An in-depth look into one of the world's leading fire prevention manufacturers, The Fyr-Fyter Company. Fyr-Fyter was founded in 1916 and was lost in the conglomerate abyss in 1985, its assets likely sold to a leading fire extinguisher business.
Roscoe Innings, the founder of The Fyr-Fyter Company, started his career in the fire prevention/protection industry as an adjuster for a fire insurance business. Through his sales and investigations into claims, Innings noticed that many fires were preventable, yet individuals lacked proper firefighting equipment. The fire extinguisher was relatively new in 1909, and many consumers were skeptical or had no access to purchase one. Once learning that the new company, Pyrene Manufacturing, was looking for independent sales distributors in the United States, Innings jumped on the opportunity to provide fire protection to his home state of Ohio and the surrounding areas. He purchased the sales territory in Ohio for $2,500 (roughly $70,000 today) and introduced Pyrene Company of Ohio with his brothers on April 16, 1910.
The brothers found immediate success in their company and quickly became one of the biggest distributors of Pyrene fire extinguishers in the United States. Roscoe and his agents would use clever demonstrations of the effectiveness of the fire extinguishers to convince skeptics and wow audiences with its abilities. Their success continued until 1916, when Pyrene Manufacturing received a new president. The president sought for better short-term returns for the parent company, and believed that dissolving the independent sales system would increase profit. Shortly after this decision, Pyrene ripped distributor’s businesses from beneath their feet with no compensation whatsoever. As this was a breach of the original contract, Roscoe Innings and his brothers filed a lawsuit against Pyrene Manufacturing and won $175,086.89, which is roughly four million dollars today.
With this money, the Innings brothers founded The Fyr-Fyter Company on May 2, 1916. By September of the same year, they had developed their own extinguisher, a record in the manufacturing world. In 1917, one year after their founding, Fyr-Fyter was already the government’s largest supplier of fire extinguishers. By 1928, the company had 19 different types of extinguishers, all of various types and sizes. 10 years later, Fyr-Fyter acquired Buffalo Extinguisher Company, a large competitor in the Midwest region. Surprisingly enough, 30 years after their founding, Fyr-Fyter bought Pyrene Corporation, the very company that started it all.