On this day: September 17

Published On: Sep 14 2012 01:49:58 PM CDT   Updated On: Sep 17 2015 01:00:00 AM CDT

The U.S. Constitution is signed, the Civil War sees the bloodiest battle in American history, the prototype space shuttle Enterprise is unveiled, and the Camp David Accords bring peace between Egypt and Israel, all on this day.

OTD September 17 - Pratt sprinkler patent
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Public domain

1872: The first U.S. patent for an automatic sprinkler system is issued to Philip W. Pratt, of Abington, Massachusetts. The system was operated by means of a valve to which cords and fuses were attached. The cords held the valve closed with a spring-loaded lever. In case of a fire, when the fuses ignited, the cords burned, and the valve opened to release a stream of water. Water then flowed through overhead pivoted pipes that would revolve rapidly, throwing water in all directions to wet the ceiling, walls and floor.

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