Red Comet fire extinguisher grenade with wall mount holder, Waldoboro, ca. 1900

Contributed by Waldoboro Fire Department


In 1900, the Red Comet fire extinguisher was a glass sphere filled with CTC, or Carbon tetrachloride. Early Red Comets used salt-water, but CTC was more effective. Firefighters hurled the Red Comet at the base of a fire to extinguish the flames.

Carbon tetrachloride was suitable for liquid and electrical fires and the extinguishers were fitted to motor vehicles. Carbon tetrachloride extinguishers were withdrawn in the 1950s because of the chemical's toxicity. Exposure to high concentrations caused damage the nervous system and internal organs.

Additionally, when used on a fire, the heat converted CTC to phosgene gas, formerly used as a chemical weapon. Many homes in Waldoboro could have had these mounted on the walls during this era.

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About This Item

  • Title: Red Comet fire extinguisher grenade with wall mount holder, Waldoboro, ca. 1900
  • Creator: International Fire Equipment Corp.
  • Creation Date: circa 1900
  • Subject Date: circa 1900
  • Location: Waldoboro, Lincoln County, ME
  • Media: Glass, metal, chemicals
  • Dimensions: 16.510 cm x 11.43 cm
  • Local Code: RED COMET Fire Extinguisher
  • Object Type: Physical Object

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For more information about this item, contact:

Waldoboro Fire Department
1600 Atlantic Avenue, PO Box J, Waldoboro, ME 04572
(207) 832-2161

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