The History of the Fire Extinguishers as we know it

The History of the Fire Extinguishers as we know it

In about 200 BC, the Roman Ctesibius of Alexandria is credited with inventing a hand operated fire pump able to deliver a stream of water to a fire. It was the precursor for other variants on his fire pump using oscillating pistons to force water out of a container under pressure. I vaguely recall seeing a silent movie once – could have been a Buster Keeton classic – which showed one of these with two men either end of a piston boom.   They were used well into the 20th Century.

In the Middle Ages a hand held version aptly nicknamed a ‘squirt’ began to be used to apply jets of water to fires. The squirt worked rather like a syringe. The nozzle end was dipped into water and a few pints of water then sucked up into the chamber by pulling out the plunger. The charged squirt was then directed at the fire and the plunger pushed home to eject the water. Squirts were used on the 1666 Great Fire of London although as can be deduced from a previous blog, with no measurable effect. Today they survive as a fun if annoying kids toy.

The first version of the modern portable fire extinguisher was invented by Captain George William Manby in 1819, comprising of a copper vessel holding 3 gallons of pearl ash (potassium carbonate) solution under compressed air pressure. As is usual there is some dispute as according to the Minorities’ Job Bank’s This Month in African American History, Thomas J. Martin an African-American, filed a US patent for the fire extinguisher on March 26, 1872.

Around 1912 Pyrene pioneered the carbon tetrachloride or CTC extinguisher, where the liquid was expelled from a container by hand pump, onto a fire. The CTC vapourised much like modern CO2 extinguishers, controlling the flames by a combination of air exclusion and chemical reaction. The problem was CTC vapour is highly toxic so using them could be more hazardous than the fire itself.

The late 19th century also saw the invention of the soda-acid extinguisher, the thing worked by breaking a vial of sulphuric acid suspended in a cylinder containing a solution of water and sodium bicarbonate. The Bicarbonate apparently neutralised the acid but the subsequent violent reaction expelled the solution under pressure through a tube and nozzle. Can’t see H & SE approving of that today but it effectively marked the start of the cartridge operated extinguisher.

Dr. Percy Julian, another prominent African-American is attributed with inventing the aero-foam extinguisher (for use against gas and oil fires) during World War II and by the middle of the twentieth century the modern type of extinguisher appeared using different extinguishing agents to combat different types of fire with either cartridge pressure or stored pressure expirant.

As a footnote historians have determined that in the 1st Century AD the Romans had approximately 7,000 paid fire fighters. These fire “brigades” not only responded to and fought fires, but also had the authority to summarily punish those who violated fire-prevention codes. The Roman equivalent of the Regulatory Reform Order I guess, but probably with a more corporal style of punishment. At that time the population of Rome is put at around a million people. Today in the UK at the last count we had 55000 fire fighters protecting some 60 million souls’. That’s not counting “non-uniformed” staff and those in government and subservient organisations involved in administration, inspection and enforcement. A lot has changed in 2000 years but have you noticed the helmets are not that different!!

Tony

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Comments (63)

  • Patricia Collins Reply

    I am a museum curator with a brass Pyrene carbon tetrachloride fire extinguisher in my collection. It appears to be full. Is it safe for me to keep it? Should I discharge the contents, if so where and how or would it be better for me to arrange for it to be removed from the collections?

    April 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm
  • Tony Reply

    Hi Patricia
    We know that many people collect “antique” fire extinguishers including carbon tetrachloride (CTC). Unfortunately this is a potentially harmful liquid and can be extremely hazardous to the environment and your health. Exposure to high doses of carbon tetrachloride can result in damage to the liver & kidneys, the nervous system and the brain. Bear in mind that the extinguisher will not spontaneously discharge so there is no need for immediate panic. Just don’t move it around and check that the seal is still in place.

