H. F. J. Porter, Engineer, Dead
Holbrook Fitz John Porter, a well known engineer, and an occasional contributor to the columns of FIRE ENGINEERING, died at his home in New York City, on January 25, of pneumonia. Mr. Porter, who was 74 years of age, was Secretary of the National Museum of Engineering and Industry in New York City.
Mr. Porter was born in New York City on February 28, 1858, the son of General Fitz John Porter, a Civil War commander on the Union side and a veteran of the Mexican War. He was educated at St. Paul’s School, Concord, N. H., and at Lehigh University, obtaining his Mechanical Engineering degree from the latter in 1878. He served as draughtsman, Engineer and Superintendent for iron and steel companies and served also as Engineer and Superintendent of the buildings and grounds of Columbia University. He also was Chief of the Machinery Department at the Chicago Exposition of 1893, and participated in the survey of Pittsburgh, Pa., for the Russell Sage Foundation.
Mr. Porter was a great advocate of the so called “horizontal fire escape”—a fire wall separating a building into two distinct parts, with fire doors for escape from one portion to the other. He was instrumental, in 1909, in bringing about the passage of the New York State law requiring a fire wall for horizontal fire escapes, which he had recommended as consultant to the State Factory Investigating Commission on Fire Hazards. In 1912 he organized the Efficiency Society.
During the World War he was adviser on employment efficiency to the Hercules Powder Company of Wilmington, Del. After the conflict he was consultant to 200 business concerns for the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce on employment representation in industry.
He was a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Aztec Club of 1847 (Society of the Mexican War) and Engineers Club of New York, and a director of the American Society for the Prevention of Blindness.
Mr. Porter is survived by his widow, a son, a daughter, and a brother.