Burning Garbage by Petroleum Air Blast.

Burning Garbage by Petroleum Air Blast.

The sanitary needs of cities and towns render it imperative to dispose of the great accumulations of garbage expeditiously, and in such a manner as to insure that no harmful consequences may follow. For this purpose, no practical plan has been devised that may compare, when properly carried out, with that of consuming it by fire ; and, in a number of localities this mode of treatment has been, and is at present practiced. While, however, all are agreed that burning is the only rational and safe method of effecting the disposal of this species of refuse, there is much to be said upon the question of selecting the form of apparatus that shall be employed in this service.

In the burning of garbage, serious difficulty is experienced from the fact that the damp and heavy material, if thrown directly upon the fire, tends to choke it so that it is troublesome to get a sufficiently strong draft to maintain a coal fire. In burning, too, the gases thrown off from the garbage, only partially consumed, ordinarily escape through the chimney, and, unless this is made very high, may pollute the surrounding air so seriously that the garbage furnace may become a nuisance to the neighborhood. To remedy this difficulty, experiments have been made by placing the fire on top of the garbage and creating, by artificial means, a downward draft; but a thoroughly successful garbage furnace operating by this method has yet to be established. To avoid all these difficulties, and to obtain complete and rapid combustion of all that is combustible in garbage, the Aërated Fuel Company of Springfield, Mass., has designed a furnace for burning garbage by means of its petroleum air-blast fires. This furnace is shown in the accompanying engraving. The arrangement of the oil-storage tank, and of the air compressor which supplies the requisite amount of air (namely, about fifteen to twenty pounds to the square inch) to force the petroleum into the fire, and to furnish sufficient oxygen for its complete combustion, is the same as in other applications of this system.


When applied to burning garbage, the furnace or receptacle for the garbage is placed below the level of the ground, or the floor of the building used for this purpose. In this floor are arranged movable caps covering the dump holes for the garbage, the garbage being dumped into the furnace below. There are placed at regular intervals on each side of the outside wall of the furnace a number of the burners used in this system, the number depending, of course, upon the size of the furnace.*

* In the illustration given herewith the draughtsman has omitted to show burners on both sides, as there should be.

The jet of oil from the mouth of these burners is thrown from cone-shaped openings in the walls of the furnace on each side, against the pile of garbage dumped inside. These burners operate much on the principle of the Bunsen blast-lamp, and give out an intense heat, when the air pressure is maintained at a sufficiently high point, against the pile of garbage within, burning and consuming all the combustible parts of it. The chimney or vent pipe for this furnace is arranged at one end, so that the gases passing off from the burning garbage are themselves burned by the intense heat of the oil fire thrown upon them by the burners next to the vent pipe, and entirely consumed, nothing passing out of the pipe except the heated products of combustion in gaseous form ; the combustion by the Aërated Fuel Company’s system being so complete as to yield neither smoke nor soot. Another method of arrangement is to conduct the gases into a separate chamber to be consumed by another jet of heat, as is done in garbage furnaces operated by natural gas.

Along the sides of the furnace at regular intervals are placed movable doors, so that the pile of garbage within can be raked over and more fully exposed to the cutting action of the flames as often as may be necessary. Grate bars, like those for an ordinary coal fire, are placed in the furnace for the garbage to rest upon, and below these bars, at a distance of about two feet, is a concrete floor which extends the whole length of the bars and communicates with the chimney at the end of the furnace.

The arrangement of this garbage furnace is not unlike the “ bee hive” refuse-destructor at Bombay, India, and is similar in principle to the garbage furnace built at Glasgow, Scotland, at Birmingham and in other places in Great Britain. But the advantage claimed of burning garbage with the petroleum air-blast in the manner here described, is that the fire cannot by any possibility become choked up, no matter how much garbage is thrown into the furnace, because the fire starts outside of the walls of the furnace, the mouth of the burners being placed about one and a half inches from the smaller orifice of the cone-shaped opening by which the fire is thrown against the garbage ; nor is any high chimney needed to create a strong draft, as the draft is supplied to the mouth of each burner by the compressor.

The flame thrown from these burners has a very decided cutting effect when allowed to strike directly at full blast against any substance, and will force a hole through a firebrick, even, in a comparatively short time, so that it is evident that no pile of garbage could resist the flame.

The waste heat and gases given off in the operation of garbage-burning may be utilized for producing heat to burn fresh garbage or for generating steam to run an electric light plant to light the town, or for other useful purposes. When the Aërated Fuel Company’s system is used the waste heat may be employed to generate the steam necessary to run the air compressor which sprays the oil into the fires. The representative of the Aërated Fuel Company in New York city is W. S. Collins, No. 171 Broadway.

UNDERGROUND WIRES IN PA is.—A prominent Philadel phian, just returned from a four months’ trip abroad, says of the Paris underground wire system :

“Not a wire of any kind is to be seen overhead in Paris. The telephone, telegraph and electric light wires are all under ground, and it is generally conceded that no better service in these branches of municipal convenience is to be found anywhere. It is hard for a Philadelphian to understand what a city without telegraph poles and the net-work of wires overhead looks like. When he does see the streets abroad, clear and unobstructed, like those of Paris, he can best appreciate the advantages of removing the poles and burying the wires. It is this public spirit that so materially lends to the grandeur and magnificence of the great foreign cities.

“The argument that wires cannot be put underground in Philadelphia does not, in view of the wonderful progress that has been made in that direction abroad, seem to be tenable.

“ They were putting two new systems of electric light wires under ground while I was in Paris, and one of them was the Edison. They do not open the streets to lay the conduit<sup>5</sup> there, but put them under the sidewalk about 2′ from the curb. The only use they make of the streets for this purpose is to run the wires out from the sidewalks to the lamps in the middle of the broad thoroughfares, and, in doing this, they take up and relay the wooden blocks with perfect ease.”

BATH, N. Y.—“ This city,” says our correspondent, “ was incorporated in 1826, and has a population of 3500. The following is a list of its officers : President, Henry W. Bows ; city clerk, Clarence Willis ; treasurer, N. A. Dutcher ; superintendent of water-works, L. B. Cross; superintendent of street lighting, Thomas Ford ; chief of police, John W. Lindsay ; chief of fire department, William E. Howell ; health officer, Thomas H. Pawling. The total city debt is $30,000, and the annual expenditures $9000. The water-works system is owned by a company, which has seventy-one hydrants set and six and one-half miles of pipe laid. There is no sewerage system yet. Seven per cent is paid on bonds.”

—The city council of South Bend, Ind., has agreed upon a route for the proposed West End trunk sewer. The city engineer will prepare specifications, and, as early as possible, all preliminary arrangements will be made and contracts let, so that work may begin in the spring.

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