    Carbon tetrachloride is a volatile, clear, colourless, heavy liquid, and is also an ozone-depleting chemical. It has a distinctive sweet small that can be detected at low levels so if you have any leaks you would probably be alerted by now.
    If you believe your CTC extinguisher to be full contact your local government Environmental Officer for advice on the safe disposal of Hazardous Waste. Do not attempt to dispose of the liquid yourself as this is an offence and can be extremely dangerous and there is also the potential for possible legal action being brought for environmental contamination.

    You should also check your collection to see if you have a Halon fire extinguisher as these are also illegal to own and discharge although as a museum you should have exemption. The canister is normally coloured Green which is perverse given its connection with ozone depletion. There are some gold coloured ones around. As with CTC the Environmental Officer will arrange for safe discharge and disposal of the content. Halon is sometimes recycled for approved uses to minimise the need for manufacture.

    Both these extinguishers are perfectly safe to put back on display once the contents have been discharged.
    I hope this helps

    April 22, 2009 at 10:47 am
  • Paul Hillier Reply

    I am soon to be moving home & have a 1945 Minimax C.W.T fire extinguisher. Can you tell me if this might be of any value? If so, who do you advise I contact?

    May 2, 2009 at 10:28 am
  • Tony Reply

    Hi Paul
    It rather depends on the extinguisher and what condition it is in. The original brass or chrome versions made by Pyrene were very popular in vintage cars and boats and were popular for many years so if you have one similar to this type you might try specialist vintage car restoration sites.
    Minimax first brought out a chemical hand held extinguisher around 1934 and one is for sale at http://www.artfact.com/auction-lot/a-ctc-fire-extinguisher-no-6,-a-fire-hose-nozzle-324-c-46333ca10f

    The last record I can find for Minimax extinguishers is 1946 so yours is possibly a type B or LT

    You also occasionally see them for auction on ebay and there are specialist sites like http://www.vintagefe.com/ which may be interested particularly if it is in good condition. (I think its a US site). One site http://www.1kpl.com/vfee/list.htm gives a price guide “from” £25 and another £45 so could be worth more n good condition.

    A note of caution in that if it is still charged transporting it through the parcel post could be a little hazardous. They are not pressurised as such but the contents do include acid. I am not sure but it may be worth more intact than discharged to a serious collector or vintage car enthusiast.
    I haven’t checked but I suspect there will also be museums who may be interested
    Bottom line is that it may be worth something so try out the market.
    Hope this points you in the right direction
    Tony

    May 5, 2009 at 7:40 pm
  • Bryan Reply

    I have a Pyrene Fire extinguisher that is army green in color and I have been looking for more history on the extinguisher and the Company. I can not find any more information other then whats above. Where would I be able to find the history?

    March 4, 2010 at 4:44 am
    • admin Reply

      Hi
      In 1910, The Pyrene Manufacturing Company of Delaware filed a patent for a using carbon tetrachloride (CTC) to extinguish fires.The CTC vaporized and extinguished the flames by creating a dense, oxygen-excluding blanket of fumes, and to a lesser extent, inhibiting the chemical reaction. In 1911, they patented a small, portable extinguisher that used the chemical. This consisted of a brass or chrome container with an integrated handpump, which was used to expel a jet of liquid towards the fire. It was usually of 1 imperial quart (1.1 L) or 1 imperial pint (0.6 L) capacity but was also available in up to 2 imperial gallon (9 L) size. As the container was unpressurized, it could be refilled after use through a filling plug with a fresh supply of CTC.

      A further variety of extinguishger – the Fire grenade – consisted of a glass bottle filled with the liquid that was intended to be hurled at the base of a fire. Early ones used salt-water, but later they were filled with CTC. Carbon tetrachloride was suitable for liquid and electrical fires, and was popular in motor vehicles until the late 1950’s, when it was withdrawn because of its toxicity. Exposure to high concentrations damages the nervous system and internal organs. Additionally, when used on a fire, the heat converts CTC to Phosgene formerly used as a chemical weapon!!!

