ABOUT FIRE ESCAPES.

ABOUT FIRE ESCAPES.

THERE are at present on the market almost as many nostrums in the shape of fire escapes as there are patented household medicinal remedies. However, the latter are not hurtful; while, with respect to the former, they are not by any means harmless, although they are most decided useless. They are conceived in every possible shape—from a plain rope to a fancy ladder incased in an attractively painted tin box, fastened near the window. Each inventor, of course, exploits his own as the greatest fire escape of the age, and not unfrequently makes a great display at the start; opens grand show rooms; and invites the world to witness the outcome of his marvelous genius. In all good faith, probably with unlimited belief in the possibilities of his invention, he receives his capital from a class of stockholders who are in general extremely credulous and always investors on the lookout for some way of making big money quickly. The result is that in a few months nothing more is heard of the wonderful fire escape or the man who boomed it. But the poor stockholder still lives on to contemplate his useless scrip and to mourn over his vanished dollars. The difficulty in selling portable fire escapes consists in being able to convince the public of their usefulness. What frightened woman, with a blazing furnace at her heels, would ever take time to think of opening a tin box to get a ladder out of a window and then make the effort to descend ? There may be a few such persons, but they are very few indeed, and would hardly be found in a lifetime, did not a fire obligingly manifest them to the world. Yet such is one of the latest inventions for life-saving which has come to our notice. Other so-called fire escapes consist of a rope, which is to be fastened round the waist, and a slipknot, which is supposed to let you down gently from your sixteen-story window to the sidewalk or your backyard. Such a style of escape lies coiled under the window or hangs on the walls,and,as soon as an alarm of fire is given, it has to be opened out by the occupant of the room, who is supposed to have mastered the instructions for harnessing it shipshape round the body. The individual is then asked to trust his mortal frame, and, like Mohammed’s coffin, to dangle between heaven and earth, with every chance of the rope burning or his suspense being ended by his coming into abrupt and violent contact with the sidewalk, through the slipknot failing to act as in duty bound, if the directions which have been followed out are to be relied upon as worthy of credence. But, while the experienced manipulator of these appliances may succeed in operating them successfully, it must be borne in mind that people do not always have time to study, much less to sol ve intricate problems w’hen they are encircled by fire, for which reason the simplest and apparently the safest means of escape will always carry the day. In the matter of portable escapes the rope, with wooden knobs at twelve-inch intervals, is about the best. In this case the rope can be cast out of a window without any delay, and those escaping can lower themselves without injury—always provided they have the nerve to descend the rope hand-over hand. If the necessity arises, the knobs can, of course be used for supports for the feet of those who are making the descent. Such a style of fire escape is easily manipulated, and,in these days of practicability, the simpler the invention, the more demand will there be for it. This is also an automatic metal fire escape that has several very good featurts but is little in demand. Experience has proved that the knobbed rope is the easiest fire escape which up to the present has been offered to the people.

About Fire Escapes.

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About Fire Escapes.

To the Editor of FIRE AND WATER:

Your article in the last issue of FIRE AND WATER is well taken. New York as well as most of the large cities throughout the United States, has without number buildings used for business purposes, such as Edson, Moore & Co., of Detroit; buildings from four to ten stories in height, and I venture to say have not the slightest means of an escape in case of fire, and those having the permanent fixture at one end of the building are not sufficient, as access to them is likely to be cut off at a moment’s notice, and the only means of exit is out of the windows, all the stair cases and inside escapes being nothing more than flues. The proper thing is a safe, reliable, portable, automatic escape placed in each and every window throughout the building above the ground floor, and there would be no excuse for the loss of one single life by fire. The time is not far distant when public opinion will demand it. The portable automatic fire escape must come to the front: For example I would call your attention to the addition to R. II. Macy & Co.’s building, on Thirteenth street, where I venture to say that from 100 to 300 persons could be found at most any time during the day. What chance would they have should a fire occur on the lower floors ? God help them. The way of exit and the only safe way would be from the windows, and yet the above is only one of many in this city, and not only the employees of the establishments, but the customers who are visiting these lofty buildings, are taking the same chance every day in the week, R. I). EVANS.

NEW YORK, Dec. 2, 1893.