You probably know it’s necessary to have a sound fire alarm system in your home to give you a heads-up about a hazard. But have you ever wondered how those fire alarms came to be and their history? Here’s a little information about the origin of fire alarms for your education.
The First Fire Alarm Patent
People have been trying to develop a system to effectively detect smoke and fire for centuries. In 1902, George Andrew Darby received a patent for the most primitive smoke alarm system.
Poison Control Device Works on Smoke
A Swiss man created a device to detect "poison gas" a few years later. He didn’t intend for it to pick up smoke, but one day his unique alarm system went off after he lit a cigarette. He then realized that his creation could detect smoke from fires. This creation gave future pioneers the blueprint to create more sophisticated devices.
The First Ionization Smoke Alarm
Dr. Ernest Meldi created a new device that could detect smoke. His machine was unique because it had an ionization chamber that could detect mine gases. These ionization smoke alarms hit the US market in about 1951 but were extremely costly. In fact, they were so expensive that only industrial companies and commercial organizations had them. They didn’t get much public mention because they were not accessible to everyday homeowners.
The SmokeGard 700
Stanley Bennett Peterson and Duane Pearsall are considered to have created the first realistic smoke detector that consumers could use at home. This model was marketed as the SmokeGard 700, and it was crafted of fire-resistant steel and resembled a bee hive in some ways. Peterson developed a plan that was vastly used to create mass units. The production price remained high, however, and the cost of a single unit stayed within the $200 range for quite some time.
Why We Now Have Smoke Alarms in Every Home
Various companies developed and improved numerous types of smoke alarms, and production prices eventually dropped to a reasonable level. The Sears company created a well-functioning device in 1975 using a small battery as the power source. Consumers purchased these units, and by 1976, over 12 million of them were sold. Homeowners realized that these systems were saving lives and wanted to have them in their homes to protect their families.
The years continued to pass, and numerous contractors and companies began developing their own unique brands of smoke alarms. Eventually, Sears marketed the smoke alarms as something necessary for every home. That marketing strategy came true when the Life Safety Code passed in 1976, requiring every homeowner to have a smoke alarm in their household.
Today, technology is so advanced that consumers can purchase smoke detectors for all fire types. Millions of people’s lives get spared each year because of these alarms. You can thank the intelligent souls who began creating them many years ago for the protective fire alarm systems we have today.
Categorised in: Fire Alarm System
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