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Guest LondonMan50

Vintage fire extinguishers query

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Guest LondonMan50

I have got 4 vintage fire extinguishers that I was thinking about selling. I came across them whilst tidying up my families old factory. I didn't want to just dispose of them as I know there are people out there who like to 'repurpose' these type of things. They were all made by 'The L&G Fire Appliance Company Ltd'. Three of them were made in 1948 and the other in 1967. All of them are still full and seemingly unused. On the label of the one made in 1967 it says it contains Soda Acid but on the others it doesn't say what it contains but I understand that it's probably Carbon Tetrachloride. My question is should I try and empty these things (or get a specialist to do it) before trying to sell them or just sell them as is? 

fire1.JPG

fire2.JPG

fire4.JPG

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Carbon Tetrachloride  was used in "car fire  extinguishers" and the extinguisher itself looked like a big syringe. Yours being conical are soda acid

Yours are full of sodium bicarbonate and a glass container of sulphuric acid, when the plunger is struck it breaks the glass container allowing the two to mix, producing carbon dioxide and "water" The carbon dioxide forces the water out.

Being as old as they are short of chemically testing the acid and the bicarb you can not say if they will work, don't strike the plunger "to find out" as once started they can not be stopped.

I wouldn't open them either, sulphuric acid is very corrosive. (But in its container, it is fine)

If I were you I would list them on ebay as collection only, I doubt you will get that much for them but it all depends who wants them and can travel to you.

 

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Guest LondonMan50

Thanks for that information. I think I will take your advice and list them as 'Collection only'......seeing as they are not exactly easy to wrap (for delivery) and they are really heavy!!

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In lovely condition for museum & collector purposes, too good to ruin & turn into a lamp.

I wouldn't discharge them as the cylinder (well cone!) may be too corroded to stand the pressure, but would usually remove the acid bottle (carefully!) pour the soda solution into a bucket and (wearing the right PPE) crack the bottle into the soda to neutralise the acid.

Wouldn't mind one myself!

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Guest LondonMan50

AnthonyB - how would I remove the acid bottle and soda solution...unscrew the top of the extinguisher?

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If you remove its contents you are also removing value, since there are loads for sale starting at £30  (I doubt that will get even that much) but none that are for sale are still full like yours, besides if you offer them as collection only (as most of them are) it would not be your problem.

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There is no extra value in being full, just risk. I empty all mine. External condition is the key to value.

The tops come off anticlockwise, couple of taps on the lugs to loosen then slowly unscrew. You will see the cage and bottle at the top of the cylinder, gently lift it all out and you can pour out the contents.

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That is true, but until it happens they are worth more. (As they are still full)

Empty they are worth nothing as there are so many of them for sale, yes people ask for silly prices for them, but they don't get what they ask. I recall one was bing sold for £300, it went down to £150, it eventually sold for 99p

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I am not wishing to pedantic but just out of curiosity I am watching some old extinguishers on ebay, one was being sold for £60+postage, this one has just been re listed after no bids, another is going for £25 (no bids) Both are Minimax conical, and both were made in 1942, both are empty.

Just saying that if they still had their original contents they may have sold.

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I very much doubt it, most extinguishers are sold overpriced as it's a niche market and they don't sell or are reduced. Water & chemical foam extinguishers will rot through eventually if full and vapourising liquids ones are hazardous (and illegal). Powders and CO2 are no harm left charged, but weight is an issue when you are filling a wall or shelf full of them!

Halon 1211 extinguishers are worth more full because of it's rarity and are sort after for continued legal air use as well as illegal other uses (because they are damn good extinguishers!)

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