WTK: strange FIRE-GUN marking ("MB")

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Re: WTK: strange FIRE-GUN marking ("MB")

Post by Wingnutt » Thu Apr 14, 2016 12:04 pm

I dipped back into the Office of Production Management (OPM) 1941 VICTORY bulletins last night. To refresh, the OPM was the immediate pre- declaration of war forerunner of the War Production Board. They continued to publish weekly newsletters about their actions throughout the war. Unfortunately, I have never located 1942 or 1943.

I will post some snippets and you guys can draw your own conclusions, if any. (Underlining is mine. Bolding is to re-create the headline look of the bulletin format.)

October 21, 1941
Federal specifications revised
In addition, the Government Conservation
Branch of the Division of Purchases,
collaborating with the Federal
Specifications Executive Committee, has
revised nearly seventy Federal specifications,
including those for flat tableware,
laundry and refrigeration equipment,
certain phases of cantonment and defense
housing construction, fire-fighting
equipment
and many articles containing
silk. This has resulted in far-reaching
savings of such critical materials as
aluminum, copper, zinc, brass, nickel,
chromium, tin, and rubber.

Oct 28, 1941
Use of copper for many civilian purposes
prohibited in '42, cut for rest of ’41

The Division of Priorities imposed additional
rigid controls on copper and
brass October 21, issuing Conservation
Order M-9-c which virtually forbids the
use of copper for many civilian products.
In the most far-reaching action of
Its kind yet taken, the order sets up
these controls over both domestic and
Imported metal and scrap:
1. Use of copper in more than a
hundred civilian articles is restricted
to approximately 60 percent of a 1940
base period until January 1, 1942.
2. Use of copper in the manufacture
of the articles listed is prohibited after
January 1, 1942, except for nondecorative
plating.
3. Use of copper in building construction
is prohibited after November
1, 1941.
4. Use of copper in all items not listed
Is reduced to 70 percent of a 1940 base
period.
The prohibited list includes seven general
categories: Building supplies and
hardware; house furnishings and equipment;
dress accessories; jewelry, gifts,
and novelties, burial equipment; automotive,
trailer, and tractor equipment; and a
miscellaneous list which runs from firefighting
apparatus to toys.
Seven exceptions are made. Restrictions
do not apply to Army, Navy, Lend-
Lease, or other Government defense
agency contracts where the use of copper
is specified
; to products covered by underwriter
or other safety regulations in
effect on October 1, 1941

November 4, 1941
Builders of fire-fighting
apparatus for defense aided by
A-2 rating on materials

Beginning October 31, manufacturers
of essential fire-fighting apparatus,
needed to fill defense orders, will be assisted
by a preference rating of A-2 in
acquiring the necessary materials.


Dec 16, 1941
Copper restrictions relaxed
on partly fabricated metal

Manufacturers of copper and copper alloy
articles will be permitted to use,
to a limited extent, inventories of partially
fabricated metal between now and
March 31, 1942, Priorities Director Nelson
announced December 8 Restrictions
were to have gone into effect January
1, 1942.
Restrictions are (1) that the material
was on hand as of December 1, 1941; (2)
that the metal was in a form or alloy
that could not be used in the manufacture
of any item not on List A of the
order; (3) that no additional copper be
required to complete the item; (4) that
the aggregate metal used does not exceed
twice the amount permitted between
October 15 and December 31, 1941, and
(5) that by December 20, 1941, each manufacturer
files with the OPM Form
PD-189, establishing the facts in his
case, setting forth inventories and other
particulars.
Some exemptions added
In addition to the prohibitory List A,
a List B is added which makes specific
exemptions for certain uses where the
use of other material Is Impractical.
Minor changes are made in List A,
largely concerned with building supplies
and fire-fighting equipment.
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Re: WTK: strange FIRE-GUN marking ("MB")

Post by AZ Jeff » Thu Apr 14, 2016 4:32 pm

Cool. I think that supports the theory that extinguisher/decontaminator bodies were (obviously) allowed to continue in production while decals could replace brass tags.

