While they’ll take a look at all kinds of odd things people keep in weird collections, there’s one strange old fire safety device that is just too dangerous for the appraisers at “Antiques Roadshow” to touch. Back in the day, people kept glass fire extinguishers in their homes for incendiary emergencies. The thing was, the stuff inside these so-called glass fire grenades could be just as deadly as the flames they were meant to put out.
According to The Spokesman-Review, some of these little glass balls were filled with water, but others contained the toxic substance carbon tetrachloride. The idea was to throw them at the base of a fire to extinguish it. Better than burning alive, but luckily we’ve found more effective and less noxious ways to douse flames. If you’ve got one sitting around at home, just let it alone, as carbon tetrachloride is now illegal due to the detrimental effects it has to human health. It wouldn’t be worth much anyway. The Spokesman-Review valued one reader’s fire grenade at a measly $30 to $40. Better to keep searching for early paintings by famous artists and other bygone valuables. The Houston Chronicle reports that an early Diego Rivera painting was valued at $1.2 to $2.2 million, the most valuable item ever appraised on the show.