John R. Freeman, president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, has reproduced in book form addresses he delivered before the annual meeting of that society in New York city on December 4, 1905. Its title is “On the Safeguarding of Life in Theatres,” and the treatise forms a “study from the standpoint of an engineer.” Its motif was the burning of the Iroquois theatre in Chicago and it shows the following four results of the investigations made after that disaster: (1) The ease and cheapness with which theatres or other places of assembly can be safeguarded; (2) the loss of life, when theatres are burned or the outcome of the rapid spread of flame on a stage covered with scenery, followed at once by an outpouring of smoke through the proscenium arch into the top of the auditorium, before those in the gallerv can escape. The three safeguards laid down are: (1) Providing ample automatic quick-opening smokevents over the stage; (2) thoroughly equiping the stage with automatic sprinklers, which the action of heat will promptly release over the burning scenery, the shower being tenfold heavier than the heaviest thunderstorm; (3) providing especially ample exits and stairways from the gallery. Mr. Freeman concludes (1) that fireproofing scenery is of doubtful value under present conditions of use; (2) socalled fireproof paints are of very small fire-retarding value; (3) the asbestos curtain possesses much less endurance against heat and flame than has been supposed; (5) dry-powder fire-extinguishers and hand-grenades are likely to prove worse ihan useless by promoting waste of valuable time. Mr. Freeman’s treatise is full of matter that should prove especially profitable to fire chiefs, superintendents of building departments, and owners of theatres.
The Guardian is the title of a new monthly fire and police journal published at New Orleans, La. Its typographical appearance is very good, and, as its contents deals with purely local matters and conditions, it will doubtless command fall it can expect) a large local circulation.