Catapulted “Bomb” Puts Out Fire (Aug, 1935)

Catapulted “Bomb” Puts Out Fire

A GLASS “bomb” fire extinguisher throws itself into the flames when heat melts a plug to release spring tension in the wall bracket. When catapulted, the bursting bulb spreads an extinguishing fluid to smother flame.

41 comments
  1. Roflcopter says: January 31, 20084:28 am

    Why must this contraption catapult itself into the fire anyways… Isn it too dangerous that the thingy will possible miss the fire and splash far away without doing anything?
    Not even thinking of someone trying to escape the fire and finally finds himself dodging glass bombs here and there, not to mention fire fighters…

    Sounds very weird to me…

  2. Eli says: January 31, 20088:44 am

    I think the assumption is that if it’s hot enough to melt the plug, there’s not much in the room other than the fire.

  3. Stannous says: January 31, 200810:35 am

    I like the company name (reminiscent of “The Producers”) and the inevitable ad tagline:

    “If this puts out a fire it’s a MIRACLE!”

  4. Dane says: January 31, 200812:32 pm

    This reminds me of an old Joe E. Brown movie:
    “Fireman Save My Child”
    It is part of a Ring Lardner baseball trilogy, and Brown has little “bombs” to put out fires that he’s trying to sell.

  5. mdhatter says: February 1, 200810:30 am

    I have several of these ‘bombs’. As best I can figure there are no hazardous materials involved. They are remarkably common in the eaves and furnace rooms of buildings constructed c. 1910.

  6. Alan J. Richer says: February 1, 200810:34 am

    Actually, you might want to be careful with those. Often the contents of those fire extinguishing globes was carbon tetrachloride.

    I have a manual pump fire extinguisher that was filled with it – now it resides in a sealed flask in my workshop. The fumes from that stuff will cause kidney failure…leading to its banning for common usage as a spot remover/dry cleaning fluid.

    ajr

  7. jayessell says: February 1, 200811:18 am

    The George Pal “Doc Savage” movie featured anti-fire bombs.

    Dane…
    Is that the movie with a fireman/inventor who starts a fire in an office wastebasket and puts it out with two squirts from his experimental extinguisher?
    Was it a musical or did it have a musical sequence?

  8. Patrick says: February 2, 200812:20 am

    My grandparents house has at least five of these, but they are just the bulbs. The house is pretty old, it’s from the early 1940′s or so.

  9. Adrian says: February 5, 200811:35 am

    I may be wrong but it looks like the product doesn’t match the description.

    It looks like the model shown simply breaks the bottom off the glass bulb when the striker is released. There is no mechanism for the bulb itself to be jettisoned.

  10. Dane says: February 14, 200812:30 pm

    Jayessell-
    The Joe E. Brown character almost burned the building down–he had the wrong briefcase–the one without bombs! Eventually he got them and they worked beautifully. Then it was off to the ballgame for more heroics. Don’t recall a musical theme…

  11. Rob Groves says: September 13, 20087:48 pm

    Hi, I have one of these carbon tet. Fire extinguishers stored away in a padded wooden crate. I removed it from my Grandmothers farmhouse, it was attached to the insulated chimney that passed through the second story. It is quite alot fancier than this model shown but still activates when the flame is hot enough to melt the solder on the spring mech. There were also 3 that looked like the one shown located in the old barn. The reason these things worked well was because the Carbon Tet. Displaces oxygen in a room almost instantly…. problem being, It also displaced the oxygen in peoples lungs just as fast.

  12. D.J. says: November 9, 20088:42 pm

    I have one of these i’ve had it for 25 years anybody know if its worth any thing

  13. Paul says: December 12, 200812:01 am

    I have been looking for one, If any are for sale or trade.

  14. Laura says: December 29, 200811:11 am

    Paul, please contact me as I do have some for sale. I have no idea of what they’re worth–do you??

    lshemanski “at” verizon.net

  15. Lori Owens says: January 1, 20091:29 pm
  16. Paul says: January 11, 20091:04 am

    I have contacted the two above and I’m still looking for one. Paul.

  17. mark says: August 6, 20099:08 pm

    Hello
    Thank so much for your time.Am Mark and i will like to 10 pound Fire Extinguishers and what is the price for this and also what type of payment do you accept..Thank you and waiting for your reply.

    Regards.
    Mark

  18. Paul says: August 7, 200910:50 am

    Hi Mark,
    Are you wanting to buy a 10 Lb. Fire Extinguisher ????? That is what I’m understanding from
    your post. I do not sell them, I just collect old ones.
    Paul

  19. Firebrand38 says: August 7, 200911:24 am

    Actually I think he’s cleverly trying to order a fire extinguisher from a 1935 magazine clipping. I see that a lot on this blog.

  20. Bob Nelson says: August 7, 200911:13 pm

    What do these go for? I have a new “red-juice” one. And an extra one,ball only, with red juice) in the original box. I would sale them for a fair price,especially to a collector.

    Thanks,
    RWillie

  21. Paul says: August 8, 200910:04 am

    Is it the orginal red juice ?
    Paul.

  22. Firebrand38 says: August 8, 20092:50 pm

    Be advised that there is a good chance that the “juice” as you call it is in fact carbon tetrachloride. Manufacturers ignorant of it’s toxicity began using that in place of the old sodium bicarbonate/water solution.

    http://blog.nj.com/sout…

    If it’s a Red Comet brand it’s certainly carbon tet unless it’s been replaced with colored water.
    http://www.littletongov…

    An idea of going prices cab be found by searching for glass fire grenade
    http://shop.ebay.com/?_…

    or glass fire extinguisher
    http://shop.ebay.com/i….

