City and bicinitn.
NEW YORK CITY.
The New York Department.
THE REPAIR SHOP.
For many years the repairs for the New York Department were conduced in what was known as the Repair Yard, hence the name Repair Yard is now generally used when speaking of the elegant shop owned by the Department in West Third street near Sixth avenue. But a greater error could scarcely he perpetrated, for the present Repair Shop is a fine five story building, 84 feet deep by 50 feet front, built expressly for the business, and most convenienily arranged, but without any yard to it whatever. Although the repairing for the Department is done here, a large quantity of new work is being constantly turned out, so that the term Repair Shop does not convey an accurate idea of the business done in the building. A brief description of the shop will not be out of place, inasmuch it has never been described in print.
As we have said, the building is a commodious brick structure, five stories high with a basement under its entire area. Under the sidewalk is located a thirty-horse power tubular boiler, which supplies steam to the engine that drives all the machinery in ihe building. In the basement is the blacksmith shop, where six forges are kept constantly emploped. These are kept in blast by a blower run by steam power. On this floor are also two large furnaces, one for making tires, and the other for making springs. All of these articles used in the Department are made here, exerpt, of course, such as come with new apparatus. The horse-shoeing is not done nere, but near the houses in which the apparatus is located to which the horses belong.
The ground floor is called the erecting floor, where any apparatus needing repairing is taken to pieces, put in order and put together again. Here mechanics of all kinds may be found plying their trades, the blacksmith, the machinist, the wheelwright, and other craftsmen being at work simultaneously on the same steamer or other apparatus. At the time of our visit there were on this floor six Steamers, one being a self-propeller, two Hook and Ladder Trucks, and one Tender, all in various stages of dismantlement, with busy workmen repairing their respective ailments, bruises, contusions, fractures, etc. Some of these complaint w re of long standing, being the result of too close intimacy with some serious conflagration.
The second floor is called the finishing room, where are congregated a variety of lathes, planing machines, screw-cutting machines, etc., together with the engine for driving all the machinery. The rear portion of this floor is occupied for the storeroom and offices of the Chief ol Battalion in charge and his clerks and assistants The store room consists mainly of innumerable boxes, or large pigeon holes, similar to those seen in hardware stores, wherein are kept the bolts, nuts, screws, and the thousand and one articles that are used in the manufacture of fire apparatus, and which can be kept in stock. Every bolt or screw issued from the store room is charged against the company whose apparatus requires it.
The third floor is occupied by the wheelwrights and carpenters. Here all the wheels belonging to the apparatus are repaired, whether it be simply a nut or a spoke that is wanting, or a new wheel made to a hole in some dilapidated hub. Here is an upright saw and a circular saw, either capable of cutting one’s finger nails off at the wrist quicker than winking and without hurting.
The front part of the fourth floor is used as a shop for repairing hose, and this is done in all its branches, from the resetting of the couplings to repairing any injury that may have been inflicted on either hose or coupling. In the rear portion of the room is the harness shop, wherein is made all the harness used in the Department, as well as repairing such as may need it. Many little devices for saving time in hitching up are attached to the harness, most of them originating with the members of the force.
On the fifth floor is the paint-room, where the wheels and apparatus are painted a uniform color. The wheels are all a bright red, with a little gold and blue to relieve the eye. If a Steamer breaks a wheel, another is sent to replace it at once, harmonizing in color with all the others. This room, on the top floor, contains all the highly inflammable material there is in the building, so that if a fire occurs in the paint-room it will scarcely spread beyond the top floor.
Taken altogether, the Repair Shop is one of the most compact, commodious, convenient and cleanly workshops we have ever seen. Under its roof a dozen trades are followed by many craftsmen, the arrangement being so excellent that there is no clashing and no confusion. Order, neatness and business are characteristics of the place. It is more properly a large manufacturing establishment, conducted on strict business principles, rather than a mere shop for repairing second-hand articles, as would be surmised from its name.
The Repair Shop is under the management of Gilbert J. Orr, Chief of Battalion, in charge. He is responsible for all work done, for all supplies purchased, and for the safe-keeping of all the property stored in the building. Mr. Orris a machinist by trade, but has been connected with the Fire Department since 1856. In the Volunteer service he was Foreman of Engine No. 4a, from which position he was promoted to be Assistant Chief Engineer. For many years he had charge of the lower district of the city, including the principal business places. On the organization of the Paid Department, he was made Assistant Engineer, a position analagous to that of the present Chiefs of Battalions. Tfis health having failed him somewhat, he was placed in charge of the Repair Shop, in 1873, where he is retained, although his health is restored, because of his excellent mechanical skill and fine administrative ability. Chief Orr is the inventor of several appliances in use in the Department, foremost of which is the Empire Automatic Relief Valve, attached to steam fire engines. By the use of this the pipeman holding the nozzle at a fire can cut off the stream of water without stopping the engine or bursting the hose.
