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Glass Fire Grenades information and price guide

Glass fire grenades are a type of fire extinguisher that uses a breakable glass bulb to release the extinguishing agent. They were first developed in the early 1800s and were used extensively throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. They are highly effective at extinguishing fires, but they can also be dangerous if they break during use. For this reason, they are typically only used in situations where other fire extinguishers would not be effective.

Three Haywards glass fire grenades in pale green pale blue and amber
Three Haywards glass fire grenades in pale green pale blue and amber. Sold for £160 at Clevedon Salerooms, June 2014.

They are made of a heat-resistant glass, typically borosilicate, that can withstand high temperatures. Inside the glass is a small amount of water, carbolic acid, chalk and sulphur. Later designs after 1900 used carbon tetrachloride as the contents. When the grenade is thrown into a fire, the water turns to steam and expands, causing the glass to break and release the water. The water then extinguishes the fire. They were found in hotels, railway carriages, hotels and schools.

Victorian Star Ribbed Glass Fire Extinguisher Hand Grenades In A Metal Wire Stand
Victorian Star Ribbed Glass Fire Extinguisher Hand Grenades In A Metal Wire Stand, Pair, 21cm High. Sold for £240 at McTears, November 2011.

Brands include Hardens, Haywards, Imperial, L’Urbaine and Swift and the brand names were often written on the glass itself. They can be quite decorative but only if empty. They are potentially dangerous if still filled with liquid. One of the prettiest and collectable design is the Harden Star Grenade, which was produced in a striking royal blue coloured bottle.

19th century Victorian glass fire grenades extinguishers
A group of three 19th century Victorian glass fire grenades / extinguishers.Two of twist coloured glass form by Mini Max and one clear glass example. Longest measures 21 cm. Sold for £55 at East Bristol Auctions, February 2018.

We take a look at some glass fire grenades examples along with a realised auction price guide.

Pair Of Hardens Fire Grenades
Pair Of Hardens Fire Grenades 6.75ins tall, blue glass, embossed star within circle to shoulder. Embossed around central band HARDENS HAND GRENADE FIRE EXTINGUISHER.. Sold for £85 at BBR Auctions, April 2017.

Related
The beauty and danger in Victorian Glass Fire Grenades

Two amber glass fire grenades by L Urbaine
Two amber glass fire grenades by L’Urbaine, 16cm high, in a wire two division holder. Sold for £80 at Clevedon Salerooms, June 2014.

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