      This above is an abstract from a fuller history of fire extinguishers to be found on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_extinguisher
      There is more info at http://www.vintagefe.com and pics at http://www.vintagefe.com/pyrene.html

      The reason your extinguisher is Army Green is that it was almost certainly used by the military who tended to paint everything Green or more likely had them made painted green. Carbon Tetrachloride is lethal stuff so if it is still charged be very careful if you are keeping it as an antique. If in the event you want dispose of it there are collectors or contact your local Environmental Services for advice.

      Tony

      March 4, 2010 at 11:40 am
  • Chris Reply

    Hi, I have an un-used Nu Swift E 1807 fire extinguisher. Which I belive is from the early 1970’s ? Is this type of extinguisher worth anything?

    March 15, 2010 at 6:48 pm
    • admin Reply

      Hi Chris,
      Nu-Swift International Ltd are still trading from Elland in West Yorkshire.
      The model 1807 made in the late 60’s early 70’s is a dry powder extinguisher charged with dry carbon dioxide. The only reference I can find is in a 1971 directory for Aircraft accessories.
      There are collectors of fire extinguishers both here and in the United States and the brass Pyrene type are popular as they are more decorative and often used in vintage car restoration.
      They do not sell for big money. If you go to ebay.co.uk and search by “vintage fire extinguishers” this will give you an idea of the market. There is a 1965 Nu-Swift Water extinguisher listed at present. If you follow the bids on this item it will give you an idea what yours is worth. As yours is full it may fetch a little more.

      Tony

      March 16, 2010 at 10:06 am
  • Anthony Reply

    Hi I have a 1966 5kg sized co2 all in black still pressured an with all origional stamps an stickers hose and horn with side handle but all weights an sizes in lbs the maker is mpb&w I’ve never heard of them is it worth any thing

    May 4, 2010 at 9:27 am
    • admin Reply

      I cannot trace a manufacturer with the abrieviation MPB & W. If the extinguisher is completely black it may have been used in marine or aviation. Black is the standard colour code for Carbon Dioxide fire extinguishers but modern units are red with a black band. All I can suggest is that you contact the Vintage Fire Extinguisher Emporium. Web address is http://www.vfee.co.uk and telephone is 01425 476899. They specialise in old extinguishers but primarily for use in vintage car restoration. They may be able to help
      Prices vary considerably depending upon how rare the model is. Prices rarely stray into the £100’s There are collectors both in the UK and America.
      Good luck!

      May 4, 2010 at 10:43 am
  • Anthony Reply

    Sorry it also has js or sj stamp on it . Thanks ant

    May 4, 2010 at 9:41 am
  • Anthony Reply

    I think it’s American becouse the weight is in lb’s . The only trace I can find is the serial no on it the Internet search also says American navy was only curious as will prob go on the scrap pile as I work for a fire extinguisher company .. Thank you . Ant

    May 4, 2010 at 9:24 pm
    • admin Reply

      Hi Ant
      The American connection fits in with the marine application although i would not set much store by the weight in Pounds. I have a 1958 Pyrene that is marked in Quarts!! and your extinguisher probably predates UK decimalisation.
      You could do worse than put it on ebay. The Americans are great collectors of ships memorabillia and fire extinguishers- you never know. You wont be the only one selling vintage extinguishers on ebay.
      Be aware that if you decide to scrap it that it is illegal to dump a pressurised fire extinguisher. As it is CO2 you should be OK to put on a thick pair of gloves to avoid cold burns- and a pair of goggles and discharge in the wide open air. Only takes a few seconds. Otherwise you would have to contact the local Environmental Waste dept for safe disposal.
      Tony

      May 5, 2010 at 10:57 am
  • Anthony Reply

    He there I may put it on eBay and see but I am aware of laws an legisation as I am reg with Ifeda and bafe an also am a licenced carrier . I also aquired a 1969 water fire extinguisher today that is the old push top style with the handle running all the way round the top made by geo. Orme & co 9ltr size Thanks ant

