A New Auxiliary Fire Alarm.
A valued correspondent in Rochester, N. Y., writes the following description of a new local invention: An auxiliary fire alarm system, which will enable a still alarm to be turned into such engine houses only as may be desired, and which will distinguish between trouble on a line in a building, and an actual service alarm; which will indicate the exact location of a fire and which is to be automatic and certain in its action, has long been a desideratum with hre underwriters and propertyowners as well as fire department officials. Many attempts have been made to solve the problem, but it has remained for a Rochester electrician, W. L. Denio, to invent a practical apparatus which meets all tire desired conditions.
The basis of the system is a central station, equipped with an electrical apparatus which is wonderfully simple, considering its functions. To this station all of the different circuits centre by means of metallic circuits. As many different circuits can be run from this station as is desirable, and they may be of any desired length, and be equipped with any number of tire stations. To illustrate the practical workings of this ingenious apparatus: In case a building is to be connected into a circuit, a box will be placed in the office, or at any convenient point on the outside of the building. From this box a wire is carried through the building to such points as maybe desired. On this supplementary line, as it may be called, at various points, manual alarm boxes are placed. These boxes are provided with a chain extendii g below the box. This chain is enclosed in a glass tube. To send in an alarm from one of the manual boxes on this auxiliary line, all that is necessary is to tap the glass and break it and pull the chain. Pulling the auxiliary box trips the box on the main circuit and sends in an alarm to the central station, to the chief’s headquarters and to such fire houses as may have been connected with that particular circuit. At the same time the particular building or station is indicated on a tape in the chiefs headquarters, the fire house and the central station. The officials interested can therefore proceed directly to the desired point without delay. As soon as the alarm has been turned on as described, the whole force of the battery at the central station is utilized in sounding the gong at the building from which the alarm emanates. Twenty seconds after the alarm is first turned in the service box has resumed its normal condition with the auxiliary line in the building cut out, and the circuit is ready for another alarm from any other point.
In addition to the manual alarm boxes, sensitive thermostats are placed at different points along the auxiliary line in the building. In case one of these thermostats is fused, the construction is such that after tire service box has been tripped, the thermostat closes the circuit on the auxiliary line immediately. In other words, an alarm can only be sent in from the building by pulling one of the manual alarm boxes or by one of the thermostats being fused. At the same time the construction of the service box is such that, in case the auxiliary wire in the building is cut or broken, while no alarm (not even the single stroke which is provocative of so much trouble) will be turned into the fire houses, or be sounded on the building gong, a modified alarm will instantly reach the central station, giving notice that there is trouble on the auxiliary line of a certain service box, and a lineman will be at once sent to rectify it.
It would seem to be almost unnecessary to enlarge on the advantages of such an auxiliary fire alarm system, the value of which will be at once apparent to all who are familiar in the least with the subject ot modern fire alarm systems, yet there are many points of interest. In the first place it provides a perfect system of prompt still alarms, thus precluding the necessity of summoning the entire department unless necessary and securing it at the critical point in a fire. As the chief’s headquarters is connected with all the circuits, that official is at once apprised of the exact location of the fire, and, of course, on his arrival, will use his discretion in the matterof summoning additional assistance. It must be understood that, in cities the system acts as an auxiliary to the fire department system, or may constitute that system alone, if desired.
Its simplicity and cheapness of installation makes the system extremely desirable in towns and villages. In such cases the central office would naturally be in one of the fire houses, if there be more than one, and all the service boxes would be connected into one circuit.
The officers of the company arc: President, Charles H. Blakesley; vice-president, George H. Benton; secretaiy and treasurer, C. C. Hicks.
SKWAGE Distillation.—The methods at present employed for disposing of sew age are divided by G. C. Moore into three classes : Lime processes, in which the purification of the liquid is all that is sought, the sludge being worthless ; processes in which lime is not used, the best known being that of precipitation by a mixture of clay, alum and charcoal with a little blood, whereby a sludge of some little value is obtained ; and irrigation which is objectionable on practical and sanitary grounds. As an improvement, Mr. Moore has proposed distilling the sludge cake for ammonia, using the residue as fuel for the succeeding charge. He has succeeded in keeping up the fire in the furnace with this fuel alone. A slight blast is sufficient to effect the distillation, giving eighty percent of the theoretical yield of ammonia, and in such a hre the fuel cake is reduced to a fine ash, which becomes clinker under a greater blast.
LAND AND Water.—John Murray, the eminent oceanographer, estimates the area of dryland to be 55,oqo,ooosquare miles, and that of the ocean 137,000,000 square miles. lie places the volume of dry land above the level of the sea at 23,450,000 cubic miles, and that of the waters of the ocean at 323,000,000 ; the mean height of the land above the sea at 2250 feet, and the mean depth of the whole ocean at 12.480 feet. He finds that the world’s rivers carry into the ocean every year 2.5 cubic miles of sediment, and 1.183 cubic miles of dissolved matter.
EXTENT OK NORTHERN Glaciers.—The best known glaciers, remarked W. B. Dunning, are in Switzerland, where some 400, varying in length from five to fourteen miles, are si altered through the Alpine valleys. Their w idth varies from half a mile to one mile, and their greatest thickness is estimated at about 1000 feet. But these are insignificant when compared with some Greenland or Alaska glaciers. Muir glacier, for instance, occupies a track some thirty or forty miles wide, from which nine main streams and seventeen branches unite to fdfrn a grand trunk, that pushes a mighty wall of solid ice, 5000 feet wide and 700 feet deep, into Glacier Bay. The great Humboldt far outstrips this, being fully 115 miles wide and some 2000 feet thick. Nordenskjold, who penetrated 123 miles inland, was unable to find its end. In all probability, it is an arm of one gigantic field of ice, capping the interior of Greenland, and moving gradually and ceaselessly toward the sea.
The enthusiastic Chairman of the Water Board invites friends to witness the new water-works system as demonstrated by him, and some of them see it.