all the more memorable.

If you have any questions about purchasing or safely setting off bottle rockets, contact the helpful team at Black Cat Fireworks here.