BUREAU OF ELECTRICITY, PITTSBURGH.
Supt. Mead, of the bureau of electricity, Pittsburgh, Pa., reports the past year as one of the most important years in the whole history of the bureau. The headquarters has been changed from the old city hall to the new building of the department of public safety. The fire alarm and police telegraph systems (Gamewell) have been succesfully removed to, and reconstructed in their new resting place, and connected up for practical uses in all the circuits with the storage battery— the old gravity batteries having been discontinued. The special switch-board for controling the storage batteries cosists of three ten-ciicuit boards, or thirty circuits altogether, of which twenty-two are used on box circuits and the remainder for striking battery, office, local, and police telegraph circuits. This is by far the largest storage battery outfit possessed by any city in the country for city work. The batteries are charged from dynamos in the cellar cf the department building at no volts pressure, and after nine months’ service have been found to operate perfectly and at far less expense than the gravity would have been. The moving of these offices for several squares from their former locations, including the making of thousands of connections, the changing of the battery power from the gravity to the storage, the final connecting of the underground system and the removing of the overhead wires was all accomplished without missing a single call of either fire alarm or police telegrrph. It is believed that such a de’icate and responsible piece of work, and so much of it at oae time was never before attempted or carried out in any city in the country. During the past year all fire and police boxes in the business part of the city were successfully connected with the underground cables, and twenty-two new fire alarm boxes were added in that district. Five hundred and seven regular alarms of fire were received and distributed during the year, of which twenty-seven were second and third alarms and special cables. The office also sent out eighty-six still alarms—all these independently of 226 still alarms, to which the fire alarm responded, sent directly to the engine houses. The telegraph poles have been largely removed from the business part of the city, and all the companies made every effort to plant their wires underground—the result being a great clearing up and general improvement of the main thoroughfares. All the numbers of the fire boxes were also changed, so as to bring each ten numbers in the same adjoining district, so that, if a mistake ol one or two blows is made either by accident or misreading, the apparatus would still arrive approximately close, and could reach the fire. Direct acting tappers have been placed in all main lines in the office—thus giving all alarms directly in the main office, if the local should be out of order. During the year about thirty miles of overhead wire were added to the system. The auxiliary fire alarm telegraph system has been thoroughly tesied and its value incontestably proved. More wires will be buried throughout the city,which will only have to purchase ar.d draw the cables through the conduits of the Telephone Company, which have been so arranged as to afford the necessary room for that purpose.