A Fire Signal System Wanted.
To the Editor of FIRE AND WATER :
Would some of your readers give us some advice as to the proper arrangement of a set of fire signals in our city? At present we have five hose stations, and at three of them we have means for signaling. At the central station there is a large bell alarm, while at two of the subordinate houses there are large whistles always ready.
The trouble now is that whenever an alarm is sounded for either a large fire or small one, all three alarms are sounded, and the whole department responds, which is entirely unnecessary in many cases. There has been a committee appointed, and I thought that some of your readers might offer 11s suggestions upon the subject which would help us in perfecting a better system of alarms. OBSERVER.
KOKOMO, IND., Dec. 14.
Fire Department Improvements on the Pacific Coast.
The latest report of the Fire and Water Committee of the Pacific Insurance Union shows the following improvements made or in prospect in California and other Pacific Coast towns. Some of them have been already noted in our columns :
Oakdale.—Subscription of citizens for the improvement of water supply and purchase of more hose completed, and cisterns ordered. Two hundred feet new hose purchased since last visit. Engine house improved and fire department reorganized.
Modesto.—Water company have purchased a supply of six and four-inch pipe to be laid and used for fire purposes only * also nine hydrants for the line. ’
Bakersfield.—In addition to money raised by a fire tax ($2200), citizens have subscribed about $1500, which will add to the water supply six six-thousand-gallon cisterns, fed by sixinch pipes continuously from a ditch which carries water the year round. Cisterns will be located at the corners of some streets in the centre of town. A new hook and ladder truck has been ordered, and an engine house for steamer and hand engine, with fire bell, has just been finished. Boxes for suction hose at points on ditch have also been provided. Plans for brick buildings supervised and improvements as to fire hazard suggested.
Hanford.—Fire tax of $1500 just collected. This amount will be expended for new hose on .hook and ladder cart and for purchase of hand fire engine, unless sufficient money can be obtained by subscription for steamer. P’ire department has been thoroughly reorganized. Arrangement is being made with water company for additional hydrants and for shut-off valves on water pipe lines.
TULARE.-Water company have furnished entire new plant, consisting of pumping engine, brick boiler house, boilers and all accessories ; sixty pounds pressure given at engine. Steam fire engine to replace hand engine has been recommended.
Alameda.—City has voted to issue bonds for $35,000 to purchase fire apparatus, horses, engine houses, hose, and to provide electric fire alarm system. Ordinance providing for fire limits and for proper construction of brick and frame buildings in progress before city trustees.
Dixon.—A franchise for water works has been granted to rivate parties, and plant will be put in at once. Details will e given in a subsequent report.
SAN Jose.—City council has ordered the preparation by the fire wardens and city attorney of a comprehensive building ordinance. Two additional steam fire engines and the improvement of present electric alarm system have been asked for. First-class brick engine house completed, and steps taken to furnish it with steamer.
SAN Bernardino.—City has voted to issue bonds for $160,000 for abundant water supply and pipe system. Plan for pipe system of city engineer calls for thorough and extensive piping throughout entire city with full supply of fire hydrants. Water will be furnished with gravity pressure. City trustees have adopted building ordinance for brick and frame buildings.
Colfax.—The following plant is now in use. Reservoir on Cape Horn, two miles from town, 120,000 gallons. Five hydrants on six-inch main, eight on four-inch main and three on two-inch main. Fire pressure T12 pounds is obtained by turning cock at railroad crossing at depot ; ordinary pressure being from tank at 40-foot elevation. Fire Department—Volunteer Hose company, 20 men, with reel and 150 feet of hose ; reel at railroad with 200 feet hose ; 100 feet hose at depot hotel all hose two-inch.
SPOKANE FALLS, Wash.—Silsby steam fire engine and a chemical engine ordered ; expected to be delivered in December, 1889. Stevens fire alarm ordered ; expected to be in use in January, 1890. Contract for twelve-inch water main on Riverside avenue, from Monroe street to Bernard street, was let November 13. 1889. Pumping station is now enclosed ; automatic valve to start fire pressure will be placed on pump as soon as fire alarm system is completed.
ELI.ENSBURGH, Wash.—Now has Silsby steam fire engine and 1000 feet Maltese Cross hose. Additional cisterns connected with ditch furnish plenty of water for engine.
Electric Power in the Stable.
The history of modem electrical science, says Modem Light and Heat, has been one of constant activity and progress. Leading electric companies are showing great enterprise in their increasing efforts towards the equipment of cities and country towns with electric railways, street lights and motors for every purpose. One of the most novel applications of the motor for power purposes, lately, is its use for running a horse grooming machine in one of the large stables of Chicago. A three horse-power motor, running 1650 revolutions at 220 volts is belted to the machine in such a manner as to cause the two revolving brushes to turn at about 2500 revolutions per minute. Some time ago was published a description of an apparatus which was being made for sharpening or roughing horse shoes, without removal from the feet, in frosty weather. This was to be accomplished by an electric motor and a portable machine, and is one of the newest applications of the electric current.