    May 6, 2010 at 4:47 pm
  • car dealers Reply

    Super information,I have bookmarked your post, Thank you

    May 13, 2010 at 10:35 am
  • Andrew Reply

    Dear Sir or Madam:
    I have just acquired a Minimax Frowave Froth-Type fire extinguisher (discharged) and would like to restore it. It has been hand painted a number of times and I’m not sure if this is the correct shade of red, as it seems to be a deep red wine colour. The only part of the unit untouched is on the bottom handle but I think this may also be tinted by rust as it’s a brownie red. I was wondering if you or any of your colleagues/friends would now if this is the right colour for a foam type extinguisher or not. I’ve scoured the web with no luck on images or colour references for this type. Yours sincerely Andrew

    May 18, 2010 at 8:59 am
    • admin Reply

      There is little information available on the Frowave. It was around in the late 1930’s early 40’s. The only picture I can find is at http://newspapers.nl.sg/Digitised/Page/straitstimes19271026.1.1.aspx – just click the agree terms button to view. Frowave is on the centre left. A specialist collector I know says there were several models the most popular being a slim tall cylinder.
      Originally these were painted Red. Not sure if the “badge label ” was a different colour but it seems so. They have a mild steel canister so needed protection against corrosion. The British Standard did not change until the late sixties when foam type extinguishers were designated by a Cream colour coding that still applies today.
      Not that the Frowave contained foam as we know it today as it was a more accurately a foaming chemical mix.

      The accepted standard colour at that time was Signal Red which is still used today on fire extinguishers. In those days Signal Red was a recognised colour. French Blue was subsequently used for Powder extinguishers. BS 7863 now defines an international harmonised colour reference for Signal Red as RAL3000 that you should use when looking for suitable restoration paint.
      Hope this helps
      Tony

      May 18, 2010 at 10:40 am
  • Andrew Reply

    Hi Tony
    Thanks for such a quick reply, the link and information. I remember when I was an apprentice (late 1970’s) the fire extinguisher maintainence guy told me that the foam units were filled with Ox blood that reacted to the CO2 to create foam that then under pressure was released to form a cover over the liquid fire, then the heat would ‘cook’ the foam forming a blanket to seal out oxegen! I don’t know if this was true but when he use to open it the filling realy stunk! I remember these were cream coloured but the ones at work are now red with a cream lable ( & I bet they don’t have blood in them!). The Frowave in the 1927 magazine is very similar to mine but mine is without the side handle, instructions on the lable refer to the use of a handle in the base.
    Yours Andrew

    May 18, 2010 at 12:03 pm
    • admin Reply

      Hi Andrew
      You were not told a tall tale by the maintenance man. The use of natural protein based foaming agents including ox blood even soy protein are in use even today although the last direct mention I could find was in a safety guide published in the Guyana Chronicle in 2003 of which the following is an abstract
      “Foam for extinguishing flames contains a concentrated chemical compound of ox blood, protein-based additives and some small amount of liquorice and saponin (which are natural organic foaming agents. Saponin derives its name from the soapwort plant once used to make soap).
      Those elements are mixed with water under high pressure to produce a frothy substance that is very effective in combating petroleum fires, because it floats on the burning substance and clings to the surface while suffocating the oxygen.“ The earliest reference I can find for protein based foams is the Aerofoam introduced in the 1940’s.
      The original extinguishing foam that may even have been used in the Frowave was a mixture of two powders and water. It was called chemical foam because of the chemical action to create it. Generally, the powders used were sodium bicarbonate and aluminium sulphate, with small amounts of saponin or liquorice added to regulate the carbon dioxide bubbles. The extinguisher was activated by breaking a seal and inverting the extinguisher to mix the chemicals.

      It’s a fascinating subject at least for an anorak like me!
      Tony

      May 18, 2010 at 1:40 pm
  • Andrew Reply

    Hi Tony
    I’ve noticed that the cylinder is coated with tin or lead under the paint, like you said to prevent rusting, I’m wondering if this over the years discoloured the paint. I’ve found in my dads shed a 4oz tin of Humrol No19 Red, this seems indentical to the extinguishers we have know. Therefore if nobody comes up with an alternative this is what I shall use. Thanks again for the fasinating ‘anorak’ talk.