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Re: WTK: strange FIRE-GUN marking ("MB")

Post by Wingnutt » Fri Apr 15, 2016 9:10 am

AZ Jeff wrote:Cool. I think that supports the theory that extinguisher/decontaminator bodies were (obviously) allowed to continue in production
I'm with you on this part, Jeff. Then again, as your parenthetical phrase suggests, we didn't really need historical documents from the WPB to tell us that, since the painted specimens are also made of brass. (Lead, by the way, was another acceptable material composition for the extinguisher shell, per 1939 Fed Spec O-F-351..., with obvious weight issues for a vehicular applications.)
AZ Jeff wrote:while decals could replace brass tags.
I didn't see anything in the VICTORY bulletins that would support this.

Here is my thought process...

The 1939 O-F-380 Fed Specs, para. D-5a., Labeling and Marking, required each FE to have "permanently and securely attached to the extinguisher shell a metal plate carrying the following," and that was (heavily summarizing): "conspicuous" operating instructions NLT 1/8" high in a color different than the background and the other instructions; directions for refilling and cautions against use of other liquids; name and address of the OEM.

The fact that foil/paper instruction labels (on OD painted brass shells) replaced brass instruction "plates" (on clear lacquered brass shells) is as obvious from vintage specimens as the fact that the extinguishers were allowed to be continued to be made out of brass. Which implies that paragraph D-5a of the O-F-380 Fed Specs was changed at some point during the war. When is one question. Why is another, related, though lesser question.

I don't think the 1941 OPM VICTORY bulletins helps on the when, except to establish that it wasn't in 1941.

They may help on the why, however, which may have some implications on the when.

Note that on November 4, 1941, FE mfgrs (i.e., General Detroit, American LaFrance Foamite, Fyr-Fyter, etc) were given A-2 priority to acquire the brass they needed to make their product, which included a brass plate. They were ordering a lot of it in bulk material volumes for forging/casting. From that time to some unknown date when they started using paper labels instead, they were obviously using some portion of that bulk volume (I would estimate much less than .5% per FE) to squeeze out malleable instruction plates. Nothing in the language of the way the 1941 VICTORY bulletins report OPM control, allocation and restriction actions for precious metals suggests to me that it's logical for the OPM to continue to give them an A-2 priority for brass for the shell, the handle, the hardware, etc, but not for the labels. It's possible, and I am now more interested than ever in finding 1942 or 1943 version of the OPM bulletins, if only because if they did that, it would help establish a switchover date. Also helpful would be a later version of the O-F-351 Fed Specs.

For now, I think the 1941 OPM VICTORY bulletin excerpts lends some credence to the theory that the Army wanted vehicular FE's painted OD, they couldn't do that without obscuring the instructions label, and putting a brass plate over the OD shell made no sense.

But I am not wedded to that. And, it should be re-emphasized, that why they switched over really has no bearing on when, except for the fact that if it wasn't for brass conservation reasons, it may not have been as early as conventional wisdom suspected.
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Re: WTK: strange FIRE-GUN marking ("MB")

Post by Silly's MB » Fri Apr 15, 2016 12:18 pm

1942 Victory Bulletins in Quarterley bundles.
Jan-March https://ia800301.us.archive.org/21/item ... 03unit.pdf
April-June https://ia600300.us.archive.org/10/item ... 42unit.pdf
July-September https://ia802504.us.archive.org/7/items ... 42unit.pdf
October- December https://ia800304.us.archive.org/32/item ... 42unit.pdf


1943 Victory Bulletins
Jan-March https://ia801403.us.archive.org/15/item ... 43unit.pdf
April-June https://ia600304.us.archive.org/23/item ... 04unit.pdf
Not found the rest yet

Not had a chance to read them yet but In July 1942 Brass was on the list of critical materials and supply was considered to be too short for continued Military and Civilian use. July, PDF Page 90 explains new allocations of brass.
Last edited by Silly's MB on Fri Apr 15, 2016 3:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Limited access.
1942 August Willys MB
Complete MVMTS 100% sourced in the ETO

Empty vessels make the most noise .......

