Christopher Clarke was born in Northampton, Mass., on January 4, 1827. He attended the schools of his native town until he was fourteen years of age, when he began his business education in a large department store in Northampton, where he was employed until be was nineteen. At the age of twenty he began business for himself in the same store in which he had been employed, and continued in mercantile pursuits for over forty years.

Mr Clarke has always been one of the leading active business men of his city and State, and interested in political and educational matters, aiding very, largely in the establishment of the Clarke library in Northampton—one of the earliest and largest free public libraries of tlie State—which was endowed by his uncle John Clarke.

Mr. Clarke came upon the stage when all the fire departments of t he State and country were volunteer, and early in life joined the Northampton fire department in which he became a leading officer, and, of course,learned how to fight fire—this town bavingbad more incendiary fires than any other in the State. It was through this practical experience and life-longinterest in fire department matters that he has become one of the leading authorities in all fire protection methods, both in apparatus and in building systems. From this practical knowledge he has developed a new system of compartment construction of new building, and reconstructing old buildings, which, if adopted and enforced by general laws, will without any question reduce the losses by many million dollars annually. All experts who have studied his system of protection have fully indorsed it. This system prevents the spread of flames from one story to another, and gives the occupants of the building a certain and safe means of instant escape from the building. It also saves an enormous sum in the amount now lost by damage from water—one of the greatest sources of loss to the insurance companies, which is often far greater than the damage by fire.

An interesting paper on compartment buildings, which was read by Mr. Clarke before the recent convention of the Massachusetts State Firemen’s association, appears in this number of FIRE AND WATER.

U Allegheny, Pa., numerous complaints are made of the quality of water from the old reservoir, which was built fifty years ago, uud a new basin is said to be necessary. Swans Hill is said to be favorably considered as a location by the city officials.

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