Living Beaverton - Your guide to everything Beaverton


The Red Comet - Finding history in a home

Don't know what the Red Comet is? 

The Red Comet was an early fire extinguisher that, like today's sprinkler systems, had a certain melting point and dropped what looked like an upside down, half full water balloon made of glass. Inside the bulb was a liquid that, upon impact with the floor, would extinguish the fire.

The Red Comet wasn't something that not every family had, or I believe, could afford when they first came out. This is a picture of one that was found during the remodel of Schiller Station.

The one seems to be the earliest version I have been able to find even online. The pictures I've been finding are wall mounted and work more like today's sprinkler systems. The systems that were out in the 50's had a melting point and upon reaching that heat would spray a liquid that would put the flames out versus the version we have here that drops and breaks the bulb sending glass and liquid everywhere. The new versions were definitely safer, but from a historical stand point this was a pretty cool find.

I talked to the company that is still around, although in name only, and they don't do things like this anymore. The company that originally manufactured these went out of business in 1985. The new company sells more traditional fire extinguishers. They are still located in Littleton, Co where they moved in 1933 after being in Denver where they had leased a building since 1919. The one that comes with the Schiller Station home seems to be one of the early versions from somewhere between 1919 and 1929.

I have found out that what they used to put out the fire in those early bulbs is considered to be toxic to humans now, so if you should have one and it breaks, get out of the house and let it air out. But this cool little item, plus one more, will be included in the sale of the Schiller Station home.


Todd Clark (Principal Broker)
eXp Realty LLC
Comment balloon 2 commentsTodd Clark • February 21 2008 10:15AM


That is very good to know and very intersting.... Thanks for the info and post.
Posted by Al Maxwell, Real Estate Agent (Keller Williams) almost 13 years ago
Thanks Al - I had never seen one prior to taken this listing and it was really cool researching it, trying to find out more about it.
Posted by Todd Clark, Principle Broker Oregon (eXp Realty LLC) almost 13 years ago

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