Improved Plumbing Practice.
CONCERNING the question of the size of waste pipes for carrying off contents of water closets, bath tubs, wash basins and other apparatus belonging to the catalogue of plumbing fixtures, a great deal has been written. The plumber as a member of the mechanical fraternity is very apt to judge of the “ fitness of things ” by his own experience, and without attempting to be authoritative on the subject of waste pipes is quite apt to have a decided opinion upon the question. The popular impression, however, is that a large waste pipe is better than a small one, “because it will not choke.” It will lie worth while examining into the merits of the case to ascertain if the statement be strictly correct.
There are two considerations involved in the use of a waste pipe: Firstly. The quantity of water discharged in a given time, and, secondly, the ability of the pipe to discharge it. These considerations only affect the users of the apparatus ; but coupled with the considerations of time and velocity of water discharged through a waste pipe is the important question of making it perform its work completely.
All waste water is loaded with refuse of some character, excreta, greasy substance and dirt from washed clothing, mingled with soap-suds. It frequently happens that what in the nature of waste is not held in suspension by the water as it passes through the waste pipe, is dropped upon the surface of the pipe, and unless this has a proper inclination, coupled with an area of size of diameter which guarantees perfect flushing, these deposits will form obstructions, and finally choke it. It is therefore superfluous to have large waste pipes unless they can be properly flushed. A contracted vein of waste water is effective in that it acts like a plunger passing through the waste pipe.
This phase of waste action affects horizontal lines of waste pipe in a greater degree than it does vertical lines. It, however, applies with equal force to vertical lines. An excess of area of either the interior of horizontal or vertical lines is of no practical benefit. Unless the pipes may have enough water to cleanse every portion of their interior surfaces, it is obvious that thus arranged they are simply acquiring daily accretions of sewage that would in smaller pipes be effectively estopped from attaching itself to the interior surface.
Considerable improvements have been made in modern sewerage systems as applied to city works, identical with the question of successfully flushing sewers by the means of the waste water passing through them. The same principle should obtain in the matter of waste pipes applied in dwellings and other buildings.
THE utility of chemical engines as a species of light artillery among the equipments of a fire department has seldom been more strikingly illustrated than by the statistics for last year of the fire department of Sioux City, la. Chief Kellogg reports that during that time just one-half of the total number of fires were put out by means of the chemical engine alone, not a drop of water having been taken from the hydrants. The amount of water damage to stocks which was thus averted can be readily imagined. Thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of property is ruined annually by large streams of water thrown by the steamers and from hydrants upon small fires, which could have been readily put out by a fifty-gallon chemical with but a small fraction of the damage.
AN ordinance has been introduced in the New’ Orleans City Council which, if it could be strictly enforced, would aid materially in reducing the number of cotton fires in that city. It absolutely prohibits smoking on wharves where ships are loading or unloading cotton, oil or other inflammable goods, as well as in cotton yards and presses, and on trucks carrying inflammable materiel to or from vessels. A suitable penalty for its violation is, of course, provided. It is generally conceded that a very large proportion of the fires occurring in cotton at the shipping ports are caused either by sparks from the pipes of the laborers, or by the matches which they drop about, and persistent efforts have been made to prevent the negroes from carrying the mischievous little sulphur headed incendiaries about their persons while at work ; but the men have been known to conceal the matches in their wool rather than be deprived of a hasty smoke on the sly. However, the infliction of a few heavy penalties for violating the law might have a salutary effect, and it is certainly worth while trying the experiment.
FROM various sources for a long while past have come demands for a revision of the building laws of New York city, and an organized movement has now been begun to secure the passage of an amended law by the next legislature. In order to accomplish this a Board of Revison has been formed, composed of gentlemen named by the American Institute of Architects, the Architectural Iron Works Association, a carpenter and mason from the Mechanics’ and Traders’ Exchange, a representative of the Real Estate Owners’ Association and of the Board of Fire Underwriters, the Superintendent of the Bureau of Buildings and the Counsel of the Fire Department. Thi^ board will meet twice a week, to hear the views of architects, builders, real estate owners and others interested in the subject, and will then endeavor to frame a law which shall meet all objections against the present one. In mentioning the projected undertaking, Architecture and Building remarks : “ It is earnestly desired that all architects should attend the meetings when possible. Should they not take this opportunity to give the board their views on questions in doubt, they must hold themselves responsible for any faults that may appear after the passage of the bill. It is very easy to find fault with existing evils, and their continuance must be placed at the doors of the complainants if they fail to take advantage of the opportunity now afforded to make the New York building laws what they should be—a model for all large cities.”
IT is reported from New Orleans that the circumstances in the cases of several recent fires in cotton cargoes on vessels at that port indicated incendiarism. Some years ago there existed in that city an organized band ot scoundrels, who made a practice of setting fire to cotton-laden vessels. One of them was caught, however, and his conviction and heavy punishment broke up the gang. It was then thought that the business had been put an end to for good and all, but this seems to have been a mistaken idea, and the old operators or new ones appear to have taken it up again. Since the beginning of October there have been three such fires. The first outbreak was among cotton on board of the British steamer Challerton, the cargo being set on fire three times. The evidences of incendiarism were unmistakable, and a reward of $500 was offered for the apprehension of the guilty persons, but these have not yet been caught. The flames were supposed to have been put out, but upon the arrival of the steamer at Havre recently the cotton cargo was found to be well on fire. Again, the steamer Astronomer, which sailed from New Orleans for Liverpool a few weeks since, had to put back to discharge cotton which had been on fire, the crew having put out the blaze. A third fire was found among cotton on the steamer Mercedes, and some little damage was done before it was put out. The detective agencies and the (Jotton Exchange are said to be investigating the origin of these fires closely, and it is to be hoped that if there is any such work going on as is suspected the punishment of the criminals may be made severe enough to effectually prevent others from taking up their industry. The perils from accidental causes surrounding the shipment of cotton are many and serious enough without the addition of deliberate incendiarism to the list.