Thursday, October 6, 2011

How Fire Sprinklers Have Made Things Safer

Henry Parmelee

Fire sprinklers are one of those items that is out of sight and out of mind. Through the years, however, advancements in these devices have made surviving fires much more likely.

The story of fire sprinklers begins with a piano factory, and a man named Henry. Henry Parmelee is credited with creating the first fire sprinkler around the year 1864. He was tired of watching large buildings go up in flames due to unforeseen fires, and he wanted a way to protect his own piano factory. Parmelee got in touch with a few creative individuals, expressed his concerns and ideas, and eventually came up with a product that he could patent and sell.

Unfortunately for Henry, the model fire sprinkler that he came up with was rather expensive to purchase, which turned a lot of individuals off of his idea. Rather than giving up, Henry took it upon himself to take his idea to various insurance companies - they listened. Thanks to two of Parmelee's friends (Major Hesketh and James North Lane), Parmelee was able to talk to many different insurers, and he was also able to put his plan into motion. Though Parmelee enjoyed some success, his invention was improved upon by another man who became wealthy thanks to Parmelee's ideas.

Parmelee had hired a man by the name of Fredrick Grinnell to sell his sprinklers throughout the United States. Even though Grinnell did manage to sell some of the product, he also figured out a way to make it much more effective. Thus, Grinnell created his own version of the sprinkler, and took it to Europe where he was able to become rather wealthy. Fire sprinkler history really stops at this point, as many other people began to create different types of this contraption. Still, without Henry Parmelee, many types of businesses would not stand a chance against fire today.

Although the general public never really thinks about it, a sprinkler system can really save plenty of merchandise and lives in the case of a fire. These small devices tend to blend into the ceilings of many different buildings, though they are entirely necessary for any large business. It's interesting to think that an invention created in 1864 is still in use today (though today's devices are high tech in comparison).

As you can see, fire sprinkler history is, indeed, curious. Though it all began with one man seeking to protect his piano factory, the very same invention is used throughout the world today. These sprinklers are now a mandatory part of owning most types of business, and no insurance company in the world would go without them.

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