Thread Number: 73245  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
vintage smoke/fire alarms
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Post# 967506   11/12/2017 at 16:33 (367 days old) by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        

I have about 20,mostly 70s/80s,ionization and photoelectric,Photo style,1974,runs on ac,constant on bulb,loud vibrator type warning horn.some other photo types-in use currently-are battery powered "response'brand made 1991,but older design-(almost identical to 1979 Nutone unit in collection)Have LED light source and momentarily flashes the LED every few sec,so batt lasts good.Ionization types are recommended to be replaced every 10 years because the nuke material degrades with time,but I recently tested a 1976 one recently and it was still very effective-placed it and a much newer ion.type in an aquarium with a soldering iron with tip wrapped in cloth to generate smoke and there was no noticeable difference in sensitivity :)My grandmas house had 1950s wind-up warning bells that would trigger at a certain temperature :)

Post# 967637 , Reply# 1   11/13/2017 at 01:49 (367 days old) by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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My neighbor sold those wind up alarms when I was little.

Post# 967704 , Reply# 2   11/13/2017 at 12:37 (366 days old) by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

Even if they work, I would never trust a vintage somke alarm, as they may fail.

They are cute, however.

In one of the branches darryl works there is a smoke alarm that is huge, it has a metal body and I would almost dare to say it's "art deco".

It is there because the library building is a historical building, so everything must be preserved. (Including the art deco Honeywell thermostats that can be seen in several areas.)

However, I am more than sure its no longer operational. I don't know if it's connected or not, but very close to it there are several high end, ultra modern detectors and the library also has a state of the art fire suppression system instead of regular fire sprinklers as water could cause damages.

The same with the fire alarm pull stations, probably made of cast iron. It's a box with a door and a small lever you pull to the side. On every station there are two pull stations. The vintage one that is protected by a plexiglass cover and a small sign that says it's not operational (so people won't be able to reach them as they don't work anymore) and right next to it a super modern Simplex "press in then pull down"., covered with one of those plastic covers that you have to lift to reach the pull station.

There is also a blue pull station saying "police" that i guess it's to start a lockdown. Not sure. I'll have to ask Darryl as he is constantly trained.

But anyway. old fire alarms are beautiful because of the design, but I doubt they worked better than modern ones and I am very sure vintage smoke alarms may fail to detect and go off if needed. Manufacturers say they should be replaced every 10 years. Just in case, i prefer to give it a huge error margin and replace them every 5 years. I would keep a vintage because of the charming design, but I'll have a brand new detector right next to it.

A good way to have the smoke alarms always "new" without draining your wallet is replace 1 or 2 per year.

Talking about that... This week I'll have to buy 10 smoke alarms, 6 CO detectors, 5 Fire extinguishers, 1 fire escape ladder, 1 fire blanket and 1 first aid kit

If I had money, even being a leased apartment, i'd make the landlord very happy by paying for a company to install fire sprinklers.

Post# 967722 , Reply# 3   11/13/2017 at 14:28 (366 days old) by johnb300m (Chicago)        

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As a designer of modern smoke alarms, I would have to second that opinion of NOT trusting any smoke/fire alarm with your lives after 10 years.
It's not just to get all of you out to buy new ones. It's just that they're so dang important, and even with high quality, rugged electronics, they just cannot be guaranteed more than 10 years.
Some even go out between 7-10.

Again, cool to collect. We got lots of weird, interesting dinosaurs around the office.
But for your home?
Please buy new :)

Post# 967847 , Reply# 4   11/14/2017 at 03:53 (366 days old) by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        


Cool to know we have a smoke alarm designer among us..

We need to talk. LOL. I'll email you tomorrow. I need some help to choose everything new for the apartment I just leased (moved in today, It's my first night here.)

And guess what was the very first thing i did...

I pulled one of the three wired smoke alarms and hid it in an old washing machine that is outside waiting for the "krusher".

That darn thing wouldn't stop chirping, even after the landlord replaced the batteries. Tomorrow he'll bring three new smoke alarms, however, as I am "just a little bit" paranoid about home safety, I'm thinking about buying other 10 smoke alarms and at least 6 CO alarms, and 5 or 6 extinguishers, that explosive can fire suppression system for the hood, 1 or 2 fire ladders, a fire blanket for the kitchen (maybe an extra Tundra to pair with a decent size extinguisher).

Am I forgetting something?

Oh yes, some of those not so silly respirators Lowe's sells.

Post# 968633 , Reply# 5   11/17/2017 at 23:48 (362 days old) by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

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There are some old ones on Youtube, wind up ones and some plug in ones.

I remember my grandparents had an 1981 mobile with two rectangular smoke alarms that were woodgrain.

My other grandmother's house built in the late 70s had an big white round smoke alarm in the hallway - not huge but bigger and thicker housing than newer ones. It had vents in a sunburst sort of pattern and a red light on the side that stayed on all the time. I know it was A/C powered but not sure if it had battery backup - I doubt it though.

Post# 968764 , Reply# 6   11/18/2017 at 16:32 (361 days old) by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

Speaking of smoke detectors, we had one that almost caught fire itself. It was a plug in model of First Alert. It was mounted on a concrete wall in the basement, so no harm except for a smoked spot on the paint.

Post# 968793 , Reply# 7   11/18/2017 at 18:16 (361 days old) by Blackstone (Springfield, Massachusetts)        
What is This Old "Fire Warden" Alarm????

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I have been trying for years to find someone who could give me information on this alarm. No one seems to recognize it, or know how it is supposed to work.

When you turn the knurled disc in front, the alarm makes a loud mechanical noise. Not sure how it is supposed to be activated, but I suspect that the alarm must have to be suspended in some way.

Any clues? Feel free to email me with any ideas.


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