The History of Fire Extinguishers

History of Fire Extinguishers

Atwood Fire and SecurityAtwood Fire and Security understands the importance of these inventors and the history of the fire extinguisher. By understanding the past and remaining knowledgeable in the present, it will help us make better decisions for the future. So here's a little history lesson of the fire extinguisher.  

In 1723, in England, the first fire extinguisher was patented by chemist, Ambrose Godfrey. It used a fire-extinguishing liquid and gunpowder. Upon ignition, there would be an explosion, which scattered the solution. Its efficiency in stopping a fire in London was documented by Bradley’s Weekly Messenger on November 7, 1729.  

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Various Chemical Reaction Designs

Following this first fire extinguisher came many other fire extinguisher models using various chemical reactions designed to produce propellants of various types to extinguish fires. In 1818 came the invention of the modern fire extinguisher by George William Manby, a British captain. Subsequent fire extinguisher models included two versions of the soda-acid fire extinguisher. The first of which was developed in 1886 by Francois Carlier of France, and the second was  patented in the U.S. by Almon M Granger. The next two fire extinguisher models would be developed by Reed & Campbell of England. These were the cartridge-operated fire extinguisher, developed in 1866 and the “petrolux” fire extinguisher, patented in 1881, which was designed for use on automobiles.

Atwood Fire and SecurityChemical Foam Fire Extinguisher

In 1904, Aleksandr Loren, of Russia, invented the chemical foam fire extinguisher. Following this model, in 1910, Delaware’s Pyrene Manufacturing Company created a fire extinguisher using carbon tetrachloride to battle fires. In 1911, the same company introduced a portable fire extinguisher model using the same chemical. Yet another carbon tetra chloride fire extinguisher model, was called the fire grenade. Because of the toxicity of carbon-tetrachloride, damaging the nervous system and internal organs, the use of the chemical was discontinued in the 1950’s. Several chemicals followed its use in subsequent years. These included Chlorobromomethane, and methyl bromide.

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Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguisher

The carbon dioxide fire extinguisher was invented in the U.S. by the Walter Kidde Company in 1924. This type of fire extinguisher is still used today. It is an ozone-friendly, clean agent. Other fire extinguishers which were developed used dry chemicals.  The first of these was introduced in 1928 by Dugas. (later bought by ANSUL). In the 1950’s, small dry chemical fire extinguishers were developed for use in homes. An ABC type of fire extinguisher came to the U.S. from Europe in the 1950’s.  Dupont and the army later introduced Halon 1301 in 1954. In the 1970’s, Halon 2011 arrived in the U.S. from Europe. Because of Halon’s effect on the environment, its use has decreased in Europe and Australia. In the United States, the Middle East and Asia, it is, however, still in use.

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Fire Extinguisher Experts

Atwood Fire and Security understands the importance of the history of fire extinguishers. We also understand the importance of being educated on the latest technology and newer methods of fire extinguishers. If you are in need of fire extinguisher products, services or knowledge then we are here to help you. Feel free to contact us.


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