Hazard of Moving-Picture Films.

Hazard of Moving-Picture Films.

A prominent fire insurance engineer reports to his company as follows: “I have looked into the hazard of toy moving-picture machines. They are small machines, operating on the same general principle as the regular exhibition machines. They use celluloid films, as do the larger machines, in some cases the films being full width; in others, about half the width of that in the exhibition machines. The films, however, are much shorter, rarely exceedingly 200 ft. Reels are orovided, in the more pretentious of these toys, for the upper roll; but, in all cases, there is no lower or takeup reel, the film being allowed to run onto the floor or into a basket—a very bad feature. Some of the machines have automatic shutters; but this is of little significance, as the light used, gas, acetylene and incandescent electric, is not strong enough to cause the ignition feared in the larger machines where the rays from arc lamps are condensed on the film. While, however, there is little to fear from the light-rays, the methods of providing light may be very hazardous, and there is always the danger inherent in loose celluloid. The acetylene generators are very crude affairs, cheap construction being necessary where the entire apparatus sells for so little. Machines l have seen range from $2.75 to $25, which means that a great deal cannot be devoted to workmanship and material. The lamphouses also become very warm, and there is nothing to prevent the extra reels from being laid on them or the loose films from being brushed against them. The extra reels are put up in small tin boxes. One thing to be feared is the attitude of the manufacturers. and sales people. They lay great stress on the safety of the devices, demonstrating that the light-rays will not fire the celluloid, and dwelling on the fact. Apparently they do not realise the other dangers, which are too serious for us to permit the machines without charge, although it is difficult to see how the introduction of the machines can be regulated. Set on board bases which will be placed on tables, possibly on the backs of chairs, sewing machines, etc., and operated invariably by amateurs, mostly young girls and boys, the machines seem to me to be a serious menace. No cabinets are provided, of course, and frequent losses may be looked for from them.”

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