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Re: WTK: strange FIRE-GUN marking ("MB")

Post by AZ Jeff » Fri Apr 15, 2016 12:21 pm

The only specific wartime application period I'm aware of involves Pyrene. We know from the PAT PEND (April, 1942) and PATENTED (April, 1944) references on the T handle and plates/decals that certain Pyrenes date rather precisely from that period. That includes brass tag versions and OD-painted decal type examples in my experience. So brass tag = civilian (non-OD body required) and decal were GI? Perhaps.

Your comment on why decals might have been used -- because the government wanted the bodies to be OD painted -- is very credible. It is interesting though that decontaminators, which are CWS grey painted, exist with both brass tags and decals. Could some brass tag versions be early postwar? Possibly. I need to look at mine carefully but I'm pretty sure they were painted after the brass tags were soldered on.

Thanks for adding the FED SPEC requirements to this discussion.

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Re: WTK: strange FIRE-GUN marking ("MB")

Post by Chuck Lutz » Fri Apr 15, 2016 5:46 pm

Jeff....can we safely date the production date of an item by the pat pend or patent date?
PAT PEND is a registration date which means it has to be at least on paper by then, but not necessarily in production.
PATENTED is the issueance (date) of the patent but not necessarily the date it went into production.

An FE could very well have been PATENTED in 1944 and not put into production until a later date, could it not? I looked for an example and had to go no further than the Vintage FE website. Here is a model with the last patent date of Feb. 1, 1944:
Last Patent 2-1-44.jpg
Last Patent 2-1-44.jpg (54.73 KiB) Viewed 465 times
...and yet it did not go into production until AFTER a different version went into production in LATE WWII:
Late WWII 2-1-44 last patent.jpg
Late WWII 2-1-44 last patent.jpg (29.12 KiB) Viewed 465 times
With that in mind, the last patent on any item only covers the patented PART the patent covers and it might be from any subsequent production item.
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Re:patents

Post by lucakiki » Sat Apr 16, 2016 12:58 am

Any artifact cannot be earlier than the patent details appearing on it, but can be quite later than the same patent details: it is quite unsurprising.
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WillysMB#344142 6-19-44 Navy N.S.Blue Grey
45 Bantam T-3 #57248 1-10-45
42 Willys MB-T #13560 11-42
43 Willys MB-T # 25417 4-43
Way too many WWII military tools,hopefully thinning down,and way too many posts...

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Re: WTK: strange FIRE-GUN marking ("MB")

Post by Wingnutt » Sat Apr 16, 2016 4:39 am

AZ Jeff wrote:The only specific wartime application period I'm aware of involves Pyrene. We know from the PAT PEND (April, 1942) and PATENTED (April, 1944) references on the T handle and plates/decals that certain Pyrenes date rather precisely from that period. That includes brass tag versions and OD-painted decal type examples in my experience.
Very interesting, but also odd, Jeff. If "PAT PEND" shows up on Pyrene FE's that are painted OD and bear a paper decal, and the actual patent number shows up on other Pyrenes, regardless of which type (painted/decal or unpainted/brass plate), that clearly indicates that Pyrene, at the very least, was painting their shells as early as April 1942. The odd part is the patent showing up on both types, which defeats the sequence theory. (What was the patent for, specifically?)
AZ Jeff wrote:So brass tag = civilian (non-OD body required) and decal were GI? Perhaps.
I don't think so, Jeff. I think the OPM bulletins make it pretty clear that OEM's had A-2 or higher priorities for defense orders. I don't see the logic in prioritizing brass for defense, giving FE OEM's A-2 or higher priority so they don't get shut out by shell makers, but allowing OEM's to make FE's with brass plates for civilian markets as if nothing has changed.
AZ Jeff wrote:but I'm pretty sure they were painted after the brass tags were soldered on.
Hmm. Curiouser and curiouser.
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Re: WTK: strange FIRE-GUN marking ("MB")

Post by Ratpatroller » Thu May 23, 2019 10:23 pm

Chuck Lutz wrote:
Fri Apr 15, 2016 5:46 pm
Jeff....can we safely date the production date of an item by the pat pend or patent date?
PAT PEND is a registration date which means it has to be at least on paper by then, but not necessarily in production.
PATENTED is the issueance (date) of the patent but not necessarily the date it went into production.

