• FA-114745 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Collection Area
Everyday Life
Disaster Control and Civil Protection
1850 - 1899
At the moment this object is not published in the museum.

"Haywards Hand Fire Grenade", around 1880

The so-called fire extinguishing grenade is the early version of a modern hand fire extinguisher. This rare item is on exhibit at the Technisches Museum Wien (Vienna Technical Museum).

Portable containers of varying sizes and made from various materials have been used for centuries for carrying extinguishing agents. These include buckets and kegs from wood or leather as well as portable spraying devices. In the 19th century, experiments were also made with other chemical extinguishing agents than water.

In around 1880, the New Yorker company S. F. Hayward started manufacturing a fire extinguishing grenade (patented 1871), which consisted of a coloured glass container containing a liquid chemical substance. If thrown into a fire, the glass would break, the liquid would be released and, as a result of the heat, emit large amounts of gas which would then extinguish the fire.

In contemporary advertisements, the company praised the advantages of its new fire extinguisher: the handy grenade, they said, was easy to operate, even by children. The liquid it contained could not freeze, which made the grenade reliable and always ready for use. And, especially, it was: “Sure death to fire!”

Inv.Nr. 12113
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