Burrell Mine Methane Detector

George A. Burrell invented the Burrell Methane Detector in 1915; subsequently the Mine Safety Appliances Company manufactured and sold it. The Bureau of Mines approved the methane tester for use on March 10, 1922. A belt-worn Edison battery similar to the one used for battery-powered hat lamps powered the methane tester. A measured sample of mine air is drawn into a tube and mixed with water. This mixture is heated by a platinum filament. Any contraction in volume after burning indicated methane, and the tester’s gauge showed the concentration of methane in the air.
Object Name
indicator, methane gas
overall: 15 in x 3 1/2 in x 4 1/2 in; 38.1 cm x 8.89 cm x 11.43 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
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Work and Industry: Mining
Industry & Manufacturing
American Enterprise
American Enterprise
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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