The serpents are fashioned after the manner already fully described. Three most familiar forms of these small jets are distinguished one from another chiefly by the arrangement of the fuses, by which may be secured as desired either a whirling movement of the piece in discharging, or a spiraling motion. Whether of the simplest sort, which is not designed for revolving, or whirling, or spiraling, this firework is always small in size. Usually, the diameter is one centimeter, or a little more, and the length is three inches, or more. The composition for this simplest form of serpents is made up merely of 16 parts of powder, with three parts of hard-wood charcoal. But sometimes the charcoal is omitted.

For the whirling serpents, the composition contains 16 parts of powder and 3 parts of steel filings.

For spiraling serpents, the composition is exactly the same as the foregoing, since the only difference between this and the whirling variety is in the arrangement of the fuse within the case. Jets called pigeons, which have a length of 3 or 4 inches and a diameter of 2 or 2 1/2 centimeters, sometimes carry, within an added pasteboard case at the bottom, a small load of star composition, or other special mixture, which is set off by a fuse after the burning out of the jet's charge. The composition with which such jets are loaded is as follows:

Powder ..............................

16

Grain powder. ....................

3

Bits of iron wire........................

3

The same composition is used in loading a form of whirling serpents, which are so made as to carry attached to each end a small case of pasteboard containing a Bengal light. These lights, in addition to being glued in place, are also held by a length of wire that passes over them and along the whole length of the jet, drawn taut.

The lights are so equipped with fuses that both burn at the same time as the jet itself.

A distinctive effect is sometimes secured by the use of a serpent for which iron filings are included in the charge, while the head of the jet carries also a pasteboard container holding a portion of star mixture, of a lively sort. The arrangement of the fuse is such that the star composition burns first, and the appearance of the serpent follows.

Often cartons 2 or 3 inches long are loaded in successive charges with compositions to give variously colored lights. Such cases carry usually at the bottom, within an added case, a portion of star mixture or other composition, which terminates the display.

When the garniture is designed to give the effect of a rain of fire, the case, which has ordinarily a length of 3 inches and a diameter of from 1 to 2 centimeters, is closed by a plug of clay at the base. It is then loaded loosely to within an inch of the top. The end of the case is merely folded over, and is not held firmly in place. In burning, therefore, the jet of fire issues from the orifice freely and copiously, thus giving the desired effect. Three different mixtures give satisfactory results, as follows:

Powder................................................................................

16

Charcoal (hard wood) ................................................

3

Powder ........................................................................

16

Niter .............................................................................

1

Charcoal (hard wood)______

3

Powder. .....................................................................

16

Steel filings (finest).............................................................

8