Fire extinguisher #1:Phomene Trade Marked Extinguisher
Materials/Technique: Riveted steel, chemical foam
Maker:The Pyrene Company Limited
From the collection of The Ryde Historic Society

Fire extinguisher #2:‘The Minimax’ - Conical Fire Extinguisher
Materials/Technique: Welded steel
Maker:The Pyrene Company Limited who acquired Minimax Limited (1903-1955) in 1955
From the collection of The Ryde Historic Society

About The Exhibtion

Fire extinguishers are common objects in day-to-day life, yet we rarely pay attention to them. The exhibition, IN CASE OF FIRE asks: what happens when a fire extinguisher is the starting point for a creative project?

IN CASE OF FIRE is an exhibition of 29 works by 32 creatives working in different disciplines. The participants made work in response to two fire extinguishers from the Historic Ryde Society’s collection. From flower arrangements to illustrations; architectural models to fashion garments; DJ mixes to tea towels, the works explore rich and varied stories around the culture, history and materiality of fire. Together, the projects show that inspiration can come from everyday objects that we rarely pay attention to.

This project has brought people and ideas together and fostered a sense of community during these strange and isolating times. Throughout the month-long project, the participants zoomed, called, emailed and texted, sharing feedback, thoughts, references and observations with each other to grow the projects into the ones you can view on the exhibition’s website. Together, the works show that behind objects we are surrounded with on a day-to-day basis, there is the potential for wonderful things – inspiration can come from anywhere and anything.

If you are interested in purchasing any of the work you have seen in this exhibition please contact us on

Credits: This project/exhibition was initiated and curated by You Get the Gist, a design research studio founded by Fern Toynton and Lara Chapman.

IN CASE OF FIRE is part of the Covid Commissions, which were launched in July 2020 following six weeks of national ‘lockdown’ during the Covid-19 pandemic. In response to the challenges faced by living and working in isolation and without physical access to the networks we rely on, Ryde Arts asked artists to consider the concept of collaborative working during this time. Six artists from different disciplines worked in pairs on three research and development projects, each taking a unique approach. The commissions were created with the intention that each participating artist would be able to further their own creative practice without the expectation of a fixed outcome.

Each project can be viewed in full at The Covid Commissions have been created by Ryde Arts and funded by Arts Council England.

Thank you to The Historic Ryde Society for the loan of their fire extinguishers and their wealth of information about their collection which can be seen in their museum at the Victoria Arcade, Isle of Wight.

Graphic design and web development: Jo Widney
Front webpage graphic: Grace Kim