Chief Hamilton of Lawrence Reports on Fire Alarm Systems.
A new fire alarm system is being installed at Lawrence, Mass., following an investigation of systems in other cities by several city officials including Chief Hamilton, of the fire department. The latter presents a formal report of the findings of the investigators and largely as a result of this report the new system is being installed. Chief Hamilton in his report says:
“On June 26th, his honor, the mayor, the city marshal and myself made a trip to Boston to the office of the Gamewell company. We made our wants known that we desired to equip our fire station with the latest and most up-to-date apparatus to meet the demands of our growing city. We were advised by the Gamewell company to visit the cities of Lynn, Portland and Brockton where they had installed the lastest and up-to-date system that would meet with our requirements.
“We visited the city of Lynn and met the superintendent of the fire alarm, Frank Moody; also the chief of the fire department, Mr. Harris. We were shown through the central fire station and were pleased with what we saw. They have a twelve-box circuit system working; a large operating board, a charging board and a protective board not only large enough to take care of immediate wants, but probably for the next ten or twelve years. They have the quick and slow time, which is one important feature that impressed us most forcibly, The station is automatic as well as manual in its operation. The working of the system gives the best of satisfaction and the superintendent says he has not had any trouble whatever and it is always reliable, and advised me that if we were going to change from our present system to follow in the lines of what Lynn has already done. We were very much pleased with the apparatus, having seen a box pulled on the street and transmitted over the repeater to engine houses and the fast and slow time automatically. Both the chief and the superintendent of fire alarm spoke in the highest terms of this installation and the fair way the Gamewell people had treated them, being always ready to respond at a moment’s notice in case there was any trouble whatever.
“We next visited the factory of the Gamewell company, at Newton Upper Falls, and made a most thorough inspection of the plant, from making of fire alarm boxes through to the finest piece of mechanism made by this company. It was a pleasure for us to go through such a plant, as everything is kept up to the highest degree of perfection, and the art of fire alarm telegraphy is certainly demonstrated at their works. Upon inquiry we find they have employed about four hundred men all the year around, and that they build 95 per cent, of fire alarm systems installed in the world; also that they have never put out a system that has not proved satisfactory, during the time they have been in business. We cannot say too much about the care taken in the manufacture of every piece of apparatus put out by this company.
“On June 82nd the city marshal and myself made ia. Jr ip to New York, Albany and Troy. We have beep ,asked to visit the Star system at Albany, and thought we would make an inspection of both systems in that section of the country. While, in New York we called upon the Gamewell company and had the gjeasure of meeting their, general manager and making a thorough inspection qf their exhibit apparatus. While our time was limited Jici’g, we noticed that they received telegrams announcing that .they had received contracts for fire alarm svstem in Charlestown, N. C., the Public Printing building in Washington, D. C., and for the Isthmian Canal company, at Panama, in all cases the Gamewell company bid being the highest. We think this a question of importance to consider as the United States Government has nothing but the best and quality is what they consider.
“From New York we made a trip to Newark where we saw the finest central fire alarm station in the world—a Gamewell system. ‘It certainly was up-to-date in every particular, nothing being left out of the construction that would tend to quicken the alarm and be reliable in everyway. We had here the pleasure of meeting one of the oldest superintendents in the fire alarm business; also a Mr, Readc, of New York, who has installed more fire alarm central stations than any other man in this country. It is beyond my ability to describe in detail the workings of this station, but it was certainly superb, and as I have said, there is nothing left out. The system has forty circuits, only twelve of which are used at the present time. There are many features in this system that I would like to have installed in our station, but I am afraid the expense would be too high for us at present, but I believe our system should be so arranged that these valuable features can be added at a future time.
“We next visited Albany where we found installed in the city hall apparatus of another make. The station is nicely arranged. The superintendent of the fire alarm, Mr. Gillispie, took a great deal of pains to explain to us the workings of the apparatus. We imagined from our conversation with him that the station is quite exactly to his liking, being in many respects like the apparatus that we had lately seen and according to his own specifications. There is no question but Mr. Gillispie is master of the situation, and because of his great knowledge of electricity the station is properly manned. To me this station looked somewhat complicated and would take quite an expert to handle it. The fast and slow machine is not operated automatically, the same having to be set up before signal can be sent out. This is quite an important feature and that I think is most essential for the Lawrence department to have an automatic fast and slow machine. This particular feature I should insist upon if a system is installed. I cannot say that the workmanship is as good as seen at other stations. It lacked finish, and mechanical part not as well made. I understand that this Albany system is the only one of its kind the concern manufacturing it has yet installed.
“We next visited Troy where we met the superintendent of fire alarm and chief of the fire department. We were shown around the station and the chief cannot say too much in favor of Gamewell apparatus. They have the Gamewell installed in this city, and it has always given the best of satisfaction.”