An FE could very well have been PATENTED in 1944 and not put into production until a later date, could it not? I looked for an example and had to go no further than the Vintage FE website. Here is a model with the last patent date of Feb. 1, 1944:
Last Patent 2-1-44.jpg

...and yet it did not go into production until AFTER a different version went into production in LATE WWII:
Late WWII 2-1-44 last patent.jpg

With that in mind, the last patent on any item only covers the patented PART the patent covers and it might be from any subsequent production item.
"Re:patents

Post by lucakiki » Sat Apr 16, 2016 12:58 am
Any artifact cannot be earlier than the patent details appearing on it, but can be quite later than the same patent details: it is quite unsurprising.
Luca"

Chuck and Luca, I think the reverse is probably more likely, especially with the notion of "Patent Pending", i.e. an item could and I believe often was in production long before a patent was issued, hence the common notation "Patent Pending". Meaning that it is being produced while the paperwork is being reviewed by the Patent Office and the patent application approved and a patent issued. Thus it could be years between production, with a patent pending stamp on the product, and the issuance of the patent, upon which the product would be stamped "Patent No. XXX123" or similar marking.

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Re: WTK: strange FIRE-GUN marking ("MB")

Post by Chuck Lutz » Fri May 24, 2019 12:44 pm

As both Luca and myself have stated...certainly an item COULD be in production PRIOR to anyone applying for patent which, if the idea was a good one would make hijacking the idea quite possible. However when a patent has been REGISTERED for application of a patent with the Patent Office, that is the date it was filed and the PATENT PENDING designation is then in fact correct. That makes it pretty easy for other mfgers to see they are highly unlikely to be able to make a copy of the item and then try to get it patented.

The PATENTED date is the date the Patent Date was issued. It would be impossible to have an item with a legitimate PATENTED designation to so mark that item before the US Patent Office has granted it.

Look no further than the dates on the Carter carbs and compare that to the dates the item actually went into production. The PATENT may precede the production date by quite some time but the holder of that patent had the ownership of it even if they don't go into production immediately.
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Re: WTK: strange FIRE-GUN marking ("MB")

Post by Wingnutt » Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:09 am

I found another American LaFrance Foamite "FIRE-GUN" model "No. O" fire extinguisher at the flea market this morning. Just like the one I posted to start this thread a few years go, this example also has the little deceptively coincidental "MB" forged into the plunger handle. It is not the ribbed type, has a brass label, but doesn't have the script "Corporation" logo, and it has an L- series production number. It was full. Masked up and gloved up to carefully dispose of the CTC. Minimal (green patina spots around fixtures...) clean up.

Fire Gun 1.jpg
Fire Gun 2.jpg
Fire Gun 3.jpg
Fire Gun 4.jpg
Fire Gun 5.jpg
Fire Gun 6.jpg
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Re: WTK: strange FIRE-GUN marking ("MB")

Post by lucas » Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:21 am

Greg>>Was the Fire-Gun that clean when you bought it? most f/e need big time cleaning and are beat up and corroded (that I see).....Great find..I haven't seen one in years.....
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Re: WTK: strange FIRE-GUN marking ("MB")

Post by Wingnutt » Sat Aug 01, 2020 2:18 pm

Hi Hugh. Pretty much. Photo 1 in the previous post is from my trunk at the flea market. The rest of the photos are on my bench after a light cleaning. The only real corrosion was on the holder and strap, which popped its rivets when I removed the FE. The strap is also brass by the way, just painted black. There was some greenish patina around the plunger and the hex nut stopper at the top. And those two spots near the bottom on the vessel under the decal.

Its unusually good condition might be attributed to it never being used. This DO NOT REMOVE maintenance tag, which is factory, and blank, giving me the impression it was never used or refilled, was wired on the plunger.

20200801_170823.jpg
20200801_170831.jpg
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