Earhart Project Research Bulletin #18

Update, 11/25/01

The fire extinguisher was subsequently identified as a one and one-half quart pump-type carbon tetrachloride unit manufactured by Fire-Gun, a division of American LaFrance-Fomite Corporation of Elmira, New York.

Worth a Closer Look

Fire extinguisher artifact


Among the many artifacts collected during TIGHAR’s 1997 survey of the abandoned village on Nikumaroro was the battered shell of a carbon tetrachloride fire extinguisher. Although no longer used because of the toxic byproducts produced, “carbon tet” extinguishers were perhaps the most common type of fire extingusher throughout the 1930s and ’40s. TIGHAR Artifact 2-4-V-100 (pictured right) has no surviving manufacturer’s markings and its particular make and model are still being researched.

We do, however, note the artifact’s apparent similarity to an object about to be loaded aboard NR16020 at the beginning of Amelia Earhart’s second world flight attempt. The photo reproduced below was taken by Dustin Carter at Burbank Airport on May 20, 1937. The aircraft’s repairs, following the accident which ended the first world flight attempt, had been signed off as complete the day before and Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan are seen loading the aircraft for the start of the second attempt to circle the globe.

Electra being loaded.







Upon inspection of these two photos, forensic imaging specialist Jeff Glickman of Photoek, Inc. writes:


Thank you for sending the preliminary images of artifact 2-4-V-100 and of F. Noonan and A. Earhart loading their airplane. On cursory inspection there appears to be 4 canister-like objects in the image may20dep.jpg. My preliminary opinion is that the three left-most objects probably do not match 2-4-V-100. There is however a possibility that 2-4-V-100 matches the right-most canister-like object in may20dep.jpg (the canister-like object that is overexposed). I would like to further investigate this possibility and would appreciate your sending the original prints and/or negatives at your earliest convenience. Thank you for assistance.

Best Regards,

Jeff Glickman
Board Certified Forensic Examiner
Fellow, American College of Forensic Examiners

Fortunately, TIGHAR owns the original negative of the May 20 photo and, of course, we have good photography of the artifact. We’ve now sent these to Jeff and we’ll eagerly await his further opinion.

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