• FA-123529 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Collection Area
Everyday Life
Disaster Control and Civil Protection
Everyday Life - directions for use
1930 - 1939

"Minimax" fire extinguisher, portable fire extinguisher with impact button, around 1930

Handy, always ready for use and easy to operate – the portable "Minimax" fire extinguisher is sold million times over.

The first experiments with portable fire extinguishers using pressure to emit their extinguishing agents are made in the mid 19th century. 30 different versions of liquid-filled fire extinguishers already exist in around 1900. The "Minimax", which is on exhibit at the Technisches Museum Wien (Vienna Technical Museum), was one of the most popular ones.

The first "Minimax fire extinguisher" was introduced to the market in 1902. Due to its characteristic shape, it was soon called "piping bag". When full, it weighed nine kilograms. The device was handy, always ready for use, frost-resistant up to minus 30° C and, especially, easy to use: an acid-filled glass tube was made to break if the extinguisher was pounded on the ground. Its content reacted chemically with a watery saline sodium hydrocarbonate solution, the carbon dioxide which was released in the process then caused an overpressure of four to five atmospheres. This propelled the extinguishing liquid towards the jet and ejected it up to 12 metres far and eight metres high.

The device, which was manufactured in Vienna, turned into a bestseller. Millions of units were manufactured until 1960. Nowadays, most portable fire extinguishers use a dry powder fire extinguishing system.

Inv.Nr. 5463
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