The development of a mobile fire service was created after the Great Fire of London in 1666. It wasn’t until 1721 where Richard Newsham, an English inventor, patented the Fire Engine in the USA which could extinguish fires with jets of pressurised water. It was later patented in England in 1725 …
The History Of The Fire Extinguisher
During Newsham’s invention period, Ambrose Godfrey, a celebrated chemist, invented a version of the water sprinkler in 1723 which consisted of a cask of liquid containing a pewter chamber of gunpowder. Connected to a system of fuses which ignited and exploding the gun powder and solution, the device was able to put out fires in a new way.
The development of these early inventions made way for the “Extincteur” created by British captain, George William Manby in 1818 which was much like the modern kind today. The device contained large copper jars that held gallons of potassium carbonite and compressed air.
France contributed to the development of this in 1866 with the introduction of the ‘soda acid’ extinguisher by Francois Carlier; which saw a mix of water, sodium bicarbonate with tartaric acid, which produced CO2 gas. It was later patented in the USA in 1881 by Almon M. Granger.
By the 20th Century these developments were becoming more modern and the chemical foam extinguisher was created in 1912 and saw Carbon Tetrachloride (CTC) pushed out of a container smothering flames with vapour. This also led onto the creation of the Fire Grenade, a glass sphere filled with CTC to be launched into the base of a fire. Carbon Tetrachloride was also found to be suitable for liquid and electrical fires and the extinguishers.
Despite the effectiveness of the CTC extinguisher, the chemicals were proving to be a risk to public health because of the high levels of toxicity found to be damaging the nervous system and internal organs. As this was becoming more of a hindrance than an aid, they were withdrawn in the 1950’s.
Alongside the CTC invention, the Carbon Dioxide (CO2) extinguisher was also being invented in the USA by the Walter Kidde Company in 1924 as an attempt to extinguish electrical fires. This extinguisher was a tall metal cylinder containing 7.5lbs of CO2 with a wheel valve and a woven brass, cotton covered hose, with a composite funnel-like horn as a nozzle.
The progression of these fire extinguishers have all contributed to the types of fire extinguisher there are today and, as a result, there is now a variety to choose from depending on the type of fire you are dealing with. If you would like to learn more about fire extinguishers, you can see the different types available in the UK on our blog Fire Extinguishers: Which One Is Right For You?
“Remember if you discover a fire and it is larger than a waste paper basket, don’t attempt to extinguish it yourself. Get out!”
Call the Fire Brigade out and stay out! Remember your Fire Extinguishers should be examined annually, please call us on 0330 6600264 to arrange for a site visit and inspection.
Until next time …