**The History of The Fire Sprinkler System
**The name most often associated with the invention of the fire sprinkler system is that of George F. Parmelee, an American who owned a piano factory in Manchester. In fact, Mr. Parmelee did not invent the fire sprinkler system–the first automatic fire sprinkler system was patented by a man named Philip W. Pratt in 1872, and manually-activated systems had been in use for years earlier.
However, Mr. Parmelee usually gets the credit for being the first to apply practical use to the patent by installing a fire sprinkler system in his factory–as well as making significant improvements to the design. According to the story, he lit a fire in a shed with large amounts of wood shavings and flammable paraffin on the floor–and within minutes, the fire sprinkler system extinguished the fire.
Frederick Grinnell was the next innovator to improve upon the fire sprinkler system, and in 1890 he invented sprinkler heads fitted with glass bulbs that broke under heat exposure–essentially the same technology we use today.
Traditionally, fire sprinklers were used only in commercial buildings–and were thought of mainly as a loss-prevention device to protect business owners from losing valuable property and equipment to fire. It wasn’t until the 1940’s that the fire sprinkler system began to be seen as a life-protection device as well, and people started installing them in their homes.