AN AUTOMATIC SPRINKLER.
An interesting test of a recently invented fire-extinguisher, Parmelee’s Automatic Sprinkler, was given last week in Chicago. A one-story frame structure, thirty by twenty feet, had been constructed and furnished with the apparatus. The inventor of the sprinkler, Henry S. Parmelee, arrived from New York just in time to witness the experiment—the arrangements for which had been made by his agent. At half-past 3 a large pile of kindling-wood and shavings which had been placed on the floor was lighted, and in a moment the interior was enveloped in flames. In one minute and thirty-five seconds the first sprinkler was set off by the heat, and was quickly followed by two more, the flames soon yielding to their plentiful showers. As soon as the water was turned off and the building had cleared of smoke the spectators entered and found that the pile of kindling was not more than half consumed, ar il the ceiling simply blackened, so prompt and thorough had been (he work of the extinguisher.
The arrangement commences with an attachment to the water-main, connecting with a series of pipes running through a building suspended at the ceilings. At every ten feet the pipe has a five-foot branch running at right angles, at the end of whiclt is placed the spunkier in a i elbow poin ing towards the ceiling, precisely as a gas-burner is attached to a fixture. Th * sprinkler, which occupies a space of perhaps one and a half by two inches, is made of brass, and has a revolving head with four slots, from which the water flies in a shower, saturating everything for a radius of seven or eight feet. As the sprinklers are only ten feet apart a fire cannot start at a point outside of their radius. As soon as a fire occurs in a room thus protected, the heated air rises to the ceiling until a temperature of 155 degrees is reached—this degree of heat being sufficient to melt the solder which fastens the cap, and the latter is thrown off by the force of the water. The sprinkler is then free to w’ork, throwing the water to the heated ceiling, from which it falls on the fire below. As a room twenty by thirty feet is ordinarily furnished by half a dozen sprinklers it will be seen that the amount of water thrown is considerable. Under a pressure of ten pounds a sprinkler discharges ninety-three pounds of water per minute, under a pressure of twenty pounds 133 pounds, and so on. It will be seen that the amount of heat required to open one of the sprinklers is not an extraordinary temperature, being fifty-seven degrees below the boiling point. A great advantage is the fact that instead of flooding an entire establishment, the sprinkler confines its operations to the room where the fire is raging.