Blunders of Fireproofing.
The chief cause of the blunders of modern fireproofism lies in the fact that its authors in their period of incubation confined their view of the subject to the scope of the mind’s eye of the architect solely, instead of embracing that of the fireman and others incident to fire and its work.
It requires a heterogeneos-mind to evolve a successful fireproof system—a mind composed of a fair portion architect, a large amount fireman, a decided dose of chemist, a goodly share of sensible underwriter, and a modicum of fire editor.
Theory should be tightly bottled and laid up on the top shelf, care being taken to have the death’s head label in full view.
Then the power to send for persons and papers should be freely used, and out of such a combine it is reasonably sure that a decided improved system of fireproofing would be the result. Withal, the ready elimination of many present asanine features.
The slow-burning type is a monster that would have been instantly rejected as abhorrent by the practical mind of the fireman.
The conception of such a system of fireproofing is only the spawn of malformation, the unnatural issue of joint brother and sister theory, possessing not a single virtue or redeeming feature, and dubbed slow-burning in a burst of comical satire. Such a type is not even entitled to the bar-bastard in the heraldry of fireproofism.
The puzzling part is that our underwriters should have been brought to recognize its purulent claims of legitimacy, and have blotted their fair books by its eutry thereon.
Perplexing also is the fact that owners could have been seized with the noxious fever, and in its delirium pour their gold into its devouring crucible.
A claim by Punch and Judy to the throne of the Guelphs would be in fellow touch with the claim of this slow-burning system to the merits of fireproofism.
Chief Foley is right. Law should be evoked to prohibit the erection of these menaces within the confines of all corporate limits.
The burning of vast forests of giant trees teach us that wood will burn in bulk, as it also will in strips.
An architect may focus his ideas so that he will conceive and design a type of structure wherein bulky beams, giant girders, abnormal floors and sturdy columns will retard and perchance resist the spread of some ideal fire, created within tender confines of the architectural brain, simply to be thus successfully resisted. But. alas ! the every day fire, with its attendant ugly mood, its vicious spirit, its relentless fury, its dogged obstinacy and. above all, its perplexing success, is indeed another kind of beast altogether to deal with, instead of this mild-manered, cultured and obedient fire of the architects gentle imagination.
1 would have it understood that I have a profound respect for the profession of the architect, and am not aiming to impute anything but what is noble and elevating in his efforts and inspirations in the pursuit of his grand art withal the mother of all arts.
But I sincerely believe that his grasp or scope of the true question of fireproofing buildings has been erroneous, in fact has been a blunder.
I am free to confess that with an active practice of a quarter of a century as an architect myself, such are my convictions and views, and I am free to say I am forced to these conclusions by having to stand passively by and see my own fireproof efforts go mockingly up in flame and smoke.
The evidence I have been so fortunate to secure from our great fire masters, and which have appeared in these columns, all goes positively to prove that our system of fireproofing is a blunder.