AMONG THE FIRE SUPPLY MANUFACTURERS
GUM-TREATED FIRE HOSE.
A handsome book just issued by the Fabric Fire Hose company gives an interesting description of the process of making wax, Para gum-treated hose. The introductory remarks state with accuracy that there is nothing more essential to a well equipped fire department than a thoroughly reliable hose. The bursting of a single section of fire hose frequently means the destruction of thousands of dollars’ worth of property and oftentimes the loss of human life. A quarter of a century ago, cotton hose was in its infancy, rubber hose in its prime and leather hose in its dotage. It was at this period in hose manufacture that James E. Gillespie, founder of the Fabric Fire Hose company, after years of experience in the construction of hose, developed his new loom for weaving the much coveted circular woven, cable-twilled fire hose fabric. It is well known that a twilled cloth wears better than any other, so that the importance of this invention can be readily appreciated. By this improvement in fire hose compactness, pliability, increased strength and durability were secured. The inventor realised that the work of the fireman was made arduous by the twisting or kinking of the fire hose in service. To overcome this was a hard problem, but Mr. Gillespie succeeded in devising a loom in which the shuttles virtually run in an opposite direction at the same time; thus, in a ply-hose, and independently in the jacket-hose, the filler strands and the twill run right and left alternately, each reducing the tendency of the other to twist or kink. This process is termed balance weaving. The advantage of a cable-twilled balanced hose was quickly appreciated and marked a new era in fire hose construction, as evidenced by the increased confidence in rubber-lined, cotton hose over the old style rubber and leather. One great objection urged against all cotton hose, was its liability to absorb moisture necessitating the construction of drying towers, at an expense that many towns did not care to incur. To construct a fabric hose that would not absorb moisture was then undertaken and the present wax and Para gum-treated hose was the result. The process of manufacturing this hose is by running each thread of cotton through a mixture of melted wax and gum. These several fibres are collected into strands, thoroughly twisted and cabled, becoming practically a collection of waxed ends, the same as used by a shoemaker or harness maker. These cables are then circularly woven into the fabric in one. two, three and four independent plies, or double and triple jackets and lined with the highest grade of Para gum, producing what is termed wax and gum-treated rubber-lined cotton fire hose. The only care necessary with wax and gum-treated hose is to dry it off, and it is ready to be placed on the reel. The illustration accompanying this article shows the fine factory of the company at Sandy Hook, Conn. A list of cities and towns using this hose is given in the book; it occupies many pages. Testimonials from chief engineers stating its merits are also given, and very strong indorsements of its claims they prove to be. The illustrations of the process of making the wax and gum-treated hose make the subject very interesting. The book, which is rightly entitled “Fire Engineers’ Handbook,” will be found very useful to everyone interested in the fire service. Besides other useful subjects treated of, are many tables as follows: “Capacities of tanks”; “Work done by and power required for fire streams”; “Friction in hose”; “Pressure of water”; and many other important subjects. The illustrated chapters on “First aid to the injured” alone make the book of great value in fire departments. A copy may be procured by addressing Fabric Fire Hose Company. 68 Murray street. New York.