  23. Paul says: August 8, 20098:51 pm

    Well if it does not contain the orginal carbon tetrachloride, I would not want it, EPA has very over rated the dangers of carbon tet. same as others such as mercury. I was a member of a Haz-Mat team in my County and if a thermometer got broken we would be called out and it would be on local news. Anyway a little (common sense) with carbon tetrachloride and it is can be safe to handle. When we picked it up we would use it for our own use. But for the record we call it red juice. another note of fact they were effective whene thrown at the base of a small fire it would quickly burn out the oxygen in the fire, thus putting out the fire.
    The ones I have seen on e-bay have been altered & way over priced, however they show up at flea markets.
    Paul.

  24. Firebrand38 says: August 8, 20099:37 pm

    Looks like the Brits got taken in as well http://msds.chem.ox.ac…. and http://www.hpa.org.uk/w… so it isn’t just the EPA. It is nasty stuff.

    Never heard it called red juice. It always looked kind of colorless to me.

    I know it was effective against fires. Just like asbestos made a crackerjack insulation and building material. For the record.

  25. Paul says: August 8, 200911:10 pm

    It is colorless and we are talking about an amount the size of base ball, Not drum size and I did say use some (common sense) !!! Asbestos can only be dangerous to the body if it is air borne, Halon 1040 fire extinguisher systems are still in use all over the country!!! Have you ever heard of protective gear ??? Are you one to call wolf ??? You are right it is not just EPA it all the stupid people that did not know what they were doing and did not care.
    We are talking about a glass fire Extinguisher the aprox. size of baseball, and if you droped it and it broke, you do not stick your nose in it. Gosh man lets be real here.
    Paul.

  26. Paul says: August 8, 200911:14 pm

    I still collect them along with other fire extinguishers and they all fine safe equipment.
    Paul.

  27. Paul says: August 8, 200911:22 pm

    Ya know water can be nasty also , if Ya jump in a swimming pool over your head and cannot swim. H2O
    Paul.

  28. Firebrand38 says: August 9, 200910:08 am

    No fooling? Look, carbon tet is far from harmless and you were coming across that when it came to hazardous materials everyone was stupid but you.

    The reference to asbestos was to your point that fire grenades were effective when thrown at a fire. No kidding. There was lots of stuff that was effective at the time that we don’t screw with anymore (but you knew that).

  29. Jill says: September 22, 20093:39 pm

    I have several of these in my house and to the best of my knowledge, the DO contain the RED JUICE. There are a few other random old type about as well. We are def wanting to sell these, preferably to a collector. I feel they are just too dangerous to have in my home with a 2 year old, but we are too afraid to move them.

    Please contact me ASAP for more info. [email protected]

  30. Idle Hour says: January 24, 20106:07 pm

    We had these at our resort until about the early 1980′s but they were on a wall bracket and you threw them… the were carbon tetrachloride that vaporized near the fire and smothered all the oxygen. the problem is that you had to hold your breath and run from the area (it said in the directions) and the did have the “red juice”

  31. RBR says: February 24, 20109:31 am

    I have original carbon tetrachloride glass-type extinguisher for sale.
    Will be moving soon, and do not want to transport.
    It is glass teardrop shaped, approximately 1 foot in height, with spring loaded solder type release mechanism in the bottom of the tan plastic housing.

    Please post a message here if you’re interested.

    Regards,
    RBR

  32. Larry Lawhon says: March 23, 201011:27 pm

    A former coworker gave me one of what looks like a glass fire grenade, BUT it is just an odd shaped ball of clear glass, with what appears to be a very slight reddish tint to some of the glass. It is filled with a clear liquid, and for the life of me, I cannot fathom HOW the glass was sealed after the liquid was put in. I cannot detect any type of plug or other closure, it appears to be just one solid container of thin glass. Has anyone else ever ran across one of this type?

  33. Jari says: March 24, 20101:36 pm

    Larry: The sealing the bottle involves wet towel: http://glassmuseum.cca…. Same thing with Archimedes thermometers.

  34. David says: June 4, 20101:15 pm

    This device is designed to be screwed or nailed to an overhead joist or post in the area that a fire could start (furnace/boiler area in a cellar). It does not catapult the glass bulb, but rather break the bottom nipple off letting the liquid carbon tetrachloride spill onto the fire area. WARNING carbon tetrachloride when exposed to fire will create phosgene gas (nerve gas) and can KILL in small amounts. This extinguishing agent was also used in WW II onboard aircraft with devastating results to the fires and crews. It should be handled as a hazardous material and kept away from untrained people and fires.

  35. Paul says: June 4, 20105:02 pm

    WoW!!!!!!!

  36. Mark says: March 16, 20116:21 pm

    I have a collection of carbon tet glass ball fire extinguishers available for sale . I sold these for a long time on eBay only. eBay does not allow sale of these , but yet you can still buy them on eBay. Got suspended from feepay and reopened another account and refuse to play there game any more. Anyway anyone interested in purchasing holders grenades plain jane or fancy , Pleases feel free to contact me , I also have plenty of brochures and paperwork that go with these cool items of the past, Mark

  37. Paul says: March 18, 20118:48 am
  38. Paul says: April 19, 20118:56 pm

    Dave How can you be contacted.

  39. Toronto says: May 24, 20118:00 pm

    Hey, they just found a few of these carbon tet grenades (minus the “launchers”) on “Auction Hunters.” They even used one of the plainer ones – very similar to the one illustrated – to put out a washtub full of burning wood. (It worked incredibly well.)

  40. Don B says: August 22, 20117:15 pm

    I have a Tan colored Bomb Fire Extinguisher that I’d like to sell as well.
    you can reach me by E-mail at Arrowlockservice@gmail(dot) com

  41. Judy says: September 4, 20119:21 pm
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