Ice Fountain Fun
We introduced the Ice Fountain in response to requests from our customers for an impressive-looking spark effect that was safe for use in close proximity to performers and audience members. Some call the Ice Fountain a "big sparkler," while others call it a "miniature gerb." Regardless of what you call it, the Ice Fountain may be just the perfect effect for your show or event.
In both its design and operation, the Ice Fountain looks similar to a traditional gerb effect. The device itself is a 1/2" diameter cardboard tube packed with a pyrotechnic powder. When the powder is lit (either with a kitchen match or an electric igniter) it burns down through the tube, producing a three-to-six inch flame and silver sparks. A gerb, on the other hand, generally creates a fountain of sparks anywhere from six to twenty feet in height, and while a gerb may have hot fallout in a radius of six to ten feet around the effect, ice fountains have a safe working radius of around three feet.
With its small flame and safe working radius, it's easy to see why some might come to think of the Ice Fountain as just a big sparkler. However, there are some important differences between this effect and those popular Fourth of July novelties. Most importantly, Ice Fountains shouldn't be given to children to play with. Even though they're low-power effects when compared to other pyrotechnics, Ice Fountains are still more powerful and burn hotter than a sparkler. And while it is possible to hold an Ice Fountain in your hand while it's burning, holding it incorrectly could result in a nasty burn. If you're planning to use Ice Fountains at your Fourth of July picnic and want something for the kids to play with, pick up a few boxes of novelty sparklers while you're out buying the charcoal and sodas.
In addition to the safety factor, another difference between Ice Fountains and sparklers is that Ice Fountains ignite easily. This means that you can fire them with an electric match and a remote firing unit like the Low-V Hand Blaster. You can also wire the electric matches of several Ice Fountains together and fire them simultaneously; Ice Fountains look great when used in groups! Six or seven of them in a row along a set piece adds a great look to a finale, or use several of them as the "candles" on a giant (artificial and flame-retardant, of course) birthday cake!
One Ice Fountain effect that many decorators and event planners have asked us about is a "sparkling centerpiece" effect. Ice Fountains are hidden in the centerpieces on every table in a banquet hall and all are fired together at a climactic moment of the event -- when the bride and groom enter, for example. This effect looks quite impressive, but requires a lot of planning and preparation on the part of the decorator. The centerpieces need to be flame retardant and designed so that curious guests can't remove or reposition the Ice Fountains, and both the venue and the local fire marshal have to approve the use of pyrotechnics.
There are two ways to fire all of the Ice Fountains at once. The first involves wiring all of the electric matches together by running electrical wire from one table to the next in a "daisy-chain" pattern. The two end wires of the chain are run to the location from which you wish to fire the effect, and are connected to a Low-V Hand Blaster or similar ignition system. This method is fairly inexpensive and easy to set up, but some designers are opposed to wires running from table to table. The wireless solution would be to use our Wizard Fire II ignition system. Hide a wireless receiver (#WF31) in each centerpiece and connect the electric match to it, making sure to set all receivers to the same channel. At "the moment," the receivers are all triggered from one channel of the wireless transmitter (#WF21). While this system is even easier to set up than the first, the cost of the wireless receivers may limit the number of fountains you can have.
Whether you're planning a stunning effect for a gala wedding reception, or just looking for a neat effect for your next dance recital, Ice Fountains are a great choice. The ability to create great-looking gerb effects in close proximity to performers and audience members means that many effects that were previously impractical can now be attempted. We've already heard about some great effects that were achieved using Ice Fountains, and we look forward to hearing lots more in the future.
Theatre Effects Customer Service Department
Theatre Effects, 1810 Airport Exchange Blvd. #400, Erlanger, KY 41018
Phone: 1-800-791-7646 or 513-772-7646 Fax: 513-772-3579