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1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 77 (43)

1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition
1954-55 Theatre Catalog
1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 77
Page 77

1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 77

tres in particular. It is a fire retardant finish which looks like, and is applied like ordinary paint. It has all of the decorative qualities of paint but wears much longer and has the unique characteristic of rendering the surface nonfiame supporting. This material carries the Underwriters Laboratories label and is the result of research that has gone on as far back as 1880. It was in that year that the first patent was issued for fire retardant finish. Since then many formulations have come forth. However, most of them were based upon water soluble solutions which would not be practical for theatre use because the first time they were washed the finish would have been removed.

During all of those years, until World War II, fire retardant finishes and paints remained a gleam in the eyes of fire prevention officials and theatre owners, because the idea of a fire retardant finish was sound. In fact, from a theoretical, as well as a practical standpoint, if complete interior walls and ceilings throughout a theatre could be finished with a non-fiame supporting material, a great many small fires could be controlled and prevented from becoming big fires.

In 1948, a young chemist, George Claytor, from Memphis, Tennessee was placed in charge of research for the Morris Paint & Varnish Company, concentrating on the development of at least a theoretical perfect fire retardant finish, in cooperation with Jack Sophir, vice president of the Morris Paint Company and Fyr-Kote,s original creator.

These men worked doggedly, passing test after test, in the laboratory and the field, including U. S. Engineersi test, Army, Navy, independent Laboratories, and most important the Underwriters Laboratories.


The Underwriters Laboratories investigated this product for five months. The purpoee of the investigation being to ascertain the effectiveness of this material, and to observe the general appearance and workability of the material. Even its tendency to corrode nails or


screws was tested as well as the nature of smoke in the fumes emited under fire exposure, because many times the fumes from a fire can be as deadly as the fire itself. For testing purposes this Fyr-Kote material was applied to cellulose fibre board. Two coats without priming the surface. Cellulose fibre board was used because it is considered one of the most combustible of all accepted building materials.

In these tests the Underwriters Laboratories made observations covering the spread of fire, the general character of the fire, the temperature developed, intensity and nature of the smoke released, and comparison made scientifically to surfaces that were not finished with Fyr-Kote. At the end of each flame exposure period, the uncoated boards continued to flame and had to be extinguished with fire extinguishers, whereas on those surfaces coated with Fyr-Kote the fiames started to recede and extinguish themselves within 30 to 45 seconds.

Another unique feature that is especially valuable in the theatre field is the fact that Fyr-Kote material contains a non-toxic but irritating distinguishable odor in the material so that the moment a fiame starts to hit the surface

UNTREATED structure at left (above) blazes while Fyr-Koted structure is unharmed. The tire spreads (lower left) causing intense heat. After 21 minutes (lower right) Fyr-Kote retards flames.

it gives off adequate warning of fire being present and smouldering.

New Product

Another great development in fire retardant materials, particularly for the theatre field, is a product named FyrKote Clear Flameproofer. This is a colorless liquid that can be applied either by dipping or spraying onto any absorbent material, It is especially useful for back drops, draperies, curtains, etc. It has absolutely no effect upon the color or texture of the material, nor does it effect the finest fabrics. Yet it makes any absorbent material absolutely fire retardant. A very simple test is made by dipping a curtain into this material and then another similar curtain undipped, holding a torch to each. The one that has been treated will not dame, but will merely char. The one that has not been treated with Fyr-Kote will immediately go up in flames. Certainly every theatre owner must realize the importance of fire proofing every fabric, every type of cloth, drapery, etc., in his house.


From the laymanls standpoint, this Fyr-Kote fire retardant finish contains a mass of minute tfbuilt in" fire extinguishers. When the surface is exposed to fiame the Fyr-Kote throws out a heat blister which pops open and throws out carbon dioxide and calcium chloride to smother the fire and to retard the spread of flame right on the surface. It seems to us that if the element of time is necessary, it is more so in the theatre than any place else because when a fire starts, if it can be controlled and restricted until the Fire Department comes, or until it is put out with extinguishers, it can prevent panic and death. This might well prove to be one of the greatest advancements made in fire prevention. Who knows how many lives might be saved? But remember always that fire prevention is your business. The theatre owneris business. You cant have the ffLet George Do It" attitude. Make every day a fire prevention day in your theatre.
1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 77