    May 19, 2010 at 1:48 pm
    • admin Reply

      Hi Andrew
      You will be encouraged to know that Humbrol 19 is Exactly the same colour as RAL3000. Just that Humbrol have their own trade references.
      You can see for yourself at http://www.humbrol.com/convert-to-humbrol/conversion-tables/ in the RAL conversion table.
      Humbrol Paint is usually a quick drying enamel used more often in modelmaking. Painting toy soldiers and the like. You may hit problems so I suggest you start by painting the base to see how it goes. Be a pity to make a mess at this stage.
      Tony

      May 19, 2010 at 4:08 pm
  • Janine Reply

    Hi, I have just bought an old campervan which included a Nu-swift E1000 1956 extinguisher. If seems to still have liquid in it. Is this dangerous and how can I make it safe?

    May 24, 2010 at 7:43 pm
    • admin Reply

      Hi
      Nu-Swift Extinguishers were first made in Brighouse West Yorkshire originally by Blakeboroughs. They have passed through many hands since Nu-Swift incorporated as a Company in 1933 and moved to nearby Elland in 1936. The brand exists today as Nu-Swift International Ltd – a subsidiary of London Securities plc – and they still make fire extinguishers at the original premises in Whitwell Mill, Elland.

      You will need to try and find me more information on the Canister for me to establish the type of extinguisher you have. In the 1950’s Nu-Swift made CTC (Carbon tetrachloride), Water/Gas, Foam/Gas, Powder and bfc Halon models. I cannot find any archive reference to a model E1000 but the Nu-swift 1000 is a Halon type.

      Of these models the ones to worry about are the CTC and Halon. Under no circumstances should you try to discharge the contents of these. CTC is highly corrosive and the gases produced toxic to health. It is actually illegal (save for specialist uses) to own or discharge an operational halon fire extinguisher due to adverse environmental impact. In both cases you should contact your local Environmental Services Council department who should arrange safe discharge and disposal of the contents. Once discharged the extinguishers are safe to use as ornament and have intrinsic value to collectors.

      Before doing that take another look at the canister for any additional info. What colour is it? Is it brass or steel? Is there any other descriptive text? The “liquid” could just as easily be water as halon in which case there is no danger although a foam/ gas type of this period could contain organic soaping agents including ox blood.
      Tony

      May 25, 2010 at 9:13 am
  • Andrew Reply

    I don’t know if your interested but the Frowave Extinguisher I asked you about in May is now finished! It took longer than I thought as I’ve been in hospital for a while. But any way, when I started stripping the paint I found the colour of the original paint plus another label confirming 1938 manufacture, along with a small ’38’ stamp on the bottom rim. I’m quiet pleased with the finished effect but I may redo the main label (I made 3 just in case!) as there are a number of varnish bubbles under it, although these may go as the varnish completely dries out. If you are interested I will be pleased to describe the method I used to make the labels, it’s a bit long winded & there is probable an easier way! I would also like to send you some before and after photos, is this possible?, you would not believe the transformation!

    July 1, 2010 at 10:05 pm
  • Ray Flack Reply

    Please can you help?
    I have a copper coloured Nu-Swift auto (BCF) Fire Extinguisher
    Model E5000 No. E.36
    Made in England in 1981

    Can this still be used/refilled ?

    July 23, 2010 at 1:59 pm
    • admin Reply

      Hi, you need a license to transport, use or refill any kind of halon extinguisher such as the one you have. I’ve been in touch with the manufacturer and Nu-Swift themselves use a company in London who have a license to dispose of these products. Meridian can be contacted on 0208 3182999, but I’m assured it’s not a cheap thing to do. Alternatively, if the extinguisher you have is empty, it makes quite a nice keepsake/collectable, as mentioned in previous comments on the blog. I hope this helps, but by all means if you need more info, get back in touch.

