National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum Hardens Hand Grenade Fire Extinguisher

By |  July 20, 2018
Hand Grenade Fire Extinguisher

Photo courtesy of the National Mining Hall of Fame

Hand Grenade Fire Extinguishers from the Russell Collection at the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum would have been used in a mine, assay shop, blacksmith shop, smelter or refinery and were sold from the 1860’s through the early 1900’s. Made of glass containing salt water or carbon tetrachloride, they were sealed with a cork and cement to prevent evaporation. The bottles were thrown at the base of the fire, shattering the grenade and releasing its contents to put out the fire. These versions of fire extinguishers were not very functional as they couldn’t hold a lot of liquid. Carbon tetrachloride also turned out to be very hazardous when inhaled. When exposed to the heat of a fire, carbon tetrachloride can produce phosgene gas, which was a chemical weapon used during WWI.

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