'Swift' fire grenade, 1870-1910.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This glas fire grenade made by J H Heathman and Company 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 40 years, but were of little real value in fighting fires.