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When and How Were Fire Extinguishers Invented?

Fire extinguishers are the kind of tool that most people don’t devote much thought to until an emergency arises. Have you ever wondered where they came from? Fire extinguishers actually have a long history and it may surprise you to find out that the very first example was found in 200 b.c.! Learn more about where fire extinguishers came from in today’s blog, below.


Fire extinguishers have a long history.

When and How Were Fire Extinguishers Invented?

Fire extinguishers have come a long way over the course of hundreds of years. Here is a brief timeline of how the ubiquitous red cylinders came to be:

200 b.c.

The ancient Greeks devised a small device that delivered water to fires via a small hand pump. This was much more efficient than the previous method that required townspeople to lug buckets of water from nearby water sources.

Middle Ages

Squirts were small devices that looked something like a bicycle pump and they worked to pump water from a water source to a fire. These were used to extinguish the Great Fire of London of 1666.

19th Century

in 1819, a Captain invented the very first portable fire extinguisher. It was made out of a copper cylinder which contained a solution made of potassium carbonate that was pressurized with compressed air.

20th Century

Building off of previous models, by 1912 a new version was available which used carbon tetrachloride to extinguish fires. This was a benefit because it worked for both electrical and liquid fires, and it was used for decades for car fires. Unfortunately, the ingredients were highly toxic which lead to a number of deaths of people who extinguished fires in small spaces with no ventilation. By the mid-20th century, the modern fire extinguishers we know and use today were created as a safer and more effective alternative.

Biles Fire Protection Services is Here to Help

No matter your fire protection needs, Biles Fire Protection Services can design and install a system that will work for you. We are proud to offer top-notch customer service including fast response times, reliable support, and affordable prices. We are certified through the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies and have the knowledge and experience to create the right fire protection system for your home or business. To learn more about what we have to offer, give us a call at 443-701-8330, send us an email, or request a quote online.

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