General Fire Extinguishers


In order of production, oldest on the left.  From the 1930's to late 1950's.

Dating the various models:
In attempting to organize these extinguishers from the earliest made to the newer models provided quite a challenge.  These will have from one to five patent dates on each one. The patent dates are not necessarily the right way to date these.  Some of the newer ones will use only two or three of the older patent dates. While some of the ones from the middle of the group will have a later patent date than the newer one's admit to.
I have included the last patent dates for reference.  This would be the earliest date that model could have gone into production.  The earlier patent dates really don't apply to dating that model.
The actual manufacture's name as it appears on the extinguisher is another way to date these. Referring to the below history dates and company name changes, provides us with a date as to when the various models were introduced.  Also by using subtle changes in the tops and label shows the development of each model in relation to their order of manufacturing.
Documentation from brochures, catalogs and ads is another method, as they are found.




#1.  This one is the oldest of the group.  It's manufacturer's name is listed as "General Fire Truck Corp." dating it back to the 1930's or older.  It has an intricate top section, very detail.  A rough sand cast mold for these parts.  As for the patent date, it only mentions "Patent Applied For".  The label is solder/tacked on.  The handle and top is solid brass.  It is different in every way from all the other models.  The differences you will not see on the other models that this one has are the ribs on the very bottom, an actual screw head for the fill nut, top piece, logo and handle.

 
#2.  This is the second S-O-S model.  It came in two versions that were similar but four distinct differences than the one shown below.
1. This one had "Patent Pending". 
2. The manufacturer's name reads "The General Fire Truck Corp." The last model to do so. 
3. The ribs on the top cap were different.  
4. The bottom of the label  has a black fill area.
The fill cap is now located in the back behind the handle as compared to the model above.  A new handle has now been introduced which would remain the standard for years to come.   

 
#3.  This is the third S-O-S model.  This model  had a Patent Number.  The first model to have one.  The construction of this model became the standard for at least 10 years.  Only the labels would change.  The manufacturer's name could either be  "The General Detroit Corp." or "The General Pacific Corp." It was patented on September 23, 1941.


#4.  This is the fourth S-O-S model.  The last SOS model to be made.  Production started towards the end of WW II.  The label is soldered/tacked in place.  The handle and top cap are heavy duty and well made.  Notice the ribs on the top of the handle and on the top cap piece.  This is the style of construction that goes to 1951, but the labels did vary.  Last patent date:  February 1, 1944.


#5.   Featured in the Chris Craft Accessory Catalog for 1951.  This model was of the same solid construction as the above.  Construction is identical with only a label change.  This is just one of the models that replaced the S-O-S model.   Quick Aid is the main name now featured.  General was issued the Trademark name "Quick Aid" on June 22, 1948.   Last patent date:  February 1, 1944. 


#6.  Same as above except just plain black coloring on the label.  There would be no more two color labels starting with this model.   Models 3 through 6 revealed their manufacturer's location with either the "General Detroit Corp." name or the "General Pacific Corp." name.  This extinguisher still has the original lacquer on it,  that is why it appears so dark.  The construction is identical as the above model. Last patent date:  February 1, 1944.


#7.  Notice a change to the top.  The ribs are gone from the top piece.  The manufacturers name now includes both "The General Detroit Corp." and "The General Pacific Corp."  No longer could you tell where the extinguishers originated from.  Perhaps to reduce the cost of manufacturing the labels. This continued up to but not including the last model. Last patent date:  February 1, 1944.


#8.  Three changes to this model.  On the top piece, ANTI-FREEZE has now been added in the raised lettering.  The logo has lost it's ring around it.  The actual size of the brass label is now smaller.  View the group photo from above to notice this difference.  This is the end of the "solid" made General's.  
Last patent date:  February 1, 1944.


#9.  Many changes.  Perhaps to offer these at an economical price.  The logo now has a new look.  The top piece is of a lighter weight brass.  The lettering on the top piece is now stamped instead of raised lettering.  The handle is not brass, rather  painted to look so.  It's bottom is constructed like the models above.  Instead of using a solder/tack to adhere the label as in all the previous models, the label is now glued on. This one has four patents.   Last patent date:  August 7, 1951.
 
 
#10.  Almost identical construction as above.    A new style of construction for the bottom is now being used.  There are 5 patent dates on this model.  They have a very slight embossing effect for the label. More of a silk screen effect.  These labels are very hard to restore unless you have the original screen. Last patent date:  November 3, 1953.


#11.  Almost identical construction as above.   The "Anti- Freeze Safety Phlare Pump" is no longer stamped into the top.  This one is in original condition.  Last patent date:  November 3, 1953.

   
#12.  Identical to the model above in construction, only a label change.  Notice the "General Fire Extinguisher Corp." name.  This dates it at 1957 or newer.  This model has the  metal (not brass) handle that has been painted to look like brass.  The brass label is glued on.  This model has an older patent date than the two models above it, but it is the newest of the group.  A total of at least 12 styles between the 1930's up to 1960.

 Information regarding General Manufacturing Corp.

The General Manufacturing Co. building,  1920's.
A Brief History of The General Manufacturing Company
1903  Harry W. Huthsing founded the National Belting  & Hose Company.
1905  This in turn became the General Manufacturing Co.
1926  The business focused on building fire apparatus mounted on commercial truck chassis.
The business changed it's name to The General Fire Truck Corporation.
1936  
The company moved to Detroit.
1937  A west coast subsidiary was established in Los Angeles.  Called the General-Pacific Corporation.
1942  The company changed it's name to the General Detroit Corp.
1950  Fire extinguishers and hose apparatus was now the main product line.
1956  The last General fire truck left the Detroit plant.
1957  The company changed it's name to General Fire Extinguisher Corp.
2000  General Fire Extinguisher Corp. filed for chapter 11.
2001  General Fire Extinguisher Corp. filed for chapter 7 and the business was auctioned off.

Ads from The General Detroit Corp.


 
Here is a photo of the original Vehicle Tools and Equipment for the 1/4 ton, 4 X 4 command  reconnaissance vehicle that the US military used during WW II.  It could be either the General #2 or #3  model SOS.
The military also used the Pyrene during the war.


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