Strobes are pyrotechnic compositions which show an oscillatory combustion; a dark phase and a flash phase alternate periodically. The strobe effect has applications in various fields, most notably in the fireworks industry and in the military area. All strobe compositions mentioned in the literature were discovered by trial and error methods and the mechanisms involved remain unclear. Many oscillatory systems such as Belousov–Zhabotinsky reactions, cool flames, self-propagating high-temperature synthesis have been observed and theories developed to elucidate their unstable behavior based on chemical interactions or based on physical processes. These systems are compared to experimental observations made on strobe mixtures.