Last Updated: Aug 06, 2018 Views: 3870
Thank you for your inquiry! While we cannot identify your antique fire extinguisher for you, we did find information that may be of interest to you, as well as to collectors. The Library also has a number of resources in its collection for further research. (A link to a list of resources appears below.)
The following is an excerpt from an article called "Handy Fire Grenades," which appears in the June 1973 issue of Spinning Wheel antiques magazine:
"The automatic fire extinguisher was a type popular around the turn of the century. The Shur-Stop automatic grenade ... is a hand-blown glass bulb enclosed in a wire rack to be hung on the wall. These were painted in various colors; this one is a brilliant red. The metal tag on the rack reads, 'For Fires Shur-Stop works automatically at 130 degrees F.' The idea was that the low-melting solder which held one of the wires in place about the bulb would melt at 130 degrees. The wire would then swing out and the bulb of chemical extinguisher would drop on the fire. The whole rather ingenious setup was produced by the International Fire Equipment Corporation of New York City."
This description sounds similar to the object you describe. You can view an image of a Shur-Stop extinguisher in a thread on a discussion forum on antique-bottles.net. There were, however, several fire grenade manufacturers.
The Corning Museum of Glass has a couple of fire grenades in its collection, including the glass grenade and thrower (2016.8.406) pictured here.
To read online a bit about the history of antique fire grenade bottles and about collecting early examples (with images), see Maureen Timm, "Antique Fire Grenade Bottles," The Antique Shoppe Newspaper (July 2008).
To read about the potential safety hazards and safe handling/disposal of some antique "fire grenades" (those containing carbon tetrachloride) see the following:
- "Common Fire Safety Device in Old Homes a Health Hazard," by William Kibbel III, a home inspector and contributing editor to Old House Web
- "Glass Grenade Style Fire Extinguisher “Bombs:” Are They Safe?", a 2016 post on the Museums Association of Saskatchewan blog.