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Thomas J. Martin – The Fire Extinguisher

On March 26 1872, Thomas J Martin, an African-American, was granted a patent for his version of the fire extinguisher. Martin’s invention, listed in the U. S. Patent Office in Washington, DC under patent number 125,063, was an improvement upon an earlier model of the fire extinguisher.

The patent refers to pipe and valves and not the wall hanging type of extinguisher that is normally displayed.


Martin’s fire extinguisher would wisely be attached to a reservoir of stored water and used to spray burning fires.

Below is a description of the invention from the awarded patent:

The nature of invention relates to the construction, arrangement and combination of suitable pipes and valves for conducting water from suitable reservoirs to buildings by means of stationary engines, for the purpose of preventing or extinguishing fires in dwellings, mills, factories, towns and cities and may also be used for warning, ventilating and washing buildings and for washing pavements and sprinkling streets.

Although British Captain George William Manby is credited with creating the modern style of the fire extinguisher in 1818, Martin’s improved version is often regarded as the first practical use of the machinery by some historians.


Thomas J. Martin Patents Improved Fire Extinguisher On This Day In 1872

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1 comment

Mrs. McKinney January 26, 2022 at 18:54

Thanks so much for this information. I am doing a lesson as it relates to Fire Safety and will use this regarding one of many for African American History Month.


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