Behind the scenes

Joe DelGrosso with large aerial shell, this one a multi-stage cannister variety.

Conventional fusing
Hundreds upon hundreds of aerial shells must be either fused together conventionally and/or electrically to provide the necessary control that a choriographed display requires.

Electrical fusing
With the conventional fusing done, the technician will now affix an orange-wired electric match, or “squib”, to the arrangement enabling it to be fired remotely to the music.
A partially-completed rack
Here a rack of mortars has been wrapped with plastic to guard against rain or dampness. The green fusing is of the conventional black powder type, with the orange electric match wire connected at the junction.
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A completed rack
This rack of mortars has been completely loaded, fused and wrapped with plastic from head to toe. The shells will be fired effortlessly through the covering, making it unnecessary to remove it before the show.