      July 23, 2010 at 2:38 pm
  • Jack Reply

    Hi,
    I have a Nu-Swift E6000 3kg Multra (Black Strike Knob) type and i was wondering if any one had any info on this model as i am a enthusiast any info is appreciated.

    I do know quiet a lot about the different extinguishers so please feel free to contact me by email (jackwilliamlyon@msn.com) and ask your questions i will be much obliged to answer.

    Also Andrew could you please ither email or tell me how u did the lable for the frow wave

    Many Thanks

    Jack

    July 27, 2010 at 7:01 pm
    • admin Reply

      Hi Jack, thanks for posting, a search for the extinguisher you mention has proved fruitless for me. But Nu-Swift, the manufacturer are still on the go, you can call them on 01422 372852 or e-mail them at customer.service@nuswift.co.uk. Let us know how you get on.

      July 28, 2010 at 9:50 am
    • Tom Law Reply

      Its a few years now but if you are still interested the extinguisher is a model 6003 3kg multi purpose extinguisher

      June 19, 2018 at 5:22 pm
  • Glen Reply

    Hello!

    I have found an interesting thing in the corner of my mother’s garage which we have been clearing out. It is a couple of long thin glass vials with what appears to be a “nipple” on one end. They are a bit like bioling tubes from a chemistry set but of much thicker glass. Inside is a clear liquid which appears to have left a thin film on the inside making the glass faintly glint blue (a bit like some dishwaser liquids). Unfortunately the box and instructions were so damp that they disintigrated and all I could make out were the words “fire extinguisher” on the label attached to one of the bottles and on the instruction leaflet there was a picture of a fire bucket.

    The garage is old, dating from about 1900 and these vials were in the corner of a cupboard which hasn’t been disturbed since the early 80’s so they definately date from before that!

    If you can tell me what they might be that’d be great!

    Thanks,

    Glen

    August 15, 2010 at 8:22 am
    • admin Reply

      Thanks Glen, very interesting, it sounds like a fire grenade extinguisher from how you’ve described it. If you can send me some pictures that would be great! This particular type of extinguisher was invented in 1860 and used for the next 40 years, so if this is indeed what you have possession of, it’s quite a find. Let me have some images if possible and we may be able to confirm the identity a little further.

      August 16, 2010 at 10:28 am
  • Glen Reply

    Very interesting – unfortunately the garage is coming down soon (the roof is unsafe) but I have had my mother save the bottles and the next time I visit I’ll see about getting some pictures.

    Glen

    August 19, 2010 at 9:04 pm
  • Jack Reply

    Hi Glen, What Your Describing is a acid vale for a minimax conical soda acid extinguisher that breaks when the knob is struck

    September 17, 2010 at 5:40 am
  • Chad Reply

    Hi, I have a phomene fire extinguisher and it would made by pyrene manufacturing company i was wondering where i could find more info on this type of extinguisher.

    October 14, 2010 at 3:05 am
  • Chad Reply

    Thanks for the info. I am not sure if it was one that was on a ship or not i bought it at an estate sale in Duluth MN. it holds 2 1/2 gallons and is a foam Phomene fire extinguisher i was wondering if you had any idea what it may be worth? I’ve been looking on search engines and ebay and haven’t found any fire extinguishers with the “Phomene” on it. Do you know of anyone that might have more info on this type of extinguisher? or a website that might help me get an idea of how much it may be worth?

    October 14, 2010 at 10:21 pm
    • admin Reply

      I would certainly try the external links on the wikipedia link I posted, and then contacting the company that Pyrene Co. became directly. I found another website that referrred to the product you have: http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/wiki/Pyrene_Co which has a few differing date references to the wikipedia page but also has some other external links. A quick search on Ebay found 33 results for Pyrene, let me know how you get on.

