Credit: ©The Royal Society
    Image number: RS.11242

    Fire protection suit

    Object type
    Library reference
    height (page): 250mm
    width (page): 178mm
    Content object
    Scene showing a fireman conducting a mock-rescue using protective clothing and a shield, moving through a tunnel of burning wooden faggots. The fireman carries a child on his back within a protective pannier. Public demonstrations of this type were carried out in Geneva and in Paris and were later recounted by Michael Faraday.

    This fireman’s suit was designed by Giovanni Aldini and was composed of a strong inner cloth layer soaked in alum, with asbestos cloth for the face, hands and feet. An outer layer of copper wire gauze was partly inspired by Humphry Davy’s miner’s safety lamp design.

    Inscribed below: ‘Esperienza fatta in presenza di Serenissimo Arciduca Raniera Vicere del Regno Lombardo-Veneto li 31 Maggio 1828’. [Experiment made in the presence of S.A.I.R. the serene Archduke Ranier, Viceroy of Lombardy-Venetio on 31 May 1828].

    Frontispiece plate from the monograph Habillement du pompier pour le préserver
    de l’action de la flamme
    , by Jean Aldini, Milan, 1828.

    Object history
    Rainer Joseph of Austria (1783–1853) was Archduke of Lombardy-Venetia during the years 1818-1848.

    Giovanni Aldini (1762-1834) Italian physicist, best-known for his experiments in galvanism and in lighthouse engineering.
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