Today is not any ordinary Tuesday in August. It is the birthday of a great innovator, entrepreneur and my fellow alumnus (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute). Frederick Grinnell was born on this day in 1855. He paved the road for what fire protection is today.

Utilizing Henry Parmalee’s sprinkler invention, Frederick Grinnell went on to create a variety of innovations that still are in use today. The basis of the technology behind his ideas are at the forefront of the products on the market today. A current fire sprinkler has a few main parts (deflector, arms, body, and the glass bulb / fusible link). As the heat rises in a fire the glass bulb or link release, exposing the open orifice and letting the water start to flow. The deflector takes this water and disperses it in a variety of spray patterns and water volumes. This is not far off from what Grinnell brought to the market back in 1878.

Grinnell also invented the classic dry pipe system, with sprinkler water being held back by a clapper inside a dry pipe valve. The clapper was pressurized on one side with compressed air. Once an open sprinkler relieved enough air on the top side of the valve, the clapper would flip and water would be sent to the appropriate sprinkler to extinguish the fire.

Technology hasn’t moved that far since the days of Frederick Grinnell. It is an interesting phenomenon that the innovation in the fire protection industry is slow to change. What will the next technology leap be that will propel us into the next generation of fire protection?

Inspect Point has been busy at the Troy Innovation Garage coming up with some new advancements that we think could be the next move forward. Check out some of the new features and ideas with a demo of Inspect Point today.

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