a website collaboration between Science Service and the Smithsonian Institution

1943 - the Kidde Flame Detector actuated by flames rather than heat


CD 1967042 E&MP56.001

Fire Alarms

February 1943

A new method of detecting fires and setting off automatic extinguishing systems is the latest development to come from Walter Kidde fire protection laboratories.

Known as the Kidde Flame Detector the new device was especially designed for use in Army tanks where sudden over-heating of engines and varying climatic conditions from Alaska to Egypt made use of fixed-temperature and rate-of-temperature-rise detectors impractical.

As its name implies, the flame detector is actuated by flames themselves rather than the heat of a fire.

The basic element consists of two organic filaments holding an electrical circuit open.

At the slightest contact with flame these filaments are destroyed and the circuit closed.

As an extra precaution, there is also a fixed-temperature thermostat in the flame detector, but this is set high enough to over-ride operating temperature conditions. 

Original Caption by Science Service
Walter Kidde & Company., Inc.

National Museum of American History


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