Sanitation and Sanitary Engineering: By Wm. Paul Gerhard, C.E. Second Revised and Enlarged Edition of Sanitary Engineering. New York: Published by the Author, 33 Union Square, 1909.
Mr. Gerhard is well known as a consulting engineer for hydraulic and sanitary works, and his reputation as such has been recognised by the American Public Health association, the American Institute of Architects, the American Society of Mechanical Engineering and other kindred organisations of which he is a member. His recently revised and enlarged edition of “Sanitation and Sanitary Engineering,” therefore, comes to the world with the added value of their imprimatur—if, indeed, that were needed. The book is divided into five principal sections, respectively headed: “Sanitary engineering: the profession and its practice”; “The work of the sanitary engineer in time of epidemics and war and in sudden calamities of civic life”: “A half Century of sanitation—1850-1900”: “Sanitation in Greater New York”; “Sanitation in Russia.” In the first section, fifteen out of the sixty pages are devoted to the actual practice of the sanitary engineer, with respect to the water supply of cities and dwellings, the prevention of pollution of water-courses, especially by sewage, on the proper disposal of which last he gives some valuable instructions. He points out, also, that, “in many sewered cities in Europe, particularly in the case of inland towns, sewage-purification systems have long ago been devised and adopted, while in the United States the difficulty is only beginning to he appreciably felt with the increasing pollution of our rivers.” A direct discharge of sewage into a water-course or into lakes or tidal rivers is seldom permissible. Even the castingaway of crude sewage into the sea can only be countenanced under special conditions, as it quite often leads to a defilement of the beaches and tends to create mud-bars and silts up the navigable channels at the entrance of harbors.” The section treating of the work of the sanitary engineer in time of epidemics, etc., should be carefully studied and in large measure adopted during the period when there are no apparent causes of fear—if only on the principle that prevention is better than cure. Historically the section on the progress of sanitation is both interesting and instructive, and shows the rapid increase of publice waterworks systems in the United States from five, in 1800, to 3.196 in 1897—a number which has been very greatly increased during the past eleven years, and is increasing week by week. The era of sanitation began during the second half of the nineteenth century. Incidentally it is noted that in America “water introduced under pressure is used more lavishly than in European cities,” which is partly accounted for by the “generally wasteful habits” indulged in on this side of the Atlantic. Of this sanitary engineering the late Col. Waring is justly held up by the author as the “pioneer.” The whole section may he said to reflect the spirit of Col. Waring, whose principal assistant Mr. Gerhard was for several years. The section on “Sanitation in Greater New York” is also historical, and, by implication at least, shows that there have been many things done by the authorities of the metropolis of the Western world, which ought not to have been done and left undone which ought to have been done—a lesson which might profitably he laid to heart by the municipal authorities of today. The section on sanitation in Russia will cause amazement in the minds even of those who have been students of Tolstoy’s works. The heading should rather have been “The utter lack of all sanitation in Russia,” and the principal feelings the chapter inspires are, first, those of disgust and, second, of wonder that the decimation of the country by disease is not increased a thousandfold yearly. Mr. Gerhard’s hook is one that should do good service to the cause of sanitation on both hemispheres. It is written in plain and familiar style, and, while sufficiently scientific, all technical terms have been avoided as much as possible, so that the wayfaring man who runs may read and understand its teachings.
Crosby-Fiske Handbook of Fire Protection: By Everett U. Crosby and Henry A. Fiske. Fourth Edition. Louisville, Ky.: The Insurance-Field Company, 1909.
The above is a new and enlarged edition of the Crosby-Fiske Handbook of Fire Protection, published some four years^ago. It contains most of the features aud some of the subject matter of previous editions, the greater part of which, however, has been largely rearranged and rewritten. Its scope has thus been broadened out, and everything treated of has been brought completely up to date. In addition, several articles have been written by specialists, with the result that not only have these subjects been ably handled by the experts intrusted with the task, hut the value of the hook as a whole has been considerably enhanced and its reliability been increased. The chapter on “Fireproof Construction”—one of the most important from the stand point of improved risks—has been lucidly and originally handled by John Stephen Sewell, formerly major in the United States Army Engineer Corps, and the special representative of the Federal government on the Baltimore and San Francisco conflagrations. “Public F’ire Departments and High-Pressure Systems” was put into the hands of Grecly S. Curtis, the wellknown expert of New York city, formerly engineer of the tire department of Boston, and latterly fire-department expert for the National Board of Fire Underwriters. “Meters and Private Eire Pipes” formed the theme of the paper by E. V. French, vicepresident and engineer of the Arkwright Mutual Insurance Company, who has made a thorough study of this subject, and is. besides, chairman of the committee of the National Fire Protection association on private fire supplies for public mains.” The Label Service of the Underwriters’ Laboratories is described by William M. Merrill, manager of the laboratories, the work of which is so valuable and so constantly being increased and extended to cover all the more important-devices and materials, thus enabling the property owner to obtain goods which can he relied upon. Every common and special cause of fire is touched upon, as, also, is every type of building, including theatres, department stores, car-houses, garages and the like. Sprinkler systems of all classes are described at length. Water supplies and waterworks systems pumps of every type, including electric fire pumps, meters—with special attention to meterage of fire-service connections. public water supplies for fire service, outside private protection, interior fire-extinguishing apparatus, fire alarm systems, conflagrationhazard and protection. Tables, plans, illustrations in great numbers accompany the articles calling for such helps to the reader. It is not too much to say that this hook of 495 pages forms an up-to-date cyclopaedia of fire protection, and no one who is furnished with it need be at any loss to find out how to erect a fire-resistant building— how to equip it. when built, and how to prevent the beginning of fire and often check it as soon as it has been discovered.