      October 15, 2010 at 8:09 am
  • Edward Reply

    I am in need of assistance. I acquired a Pyrene 1Q hand-held fire extinguisher. I have been looking all over goggle to find out what I could about my new treasure. This site seems to have many learned people with a great amount of knowledge on this subject.
    But I seem to get more confused the more I try to learn. This model has ( No Q 645123 ) also it has (reg. Pat. OFF ), Extinguisher and Chemical Patented NOV 11 1913 Antifreeze Sept 21 1915. It has also( Made in the USA). Classifications B-2, C-2 .The pat # is 1,688,195. And
    It says Pyrene Manufacturing Company, Newark New Jersey. On the same section it also says Atlanta, Kansas City, Chicago, San-Francisco. The made on label plate has much more written on it, but seemed irrelevant.
    Now all I see are a bunch of numbers that will not lead me to my answer, Date Made. Can anyone help me to the answer? Thank’s

    November 5, 2010 at 3:25 am
    • admin Reply

      Hi, a quick search found the following website: http://www.vintagefe.com/pyrene.html, see if you can find a match on there. The homepage on that particular website also has the facility to contact the owner of the site by e-mail, they may be able to help if you needed more information.

      November 10, 2010 at 2:54 pm
  • Tammy Manganelli Reply

    As a hobby i collect and clean antique fire equipment. I have a Pyrene soda-acid fire extinguisher with the number No C 109776. How can I find the year it was made?
    Thank you!!

    February 21, 2011 at 5:34 pm
  • Steve Reply

    I have a very old full dry fire extinguisher in a cylindrical tin aprox 22 inches high by 2 inches wide it says on it ‘Radium fire extinguisher’ (deptford). I presume it was for sprinkling on a fire. Are the contents Hazardous, can i put it on ebay, many thanks.

    March 15, 2011 at 2:00 pm
    • admin Reply

      Hi, the contents are potentially hazardous and radium extinguishers have been known to explode when put in differing environments. These types of extinguishers were used in the second world war for putting out incendiary devices, so the model you have may well be 70 years old. You could sell it on Ebay (although you may want to check with them whether this is okay based on the fact it may be hazardous – a collection only listing may be best), because there is a market out there for this kind of thing. Alternatively, call your local council and speak to someone about disposing of the device. Let us know how you get on.

      March 23, 2011 at 2:53 pm
  • George Beck Reply

    I have a 2 gallon copper Pyrene extinguisher with brass base and top and it’s empty. It’s patent No. is 257,865/1926 it is pump type is it worth anything.

    george Beck

    April 19, 2011 at 10:07 am
    • admin Reply

      Hi George, pyrene extinguishers don’t really seem to be fetching that much on ebay but we’ve had a couple of comments on this blog from folk who re-condition antique extinguishers. Take a look back over the comments and contact these guys, as they may be willing to purchase from you. Alternatively, if someone is reading this and thinks the pyrene extinguisher is something of interest to them, then please get in touch.

      April 19, 2011 at 10:22 am
  • Jack Reply

    Hi Guys,

    If you have any old extinguishers that you no longer need let me know by emailing me on the email below.

    jack.lyon.afp@gmail.com

    Regards
    Jack

    June 21, 2011 at 9:14 pm
  • Tom Reply

    i have a pyrene fire extinghuisher marked b2 c4 q984647 and has U.S.N. on top. about 14″ tall. what year is it and whats the usn stand for .thanks Tom.

    August 9, 2011 at 11:25 am
    • admin Reply

      Hi Tom,

      Many thanks for the enquiry, following your enquiry we have completed a search for you to find some further detail, but it does appear to be quite limited! We hope that this Wikipedia link is a little helpful to you as in the History section it does provide some useful information.

      If any of our readers can assist with Tom’s request, we’d be interested to find out too!

      August 9, 2011 at 2:10 pm
  • Simon Reply

    Hi,

    I have what Im assuming is very old fire extingunguisher recovered from a factory built in 1840. Its a simple refillable devise and looks much like a bicycle pump.
    It has a tube 18″ long and a handle of wood 6″ long. It is 1.5″ dia. It has a removable “spray” nozzle and a spare single spout nozzle attached to the tube of the device. Any ideas 🙂 Thanks

    Simon

    August 31, 2011 at 11:46 am
    • admin Reply

      Hi Simon,

      Thanks for the comment, has it got any other markings that we might be able to identify it by?

