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A fire grenade

Fire grenade

These were sold as fire extinguishers at the turn of the 19th/20th century.

In the event of a fire, the grenade was to be thrown into the burning room, where it would (hopefully) break - allowing the liquid it contained to escape and extinguish the fire.

It seems likely that many did contain a liquid which would vaporise when released from the glass sphere and, perhaps, extinguish a small fire in a small room.

Many claims were made about the efficacy of the liquid they contained and without doubt the salesman’s imagination could run riot. Cynics suggest that some might have contained just plain water or, sinisterly, that some of the liquids they used would produce deadly, toxic vapours!

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