“Garnitures.” Kind of an old-fashioned word, not heard very often in conversation. But, as used to describe the class of fireworks components we are about to look at, I’ll be darned if I can find a better word.
From “Traditional Cylinder Shell Construction, Part I” by A. Fulcanelli, found in Pyrotechnica IX:
And, from the dictionary, the root of the word “garniture” lies in the term “garnish,” which is defined as “to furnish with beautifying details.”
To furnish with beautifying details. Doesn’t that sound lovely? That’s exactly what we are asking of our various types of garnitures.
There are basically two “sub-assemblies” of a fireworks shell. The first assembly includes the shell leader-fuse, the lift powder, the time fuse, the shell casing, and the burst powder. That whole integrated construct, though, serves one purpose-that of getting the second assembly, the garnitures, up into the air and ignited. Without the garnitures, the shell wouldn’t really serve any purpose.
So garnitures refer to the contents of a shell, whether it is used as an aerial shell, a rocket heading, or as an insert in another shell. (In the case of a shell insert to be used inside a larger shell, I suppose the contents of that smaller shell could be referred to as “garnitures of garnitures,” or maybe garnitures squared.)
The contents of fireworks mines, and other ground devices-such as cakes, roman candles, and single-shot comets-would also be called garnitures.