The following list shows the number of mechanics employe 1 in the Repair Shop and the rate of wages paid each per day of eight hours: Blacksmiths, 5, $3; helpers, 6, $1.75; machinists, ao, $3 ; boiler-maker, 1, $2.75 ; coppersmith, 1, $2.75 ; wheelwrights, 3, $2.75; harness-makers, 3, $2.75; collar-maker, 1, $2.75; hose-repairer, 1, $3; painters, 5, $2.50 to $3; tinsmith, t, $2.75; night watchmen, a, $2.50; laborer, x, $1.60; storekeeper,!, $3; shop-engineer, x, $3; clerks, 2, $1,200 per annum; foreman, 1, $1,500 per annum, making a total of 45 men. As the apparatus in the employ of the New York Department is required to lie in perfect order, the labor devolving upon the Repair Shop is incessant. A sufficient number of extra Steamers, Trucks, etc., are kept on hand to supply the places of any that may be disabled, but no time is lost in putting the injured member in serviceable condition again. The Repair Shop is one of the prominent essentials of our Fire Service, yet its resources and its work are but little known. It is worth any one’s wli ile to pay it a visit. *
TRUCK COMPANY NO. 12.
Situated in 20th street, between 7th and 8th avenues, is “ Truck 12,” one of the most active and best regulated Companies in the present Department. Captain James Walton, the Foreman, has been an attache of the Fire Department since 1853, and is an able and competent officer. Previous to the organization of the Regular Department, he was in command of “ Chelsea ” Hook and Ladder Truck, No.
2, one of the “ crack ” Volunteer Companies.
On the present site of Truck 12 were formerly the Volunteer Engine Companies 16 and 50. Following these came Engine 47—the last Company that occupied this place of the old Department. The present house is three stories in height, built of brick, of sufficient depth and width, and withal, very neat “ Quarters.” A reproach to the Fire Commissioners, however, is the awkward arrangement of the stalls, whereby the horses are compelled to back out,” instead of being placed heads to the pole. The Department has in view, though, the early alteration of all houses that still have these primitive stalls.
With horses facing the apparatus, the men will be enabled to excel their record ot ten seconds (the time it now takes to hitch), and undoubtedly reduce it to seven.
The bunk-room, on the second floor, is very tidily kept, and the trim beds stand there defiant of all maidenly criticism. These young ladies that are incessantly berating old bachelors for their disorderly habits, would do well to visit some of our Fire Companies. It would surprise them greatly, no doubt, to find twelve men, in occupancy of a three-story j building, with every floor as clean and orderly as in ; the best regulated household. Might it not induce them to select one of these gentlemen for their husbands—one of Truck la’s men especially—for all of j them glory in a dainty moustache. And the possession of a moustache, we believe, is supposed to ! claim more than ordinary feminine attention.
Mr. James McCutcheon is the Second Officer of this Company. He has also seen considerable service in both the Volunteer and present Department. | Probably to describe him best is to name him as an efficient and thorough Fireman. James Abbot, who has been for ten years in this Company, is known as an enthusiastic Fireman. Mr. Adam Hutter, who would captivate any young lady wi h his charming moustache, no less than with his genial, open-hearted manner, is to be commended as one of the best men in the Company. Aside from the ch; racteristic : moustache which that jollyTillerman, Jacob Becker, ; sports, he is noticeable for his corpulency. It probably arises from doing duty a* the Tiller. But he is j a most active man nevertheless. Messrs. Henry Campbell, Thomas C. Loughery, John O’Connell, j and Wm. j. Gelbraith, are a noble quartet. These j four men would suffice to man a small Fire Departj ment themselves, for they are really intelligent, i energetic, alert Firemen. It would be unpardonable to neglect mention of their moustaches, all of; such beauty ! But Gelbraiih leads here. Of John Wright and Joseph D. White, we can only reiterate j what we have said regarding the other men, both | capable, earnest Firemen. Mr. Samuel B. Ryer is— but we refrain from saying anything. Sammy is too bashful, except perhaps when at a fire, when his reserved manner is in striking contrast to the ! : brave Fireman, who here is foremost at his work.
Captain Walton may well be proud of his excelI lent Company—these twelve sturdy fellows, who 1 work together in such harmony.
A NEIGHBOR OF THEIRS.
The twelfth annual report of the trustees of the Exempt Firemen’s Benevolent Fund for 1877 shows I that the total number of widows on the pension list i is 614, and that the unexpended balance in the hands of the treasurer deposited in the National Butchers and Drovers’ Bank to the credit of the fund is $2,023.55. The permanent fund amounts to $110,000, and there are additional available funds of $36,238. Isn’t it about time to relieve the insurance companies from the annual tax for the increase of this fund ?
Fire Alarms for January.
The following table shows the number of runs for each Fire Company in the city during January :