What did the very first fire extinguishers look like?
Categories: HistoryBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/article/what-did-the-very-first-fire-extinguishers-look-like1.html
On February 7, 1863, engineer Alan Cray in Virginia, USA, officially patented the first fire extinguisher. The first use of glass flasks filled with water in firefighting dates back to the 17th century. The very first fire extinguisher is considered to be the one created in England in the 19th century. They also took water to fill it.
In Russia, the inventor Sheftal at the end of the 19th century created the explosive fire extinguisher “Pozharogaz”, which was successfully advertised and sold, and the engineer Laurent came up with a carbon dioxide and foam fire extinguisher. Over time, fire extinguishers appeared, the filler for which was powder.
Given the ubiquity of fireplaces in many 19th-century homes, the threat of fire was more than real. Especially in the era of crinolines, when fluffy skirts flared up from a random spark.
“The Harden Star hand grenade will save your life and property in a fire. If broken, the chemical liquid contained in the bottle will extinguish the fire immediately. The contents do not deteriorate over time and do not freeze. Patented technology! $45 a dozen!” - this is how the predecessors of fire extinguishers were advertised in the 19th century.
Harden and other manufacturers' grenades were distributed in the 1870-1910s in the USA and the Old World. If there was a fire, the bottle was supposed to be thrown into the fire so that it would break. A special liquid (for example, carbon tetrachloride) leaked from the container, which helped to extinguish the fire.
The bottles were usually closed with a cork, and some had a wire loop attached to the neck, by which they could be hung on the wall.
Fire extinguishing bottles were often filled with carbon tetrachloride, which caused poisoning, but philanthropic manufacturers eventually replaced the infernal mixture with brine.
However, to this day you can still find bottles with dangerous liquids, which is what antiques websites warn collectors about.
In the 1880s, the most popular manufacturer of fire extinguishing grenades was the American company Harden, with a factory in Chicago. Harden's faceted, multi-colored creations would appeal to even aesthetes. Unsurprisingly, they sold well in the UK.
Beware of fakes! An authentic Harden grenade - blue glass with a star embossed on it!
Capacity - from 700 ml to 1 liter. Now former garnets are very popular among collectors and decorators.