      Kind Regards
      Claire

      September 15, 2011 at 8:28 am
  • Alice Reply

    We have a 1927 Los Angeles County fire extinguisher. Looks to be chrome. In excellent condition. Would anyone have an approximate value?

    May 3, 2012 at 5:14 pm
  • John Reply

    I have a Auto Minimax Hand Pump Fire extinguisher type “D” . It’s patient number is 171,875. I’m not sure weather or not it is used. How much do you think it is worth?

    January 3, 2013 at 1:37 pm
    • admin Reply

      Hi John, I’m not too familiar with this type of extinguisher. After a quick google search I have seen a similar item on an ebay style site that is up for around £11 with a maximum bid limit of £21. I hope this helps.

      January 8, 2013 at 4:19 pm
  • Martin Reply

    Hello
    I’ve been given a Minimax extinguisher, it’s a cone shaped one (water type, 2 gallons, 1951.
    What I’d like to know is if it’s possible to refill it, then discharge it- just for fun- and can it be done at home without special equipment? I know nothing about them!
    Cheers
    Martin

    February 3, 2013 at 12:54 am
  • Paul Millard Reply

    Hi I have a conical simplex extinguisher it is copper with brass top and spout made by Mather & Platt of Salford model number 2XG and wondered if other than obvious scrap value it would have any value

    September 3, 2014 at 11:53 am
    • admin Reply

      Hi Paul,

      Many thanks for your enquiry, however, we unfortunately do not deal in second hand extinguishers.  After a little research online I would suggest a few options; you could try either redeeming the scrap value for the item, approach a local antique dealer or advertise this on an internet auction site.  I can confirm I have managed to find a Mather & Platt extinguisher as per the following link http://www.antiques-atlas.com/antique/1925_mather__platt_fire_extinguisher_lamp/ac049a1747
        
      Hope to have been some assistance to you!

      September 15, 2014 at 9:55 am
  • mike Reply

    Hi
    Have just brought a full pyrene extinguisher. Having realised that contents is banned. I contact council environmental health who advise it was best to leave contents alone and only worry if a sign of leaking appeared. They suggested that a waste disposal company would get rid of the whole extinguisher(not what I want). do you know of a company that would empty(safely) without destroying. Shropshire/west mids area if possible

    December 9, 2014 at 11:49 am
    • admin Reply

      Mike,

      We do offer disposal of fire extinguishers however after speaking to three of the disposal companies we use they are unable to dispose of pyrene filled fire extinguishers. I have attached a link to BAFE which stands for British Approvals for Fire Equipment. If you give them a call they may be able to point you in the right direction. Apologies we are unable to assist you on this instance. http://www.bafe.org.uk/

      January 8, 2015 at 1:56 pm
  • Evelien Reply

    Hello

    I have a full fire extinguisher from Pyrene, classification is B2 C1 (Carbon tetrachloride)
    I can’t find any information of this type. Do you know more about this and how much do you think it is worth?

    February 12, 2015 at 4:24 pm
    • admin Reply

      Many thanks for your comment! Unfortunately we do not supply second hand fire extinguishers so we would be unable to provide a price. However I have found links on eBay where people are selling second hand units which may be of assistance: http://www.ebay.com/bhp/pyrene-fire-extinguisher

      February 17, 2015 at 4:01 pm
  • Peter Mathison Reply

    Hi ,I have some glass bottles which are sealed and labels John Purrett,Magic Fire Extinguisher. They have liquid in them,are they worth anything at all?

    November 7, 2017 at 5:04 pm
    • Adam Fitch Reply

      Hi Peter,

      Thanks for commenting! Unfortunately, that’s not a product we’re familiar with, so we’re unable to guide you as to whether it has any value or not. We hope you manage to find out!

      November 8, 2017 at 9:13 am

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