Category Archives: Catherine Wheel Firework

Ferris Fling by Brothers Pyrotechnics-FB

Ferris Fling Catherine Wheel Fountain

If you have ever seen or fired the wonderful Krazy Klock then you are simply going to love the new addition to the range. A stunning little novelty fountain from Brothers Pyrotechnics.

The Ferris Fling is a fabulous little Catherine wheel/fountain combination which is low on noise and high on effects, and will give even the most discerning fireworks lover something to check out.

Lasting an impressive 1 minute and 40 seconds it removes the usual ‘wheel’ issues like not spinning or falling off the tree by being a standalone item which you light and walk away from.

With three Catherine wheels and 4 fountain elements it starts off with red flames spinning out of the sides and then progresses onto a huge fountain of beautiful silver sparks at the same time then it glows until the beautiful gold and purple sparks begin. The effects continue into green sparks and then a beautiful amber fountain before all of the colours come into play together. It ends with spinners changing to a glowing lilac.

Simply excellent value for money with this long-lasting, high effect novelty item which I guarantee will be something of a talking point for weeks after the display.

Spectrum wheel by Black Cat Fireworks

Catherine Wheels Epic Style

The Catherine Wheel is a type of fireworks which is made by using a powder filled thin tube which is spiralled around which when lit rotates and emits effects.

Here at Epic we hold a large variety which range in price from under £3 to under £15.

The Colourful Wheel from Fireworks International is long-lasting at 1 ½ minutes duration and it may be small and quiet but the testimonials speak for themselves:

Anthony Perkins said:

‘This wheel may look small and not seem much, BUT it is one of the nicest, quietest and long-lasting, most charming of fireworks – definitely would buy again!’

With rich and brilliant colour, changing from red to gold to green it is truly beautiful and effective in any fireworks display.

Onto our biggest and best-selling wheel – The Fiery Eye Wheel from Brothers Fireworks which at just under £15 for a minute and 20 seconds of beautiful effects – again reviewed by Anthony:

‘This is a stunning piece: very bright gold sparks combined with a beautiful blue flame in the centre – beautiful’

As the wheel gets faster it looks like a huge glowing globe which has a number of flashing effects.

The Catherine Wheel has quite a macabre history being named after the Breaking Wheel, which was used to torture and kill St Catherine. Check it out: http://epicfireworks.com/blog/2010/02/instrument-of-torture/

If you are looking for a high quality product at a great price, get in touch with Epic Fireworks – we have the widest range of fireworks in the biggest bespoke firework store in the UK.

The origin of the humble Catherine Wheel

Most firework names are created once the firework itself has been designed, manufactured, tested and ready to leave the factory for transport to the end-user. I can’t even tell you home many times colleagues and I have been asked to make suggestions for new firework names but when did fireworks become classified into the candles, fountains, wheels etc?

Once upon a time there was only a Catherine Wheel, Fountain, Rocket, Roman Candle and mines within that magical little selection box before the influx of the bigger fireworks and barrages became available to consumers today.

That immediately begs the question, why a ‘mine’ or a ‘roman candle’ and where do these names come from?

Let’s start with the one which has probably the deepest seated memories for most of us (I can still recall my lovely dad hammering a tack into the pear tree in our orchard for the Catherine wheel to go on!).

The Catherine wheel, recorded in print in a book from the mid-eighteenth century details it in a rather humorless fashion as ‘as device made to turn in a direction contrary to that in which the smaller rockets affixed to its periphery discharge themselves’. Now, I’m no expert but no lift charge = no rocket! so why describe them as such when fireworks had been largely used for a good few years by this point and it very much sounds like the type which are the more popular formulation of the Catherine wheel today than the traditional rolled up type.

Whilst records show the appearance of the Catherine wheel in the book of 1761 it was over a thousand years beforehand, in the middle of the 4th century and the legend of St Catherine of Alexandria that we find the first records of the humble Catherine wheel.
Legend has it that Catherine was the daughter of the pagan King and Queen of Alexandria, a bright girl who converted to Christianity and lived her early life in the pursuit of knowledge and learning as much as possible about her faith.

As a young woman, so incensed by the pagan Roman Emperor Maxentius actions in forcing people to follow the worship of pagan idols she challenged him directly. Never one to turn down a challenge he brought together a group of the most educated, philosophers and scholars into the city to argue against her pro Christian comments.

What he didn’t bargain on was that her knowledge and sheer eloquence would affect these so-called allies and supporters of the emperor so much that they in turn declared themselves as Christian too. Needless to say, they were put to death for their convictions. Catherine in turn was beaten and imprisoned forthwith.

During her incarceration she was visited by many hundreds of people, including the wife of Emperor Maxentius, who, along with most of Catherine’s numerous visitors all ended up converting to Christianity too.

The Emperor was completely baffled and tried to win her over by offering to marry her. Unsurprisingly, she said no as she had promised her love, life and body to Jesus Christ. Not a happy chap, he decided to have her tortured and put to death on the breaking wheel.

Bear in mind that she was a young, beautiful, talented and intellectual young lady who it was deemed should be treated to the same fate as that felt by murderers and all this because she was a Christian.

The device itself was essentially just a large wooden wagon wheel with a number of spokes. The accused would be lashed spread eagle to the wheel before being beaten with either a cosh or figuratively, a wooden cross and the limbs would give way between the spokes.

Fate however had other ideas as before they could set to work on torturing her to death and it fell apart spectacularly, allegedly thanks to an angel who ‘blew up’ the device killing thousands of the pagans gathered to see her die.

Although she was eventually beheaded, she was sanctified and the many depictions of her throughout history often show her holding a smaller version of the wheel intended to take her life. St Catherine remains the patron saint of Spinners (wool or thread maker) wheelwrights (people who make wooden wheels) and Millers (a person who grinds flour or who work in a cornmill).

So that’s it – the name and the history behind the beautiful Catherine Wheel – and so a firework name was born.

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