Endurance - in a fire

9 November 2022
This post is part of a series of closer looks at aspects in our current exhibition, Endurance. Here I am going to explore a couple of objects in the case looking at fire safety. The objects that I am looking at take their inspiration from glass fire grenades which were used between 1870 and 1910. These extinguishers were designed to be decorative objects that came is different shapes and colours. In the event of a fire, they would be thrown at the flames. On impact the glass outer would break releasing the liquid contents which would supress the flames. They lost favour as it became apparent that they contained dangerous chemicals. 
The Firevase is a modern version of this technology made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and filled with liquid potassium carbonate. The firevase, designed to also hold flowers, was created as part of a fire safety project in South Korea where an estimated 10,000 residential fires occur every year. 100,000 firevases were handed out to households in fire-prone areas between September and December 2018. 
Firevase, Cheil Worldwide for Samsung Fire and Marine Insurance, 2018.  AIBDC : 009357

The AFO Fire Extinguisher ball, thought to be made of a foam casing wrapped in PVC, does not need to be thrown at a fire as it will self-activate when it comes into contact with the flames. It also produces a loud sound which will serve as an alarm for people nearby. Some people use it in the engine bay of their vehicles where it would prevent any fire outbreak before it may otherwise be detected.
Fire Extinguisher Ball, AFO, circa 2015.  AIBDC : 009339 

Louise Dennis, Curator of MoDiP