Star Sprinkler Model B 165°F manufactured in 1946

Star 1946 B Upright 1-BEATTIE

Star Sprinkler Model B 165°F manufactured in 1946

Star Sprinkler Model B 165°F manufactured in 1946

Star Sprinkler Model B 165°F manufactured in 1946

Star Sprinkler Model B 165°F manufactured in 1946

Star Sprinkler Model B 165°F manufactured in 1946. This is an upright 1/2 inch, K=5.6

Sprinkler heads manufactured prior to 1953 have a smaller sprinkler deflector and are called “old-style” or “conventional” sprinklers. These heads were smaller, and approximately 40% of the water was directed upward.


4 Responses to Star Sprinkler Model B 165°F manufactured in 1946

  1. Kevin says:

    Very nice. I am an avid collector of old sprinkler heads. I have a Star upright from 1945 that has a steel deflector since brass shortages during the war caused many sprinkler manufacturers to cut back on brass consumption. Most of my steel topped heads are from 1944-45. Thanks for posting this. I love seeing pics of old heads like this.

    • Walt Beattie says:

      Thank you for your comment.
      Yes, during WWII, companies did use other materials to reduce the amount of brass used in sprinkler heads. Another example may be seen in the article “Evolution of the Fire Sprinkler” ( ). Photo 7: 1944 and 1955 Reliable Model C, 160°F sprinklers. shows a deflector manufactured from a different metal.

      • Kevin says:

        Great article. It was a great read and very informative. You have a few heads I don’t have. I have a couple questions. Do you know what other materials were used other than brass/steel to make not only the deflectors, but also the entire frame of sprinkler heads during the war years? I know someone with a Globe Savall model from 1942 that was made of a lightweight material, but was nickle plated so its hard to tell what exactly its made of. (I was guessing aluminum but wasn’t sure if it was an approved material for sprinkler heads) My other question was, do you know when systems started being calculated for a specific heads K factor? You note that this Star is a K=5.6 but I was unaware they were using K factors on heads that long ago. Thanks in advance.

  2. Walt Beattie says:

    During WWII, there were alternatives to brass, but aluminum was probably not used in it’s pure form because of its low melting temperature and softness. The sprinkler heads needed to be hydrostatic tested at high pressures, approximately 600 psi. I am not sure if 600 psi was used during WWII, but that is a pressure range. Steam underwriters pumps were used in factories because ample quantities of reliable steam. Positive displacement pumps could develop excessive pressures if not relieved. Nickel-zinc alloys were used around that time. During the 1920’s art deco period, Monel was used. this is an alloy of 2/3 nickel and 1/3 copper. Monel was the material used for dog tags by the military during WWI and WWII. Maybe someone might pick this up and respond with a more knowledgeable response.

    Regarding sprinkler system head by head calculations, they go back into at least into the 1950’s, probably earlier. The 1959 edition of the Factory Mutual Engineering Division of Associated Factory Mutual Companies’ Handbook of Industrial Processes devotes an entire chapter to Hydraulics of Sprinkler Systems. During my schooling, we performed hydraulic calculation of sprinkler systems for end-head density using form paper printed specifically for sprinkler system calculations. That was prior to the wide-spread availability of calculators. We used slide rules for calculation to three digits. The primary friction loss tables I used were printed by Automatic Sprinkler Company and Viking. I don’t know off-hand when they were printed, but they were “old” 40 years ago when we used them for calculations.

    Sprinkler head characteristics were studied in the late 1800’s. Revisions to the sprinkler system pipe schedule were improved several times prior to 1900, with the most recognized change in 1895. The next major revisions were in 1940 and 1953. Prior to the 1895 schedule, every city or state could have their own pipe schedule standard.

    Regarding K-factors, they were identified in the early days, just not published and identified like they are today. Almost all listed and approved heads had 1/2 inch orifices. In the 1960’s – 1970’s, the “next best thing” was the 17/32″ head with K=8.0. This brought about the early hydraulics problems with retrofitting existing systems and people not understanding the ramifications of swapping out 1/2″ for 17/32″ heads without making proper calculations to identify frictional losses and base of riser (BOR) demands. All systems using 17/32″ heads required hed-by-head calculations with a noted BOR demand.

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