CINEMATOGRAPH DANGERS.

CINEMATOGRAPH DANGERS.

Although the cinematograph and the kinetoscopc are now established sources, of popular entertainment in the way of reproducing moving scenes, yet, judging from the frequent recurrence of explosions and fires arising from their use, especially in those penny arcades and other cheap shows, the dangers accompanying their use are hardly sufficiently realised. And when it is said that, in the box which accompanies such exhibitions, is stowed away a row of films which arc run by an electric motor past an incandescent lamp, and that this involves both an electrical and a celluloid hazard, it will be seen that the risks taken by some reckless showmen are very great. To insure safety, all such apparatus should be inspected and approved by some special department before any exhibition is allowed. The films should be wound upon a metal reel inclosed in an iron box, with a slot in the bottom large enough only to admit of the film passing through the metal rollers of the projecting mechanism. These rollers should fit tightly to the film, so as to smother out auv flames starting on the outside of the cases. This iron box or maeazine should be securely made of heavy material put together without solder, and the door should be a snug fit and provided with a springcatch. A similar box to this should be provided beneath the projecting apparatus to receive the film, after it has been through the machine. Sometimes this box is used without a reel; but a reel, with a take-up device, is decidedly the preferable arrangement. The film, in passing from the upper magazine to the machine and from the machine to the lower magazine, should be protected through its course bv a metal tube large enough to give a good clearance. The machine itself should rest upon an incombustible stand and secure supports. Tbe operating crank for the film should be securely fastened to the shaft on the machine, so that there will be no possibility of its coming off, and thus prevent keeping the film in constant motion. A shutter should always be in front of the condenser, arranged to be easily closed, when it is necessary to shut off the light rays. The arc lamp should be inclosed in an iron box set on the incombustible stand, with the projecting apparatus, and be so arranged as to catch all sparks and hot carbon. The rays from the arc are extremely hot and frequently cause the water in the condenser to boil: When this occurs, a piece of coke attached to a wire may be inserted to promote regular evaporation. The rheostat should be set according to National Board rules and be covered with a fine wire netting to prevent anything from coming in contact with it, and the wiring, switches, etc., connected with the apparatus should be carefully installed and properly insulated, special care being given to any flexible connections which may be necessary. Safetyfuses should be provided, in case the current may become too strong. The connections, carbons, etc., should be examined each time before the apparatus is put into operation, and the power should be limited to no volts. The voltage (or pressure) required for operating is from forty-seven to forty-nine volts, and a 25-ampere rheostat. A direct current’ is always preferred. The entire apparatus should be located, so that it will not be interfered with by chairs of people in the audience, and it should all be inclosed by a secure rail, with sufficient space for the operator to have free action between the apparatus and the rail. A fire extinguisher should be close at hand, and a blanket made of asbestos or other incombustible material would be a valuable protection. Even though the apparatus is properly made and installedalong the lines enumerated above, it is not “foolproof,” and there is much danger of fire, with an incompetent or careless operator. Films made of celluloid are naturally very inflammable, and an enormous quantity is used in these machines, some of them being as long as 8,000 ft. If the rays of light, which are extremely hot, rest too long at any one point of the film a fire is sure to occur, which shows the necessity of the shutter referred to, and secure crank as well as careful attention. If anything happens to the mechanism, it is imperative that the light should be shut off at once, and a careless operator usually leaves the fireproof magazines open or does not take proper care of the reels with the films on them. Machines are frequently found in operation without any fireproof magazines, with the celluloid films on an inclosed reel at the top of the machine, and. perhaps, a canvas bag, or, sometimes, nothing at the bottom of the machine to collect this highly inflammable material—a selfevident dangerous arrangement.

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