A MODERN HOOK AND LADDER TRUCK.

A MODERN HOOK AND LADDER TRUCK.

The most important thing for a fire department is a good steamer. It has been proved in many recent cases that, where sole reliance was placed on hydrant pressure, the destruction to property was great. Sioux City, Atlanta and many other places may be mentioned, where it became necessary to add engines to the equipment, after conHagrations had demonstrated that to rely solely on fireplugs was a fatal error. The portable engine is a necessity where valuable property has to be protected, and such places as do not possess one may some day find out that a grievous mistake had been made. The pressure in the mains mav be good; but it is necessary to reinforce it with a good engine or two ready at all times to meet the most exacting conditions in fighting big fires. Next to the engine comes the hook and ladder truck. No department is properly equiped without a curtain number of these indispensible apparatus, they are necessary in all departments whether they are small or large. Its uses are many, principally in the work of rescuL.aud enabling firemen to reach a certain point in a building and and attack the fire at close quarters. In many small places the combination truck is fitted with tools to make it a very valuable adjunct in a fire department. The great improvements in the construction of trucks by using trussed ladders, instead of the old solid style, and the adoption of scientific means of raising them have had much to do with their popularity. While it is necessary to carry a certain weight to insure safety and rigidity, still the cutting down of—say, 2,000 lbs., in an ordinary city aerial truck must be considered a great achievement; yet this has practically been accomplished. Considerable discussion as to the proportion of trucks to engines to be employed has from time to time taken place, and it is conceded that one to every four or five, depending entirely on the other equipment and size of the department, is sufficient. I he trussed ladder combines strength and lightness—the two great essentials in its construction. In the accompanying illustration a section of the ladder used bv the American LaFrancc Fire Engine company is shown. By this a clear conception of its rigidity is given as well as of the absolute safety afforded by the bolting at the rungs. It was after years of experimenting that this ladder was perfected, and it is used in all the trucks manufactured by the company, from tinaerial to the city and village size. Only a few years ago this ladder was placed on the market, and very soon its merits became known, so much so that it is now generally recognised for design, material employed in its construction and careful workmanship as fulfilling all the requirements for such an important part in the truck.

SECTION OF LADDER AMERICAN LA FRANCE AERIAL TRUCK.
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A MODERN HOOK AND LADDER TRUCK.

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A MODERN HOOK AND LADDER TRUCK.

The illustration beiow is that of a Gleason and Bailey aerial hook and ladder truck. It is the result of long experimenting to produce an apparatus that will prove of the greatest service to fire departments under all conditions in which it may be placed. In such an apparatus, rigidity, easy method of handling, quickness in elevating and turning, and, as far as compatible with safety, lightness, are requisite. All of these qualifications are claimed for the Gleason and Bailey truck. It was recently furnished to the New York fire department and is now in commission in the Mercer street house, station No. 20. 1 his is the largest ladder in use in any department, and can be extended to eighty-nine feel.

Its frame is steel of the finest tempered material; the wheels of the well-known Warner make, and its axles are of the best and strongest compositions. The process of elevating is by lever operated by two phosphor bronze cables worked by four men. As the ladder ascends, steel supports work automatically into position, thus bracing and giving the ladder greater strength and rigidity. As it is raised, the strain becomes lighter as the weight is thrown off the cables and the ladder balances itself. The patent tillerman’s seat can be changed at once without removing it, an improvement which further effects a great saving in time. This seat is tilted and passes through the rounds of the ladder, so that it is practically removed at once and the work of extension not delayed an instant. The cables revolve on a velocity-increasing cradle, and, as they are made of phosphor bronze, they cannot be affected by ice, snow, or other impediments. as they cut away obstruction to their operation. Two winches are used to elevate the ladders while at the same time two others can be operated to extend it. The cables work on the centre pivots of the truck,so that.once a momentum is established, the strain of elevating becomes gradually less until the ladder attains its upright position. The turning table is perfectly free at all times, as the driver’s seat is simply laid over instead of having to be removed from its position. Tire appliances used enable the ladder to be laid off in any direction and at any angle without tilting. Two men only are necessary to extend it and the actual time of doing so is only twenty-seven seconds after it is once started. The combination platform springs have horizontal rods with an up and down movement which prevent swaying and wearing on the parts affected.

1 he life-saving cage can be attached and raised along the ladder to any point, thus proving a very valuable and safe means of taking bodies down with ease and safety. ‘The principal features of the truck referred to above are shown in the illustration hearwith. A full equipment of appliances are carried, including extension and scaling ladders, life belts, jumping nets, hose, and hose reel, with complement of hose for fireboats or water tower, door openers, life-line gun, cellar pipes; in fact, all modern supplies for effective fire fighting purposes.

MODERN HOOK AND LADDER TRUCK.

The truck when fully equipped is as light as any other made, as it weighs one hundred pounds to each foot of extension. It is elaborately painted and finished and presents a very handsome appearance. Four men are sufficient to operate the largest size truck, and a tillerinan and driver only are necessary to take it to a fire. The truck has a threehorse hitch, and uses patent hanging device with steel hameless collars. It combines many new features not contained in other patterns, as they are covered by patents. The junior aerial truck made by the Gleason and Bailey Manufacturing Company weighs only 4,500 pounds and it can be extended in nine and one-half seconds by two men without removing the horses.

The G. A. R.’s rooms in Hale’s block, New Britain,Conn., damaged $3,000 worth by fire and water; insurance partial.