A New Sort of Fire Fighter.
Frank Hughes has recently been showing a working model of a new apparatus for fighting fire that is pronounced by those who have seen it to be one of the most effective machines ever invented for this purpose. This machine is three fold, in that it serves as a water tower, hose truck and life saving apparatus. The mechanism is very simple.
It is a machine composed of five sections, each twelve feet high, working together on the principle of a telescope by a series of chains and pulleys. When standing in the house its dimensions are: Length, 20 feet ; width, 8⅛ feet; height, 13 ⅛ feet. Its weight, including a crew of eight men, is less than five tons, or about the same as that of an ordinary fire engine. In connection with the tower proper are two series of extension ladders, which can be sent up with the tower to the level of its top section. The tower can be raised by either hand or horse-power ; in the latter case it can be sent up sixty feet in less than a minute.
Upon attaining this elevation, two open panel doors, five feet wide, on each side of each section, swing out automatically, forming four sets of ladders to the fifth section. These ladders are held in position by an interlocking foot, which renders them perfectly rigid. The platform on top of the fifth section is thoroughly insulated with rubber, so that the firemen may handle and cut wires with impunity. A flexible bridge is thrown out from this platform, supported at the farther end by the extension ladder. This bridge works entirely independent of the walls of the burning building.
As the tower rises it carries seven lines of hose, two to the top platform and four to the fifth section, the hose attached to the extension ladder being for chemical use only. The tower is also provided with an endless rope running from the top to the bottom, to which extra lines can be attached. By means of a cable passing over a pulley at the top of the extension ladder, and connected with a windlass at the bottom of the tower, persons unable to descend ladders may be lowered to the ground. The apparatus is constructed of ash, and all parts, except the nickel and brass work, are covered with fireproof paint.