The Harden Star Fire Grenade

Popular fire extinguisher methods of the Victorian era involved hand grenades filled with carbon tetrachloride.

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An ad for Harden Star Hand Grenades from the 1880s.

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The general optimism of the Victorian era and faith in the march of progress combined to produce the fire grenade, an early fire extinguisher. The Harden "Star" hand grenade fire extinguisher promoted in this ad was the leading brand in the 1880s. When tossed at flames, the grenade shattered, releasing carbon tetrachloride. The chemical extinguished the flame, but posed significant health risk to humans and animals.

Highly collectible, antique fire grenades come in an array of shapes, colors and patterns. They may still be found intact in old buildings, churches and factories. Manufacturers include Hayward, Babcock, Harkness, Little Giant and Comet. Fire grenades filled with carbon tetrachloride, however, are potentially dangerous, and should be treated as such. For more information, contact your state's health department or the Environmental Protection Agency.

Advertisements from many farm publications printed at the turn of the 20th century were more than mere methods to hawk tractors and farm equipment. To share those ads from days gone by, Farm Collector periodically reproduces some of the most-spectacular ads used to promote farm equipment and products.

To submit a vintage advertisement for possible publication, send it to: Iron Age Ads, Farm Collector, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609; or submit high-quality digital images by email: editor@FarmCollector.com