SAPPHIRE Protects Priceless Artifacts
An architectural gem in Des Moines, Iowa, the Salisbury House, is home to original
manuscripts of some of history’s most enduring names including Abraham Lincoln and
Queen Elizabeth I, as well as first edition prints of the King James Bible and works by
Ernest Hemingway and D.H. Lawrence.
The Salisbury House was built between 1923 and 1928 by financier Carl Weeks and
modelled after the King’s House in Salisbury, England. Over the course of five years,
architects and craftsmen from all over the U.S. were hired to painstakingly recreate
every feature of the Tudor-style mansion that captured the imagination of the Iowa
pharmaceuticals magnate. Eventually, the mansion would swell to 42 rooms, many
of which are dedicated to showcasing an expansive art collection. The paintings and
sculptures, intricate wood panelling and rich tapestries collected in this home all
celebrate human expression and craftsmanship and have been preserved through the
20th century to educate and inspire future generations.
Given the cultural importance of the Salisbury House to the community of Des Moines,
not only as an architectural masterpiece but also as the home of priceless artifacts,
the Salisbury House Foundation opted to use a clean agent extinguishing system. This
system extinguishes fires without causing any damage to electronics, works of art,
irreplaceable artifacts and other critical assets. This system provides the ideal solution
for hospitals, museums, libraries, telecommunications centres and other facilities
seeking to protect critical assets that could be damaged by ordinary fire suppression
systems. The system installed by Tyco’s Fire Suppression Group following NFPA 2001,
Clean Agent Extinguishing Systems.
The greatest concern was protecting the institution’s rare books collection, which
includes more than 2,200 rare books and 700 original letters, manuscripts, and
documents. An Ansul Sapphire™ Fire Suppression System was recommended,
which uses an FK-5-1-12 (Dodecafluor-2-methylpentan-3-one) suppression agent. This
classification requires the clean agent to be electrically nonconductive and leave no
residue upon evaporation. It resembles water, but does not cause the type of damage
associated with water when putting out a fire due to its inert affect on ink or paints.
The agent extinguishes a fire via its cooling effect, not by displacing oxygen in the
hazard area. It can be used to protect artwork, electronic equipment and other delicate
items without causing any harm.