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Those that buy fireworks regularly will be all too familiar with a barrage firework. The multi-shot cake, sometimes referred to as simply a 'cake', 'SIB', or 'Single Ignition Barrage' is a type of multi-shot firework that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Barrages consist of multiple tubes or 'shots', give a huge variety of aerial, comet and sometimes mine effects and are by far the best-selling firework available.

The origins of the barrage cake can be traced back to the development of the 'barrage' in the late 20th century. As firework technology evolved, pyrotechnicians began to experiment with new ways of creating more dramatic and impressive displays and with a growing desire for greater duration, better rhythm and superior variety, China began to fuse small individual fireworks into larger fireworks consisting of numerous pieces. These types of fireworks were first developed in the 1980s, and quickly gained popularity around the world. Simply placing one firework and seeing numerous effects fired in rapid succession was more appealing than lighting several small, single shot items, and the demand for barrage fireworks exploded.

Up until the invention of the multi-shot cake, aerial fireworks consisted purely of single shots, mines and rockets which produced a single burst lasting just a few seconds. In essence, a barrage is simply a battery of single shots glued together and arranged either in a grid or fan in order to create a longer-lasting and more spectacular display.

Barrages can contain anything from a few shots to thousands, with smaller 9 shot barrages sometimes found in selection boxes, whilst our biggest compound cake has a staggering 800 shots. Barrages can also have tube sizes of different diameters. Our Moving Target firework has a 7mm bore whilst many of our largest cakes have 30mm tube diameters, the largest legally allowed in the UK.

The initial design of the barrage cake was relatively simple, consisting of a single tube that was loaded with several shots, which were fired off in sequence. However, as firework technology continued to evolve, pyrotechnicians began to develop more complex and sophisticated barrage cakes, with multiple tubes and a wider range of aerial effects.

One of the key innovations in the development of the modern barrage cake was the use of fan-shaped firing patterns. By arranging the tubes in a fan shape, pyrotechnicians could create more complex and dynamic displays, with effects that spread out in different directions.

The use of different fuse also plays an important role in barrage design. A slow burning fuse can add to a cake's duration, equal lengths of fuse can create perfect rhythm and lightning-fast fuse can fire huge volleys simultaneously for even greater impact. In the early 20th century, Italian pyrotechnicians began to develop a type of firework called the 'Italian volley' which involved launching multiple aerial fireworks in rapid succession. Now barrages offer similar pulse-firing volley effects with ease.

Today, barrage cakes are a popular choice for firework celebrations around the world, and make up the bulk of all firework displays. With their ability to rapidly fire numerous shots, barrage cakes are a great way to create a dramatic and exciting spectacle, whilst their ease of use makes them a very desirable firework. Able to create a continuous and constantly changing stream of explosions, barrage fireworks continue to captivate and delight audiences of all ages, and are only getting better.

By far and away, the barrage is the most popular firework in the world, and Epic Fireworks are proud to stock the largest range in the UK.

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