Hunting for Copper Treasure

Doug Purtee is a treasure hunter. He rummages though old barns around the Midwest, but his prey of choice is surprising––old copper fire extinguishers. I met him recently at a big craft show in Frankfort, Illinois, where he had his shiny copper fire extinguishers exquisitely stacked, selling for $280 each.

He showed me how they worked and told me his story. He’s semi-retired, but he loves these old Acme and Pyrene extinguishers and has found a market for them as home furnishings. He lovingly cleans and buffs the tarnish off them, and travels the fair circuit showing them off and peddling them. He buys the ugly ones mostly off of old repair guys who stashed them in barns and sheds hoping for the price of copper to rise, or maybe because they were too lazy to call the scrappie.

Doug recently found a hundred of them in a Missouri barn. If they were another metal they would have been oxidized garbage, but because they were pure copper they are readily restorable, like a vintage cast iron skillet.

I have a weakness for these old copper canisters because I used to sell 656 New Britain chuckers to Pyrene and Ansul, so I recognized the brands.

Do I want one for my office? Maybe if he’d give me a deal.

For more information Purtee’s fire extinguishers visit

Question: Do you think hunting animals for sport is immoral?

A fire extinguisher polished and fixed up by Doug Purtee

Share this post

3 thoughts on “Hunting for Copper Treasure

  1. Bob Long

    Only if eating meat and fish purchased at the market is also immoral! Dead is dead the means used to facilitate death is not important

  2. DRB

    Morally: that’s been tossed out the window on many a subject matter. Eat what you kill. The waste of our nature has gotten out of control. Soon there will not be anything left for our next generation. Killing for sport. Wow how easy and lazy can you get. Herd the animal up and pull the trigger: OO. That takes real skill or should I say MONEY. If you what a real challenge, go hunt our terrorist they hunt back. Oh let me guess you can only hunt when there’s no hunt back.

  3. Orlando Bonfiglio

    If hunting is for sport only, I believe it is wrong. If it is to manage animal population, or to survive, I am okay with hunting animals. However, since sports hunters are proud of their prowess with superior weaponry, maybe they would get a rush if they and their weaponry and their survival skills were pitted against skilled snipers. This way they could learn empathy for creatures that are lower on the so called food chain.


Comments are closed.