New Dry Ice Fire Extinguisher (Jan, 1933)

New Dry Ice Fire Extinguisher

THE illustration below shows a demonstration of a new type fire extinguisher now on the market. It is designed especially for use in the home where its chemical compound will not mar the furniture or the rugs. The compound is carried in a container resembling the standard fire extinguisher. A hose is attached which has a flared nozzle. The fire extinguisher sprays a form of dry ice especially destructive to flames.

11 comments
  1. katey says: November 17, 200810:17 am

    Works great on that new kind of fire that doesn’t mar furniture or rugs!

  2. Evan N says: November 17, 20081:26 pm

    This looks like the advent of CO2 fire extinguishers. It’s actually pretty important.

  3. Mike says: November 17, 20082:05 pm

    I don’t know why but the line: “The fire extinguisher sprays a form of dry ice especially destructive to flames.” makes me laugh.

  4. JD says: November 17, 20082:28 pm

    Yep …That’s a CO2 extinguisher. The North American version was developed sometime in the 1920’s because Bell Telephone wanted a way to put out electrical fires – without “marring” the equipment. The only trouble with this ad is that CO2 extinguishers aren’t rated to fight Class A fires – that is fires of ordinary combustibles like wood, paper and the horse hair-stuffed furniture of the day – not to mention lady’s shoes.

    CO2 extinguishers are good on Class B fires (flammable and combustible liquids, plastics and other hydrocarbon based materials) but are most often used on Class C fires – fires in energized electrical equipment.

    While we’re on the subject … is your smoke alarm working? Save a life, maybe your own and test yours today!

  5. George says: June 14, 20091:16 pm

    The CO2 extinguisher had been in use for some time by the time this advert appeared (see JD’s comment); it looks like a new application of established technology. CO2 is difficult to confine to the seat of the fire, and (despite the low tempreature of the dry ice itself), has no significant cooling effect on the burning material, which is why it’s not rated for A-class fires. Indeed, most fire departments now advise against a CO2 extinguisher as a household extinguisher – too many householders blast burning paper all over the room when trying to put out a small fire in a wastebasket! Multipurpose Dry Powder or AFFF (foam) extinguishers are recommended instead.

    Top marks for the advertiser though: “The new wonder-extinguisher: how ofter have you sat there with your shoes alight and thought “oh heck, I’ll ruin the carpet if I put myself out”? Well fear no more, anxious householder – the latest in shoe safety gear is here…..”

  6. Toronto says: June 14, 200911:28 pm

    When I was in the Navy, we had to learn to fight fires (because obviously you can’t rely on 9-1-1 when you’re 1000km off shore.) One thing we did in fire school was make our way through a 10m ‘wading pool’ of burning diesel, armed only with a single extinguisher. CO2 was the one to have.

    That said, I have 2 x 3lb dry chem units in and near my kitchen/bbq.

  7. George says: June 15, 20095:15 am

    Toronto – know what you mean; I’m ex-fire service, and you’re right that CO2 has great knockdown capabilities on shallow fuel fires; it’s used extensively for this purpose. But it really has very little cooling effect; it will put out 5 sq metres of shallow surface fire no problem, but if you’ve got a deep metal tank with a surface area of only 1 sq metre, the fire will constantly reignite as the tank and bulk liquid remain hot; you blast away, the fire goes out, then reignites like a trick candle!

    We used to get the same thing with car engine fires – you’d blast CO2 through the radiator grille and kill the flames, walk away, and then hear a “woomp” as the hot engine reignited! In the end, we took the example of the USAF, and used CO2 to knock down, backing it up with a foam unit to cool the surroundings and emulsify the oil.

    Obviously in a household location, where bulk solids, electricals and minor liquid hazards are likely to be the main fire load, CO2′ s less that ideal; hence you (and me) choosing dry chem as a good multipurpose household extinguisher. It’s a really interesting advert though, and a window in to the beginnings of the modern home safety/security market.

  8. Roni says: July 6, 201011:36 am

    “It is designed especially for use in the home where its chemical compound will not mar the furniture or the rugs.” I guess that may be important but I would imagine that the chances of there being fire damage to the carpet would be great and the consederation of the extinguisher messing up burnt carpet a point not worth considering. Roni

  9. Toronto says: July 6, 20107:44 pm

    Roni – imagine a small household fire, like a wreath around a centerpiece catching fire from a candle. A pressurized water extinguisher (soda-acid) or a hose from the kitchen sink would do far more damage to the room than a handy CO2 would.

    Dry chem you mostly vacuum up the excess (though it makes a mess on the hot parts. Heck, you should see what foam does.) Water wrecks stuff.

    That said, I recall an IBM type telling me once he’d rather pay to repair a computer room’s machines after a fire dowsed with water (power off) than with even Halon. Lack of residue.

  10. Toronto says: July 6, 20108:03 pm

    I should add that some of Halon’s byproducts if it did break down were acids that could harm electronics (and lungs.) But as it was typically used in automated systems with very controllable risk triggers, it didn’t break down much.

    Newer FM200 (HCL227) products that have largely replaced Halon in computer room systems I’ve seen are probably safer, but have side effects like carbon monoxide, so you still want to skedaddle when the fire bell goes off.

  11. Thms Wells says: June 13, 201110:55 am

    Liquid nitrogen fire extinguishers can work wonders.

Submit comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.