Thursday, August 28, 2014

Van Props

Here's some props I'll put in the van.

The fan will be made to look like a period GE piece and it'll help cover some imperfections.

The brass thing is a 1950s period correct extinguisher. It'll do the same.

Funny story. I bought the extinguisher on eBay from a fellow in the US. Many US seller don't want "foreign" buyers, but there a little chunk of US territory nearby that you can only get to by driving through Canada, and there they have companies that will accept delivery for you and notify you when there's a package (see January 8, 2012 post). So went down there Sunday, picked up the goods and drove back home. On the way back I merged onto another freeway just in time to intercept Aaron in his truck pulling his trailer (what are the chances of that). So I got the brass extinguisher and started playing with it. I thought it had water in it, but it didn't. It smelled like Varsol. So I Googled it. Here's what I found out:

In 1910, The Pyrene Manufacturing Company of Delaware filed a patent for using carbon tetrachloride (CTC, or CCl4) to extinguish fires....

This consisted of a brass or chrome container with an integrated handpump, which was used to expel a jet of liquid towards the fire. As the container was unpressurized, it could be refilled after use through a filling plug with a fresh supply of CTC.

Carbon tetrachloride extinguishers were withdrawn in the 1950s because of the chemical's toxicity - exposure to high concentrations damages the nervous system and internal organs.

Additionally, when used on a fire, the heat can convert CTC to phosgene gas, formerly used as a chemical weapon.

Only after this did I run into the washroom and wash my hands! Then I thought I probably broke a dozen laws crossing the border with that thing in my trunk. Then I settled down to read more: "...responsible for depletion of the ozone layer...." Yikes! So the contents are going to remain in the extinguisher and somewhere in the van. It'll be my own personal chemical weapon, and a "great" story.

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