Sinclair hand fire grenades, c 1880.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
These glas fire grenades contained chemicals which were thought to asist in extinguishing fire. The bottles functioned as fire extinguishers and were thrown at the base of the fire so that they would smash and release the chemicals - thus putting out the fire. Fire grenades were introduced in the United States in the 1870s and were in vogue for about forty years, but were of little real value in fighting fires. These three grenades were made by Sinclair & Company and are shown in the kind of wire rack in which they were usually stored.