An Efficient Water Power Pumping Engine
We illustrate herewith one of the power pumps, ranging in capacity up to 2,000,000 gallons daily, which are built by the Holly Manufacturing Company of Lockport, N. Y.
There are two^double-acting plunger pumps in one cylinder casting, the plungers working through a central gland. A bed-plate casting extends from the pump to the casting which forms the bearings for the crank shaft ; the casting supporting the shaft is also united to the pump casting by wrought iron tie rods. This construction insures the strains being transmitted in a straight line. The pump casting is constructed with a side passage which connects the suction box of the pump to the suction air chamber. An air chamber is also placed above the discharge valves.
The construction of this machine is such as insures a strong, durable and efficient pump, suited to all conditions of seryice, which may be operated either by independent water wheels, or by belts or gears from the line of shafting of a mill or factory, or by an independent steam engine.
The following table gives the capacity and range of sizes of plungers that can be adapted to these water-power pumps :
How the Burmese Work their Oil Wells.
Dr. Noetling of the Indian Geological Survey, to whose report on the petroleum deposits of Burmah reference has already been made, gives an interesting description of the native method of digging the wells. As soon as a native has made up his mind where he is going to have a new well, the workmen, usually four in number, begin to dig a square shaft, the sides of which measure between four feet and four feet six inches. Over this pit a cross-beam, supported on stanchions at either side, is placed, in the centre of which is a small wooden drum or cylinder, which, with its axis, is made of a single piece of wood, the latter running on coarse fork-shaped supports ; the leather rope used in hauling up the oil passing over the drum, and on it is fastened the workman who is going to be lowered down, as well as the common earthenware pot in which the oil is drawn up. If possible the well is so placed that the men or women drawing the rope walk down an inclined plane along the slope of a hill. The tools employed in digging are quite primitive, and can only be used in soft strata. Timber is used to support the walls of the shaft, and the latter is lined with wood. This wooden wall has considerable strength, but it has to be carefully watched lest it should give way.
The workmen are lowered in an ingenious way. The man sits on two slings formed of strong rope running between his legs and knotted over his left shoulder. To prevent sliding a thin rope runs down from the knot, across the breast, underneath the right shoulder to the back, where it is fastened to the rope forming the slings ; a second rope for the same purpose is fastened round the hips. On account of the explosive gas filling the shaft no light can be taken down ; the workman, therefore, ties up his eyes previously to descending, so as to enable him to see during the short period he is in the well, otherwise it would take him longer to accustom his eyes to the darkness than he is able to stay down on account of the gas, which renders breathing difficult. The data obtained by Dr. Noetling as to the time occupied in the ascent and descent, and the period during which the laborer can remain below, show that not twenty-five per cent of the total working time is really spent in extracting the oil. Two hundred and ninety seconds is the longest time dny man, however strong, can remain below without becoming unconscious, while in some he can only remain sixty seconds. With increasing depths the difficulties in obtaining the oil after the Burmese methods become insuperable. Hence the limit is 310 feet, and the workers object to more than 250 feet.
The drawing up of the oil is as primitive as everything else. The rope is fastened around the neck of the ball-shaped pot, and, being lowered, is allowed to fill by sinking in the oil below. The oil thus raised is poured into another pot of the same shape, but much larger, and twelve of these are packed on each country cart.
Plans for the purification of sewage, says The Chemical Trade Journal, still fill the air. What with herring brine, “ ferozone,” electricity and other agents and chemicals to boot, the ordinary health committeeman has a lively time of it. The question may be asked: Are we any nearer the true solution of the problem than we were twenty years ago? To which we feel constrained to reply, No.
Why is it, then, that we are no nearer the acme of perfection in this matter than we were two decades since?
The reply is a simple one. It is because engineers have vainly considered this subject to be one with which they could deal successfully without any help from the outside.
The fact is, however, that the sewage purification problem lies midway between engineering and chemistry, and we do not believe that either a chemist, pure and simple, or an engineer has all the knowledge necessary to enable the treatment of sewage to be brought to a successful issue. And further, we are of opinion, adds The Journal, that a merely scientific chemist will attack the problem in vain. The man who solves the sewage question must be a technologist of no small reputation ; a man who has seen a deal and thought a lot.
MORE HYDRANTS NEEDED AT SAN Francisco.—San Francisco, according to The Coast Review, needs more fire hydrants. Many blocks or squares in the Western Addition have no hydrants. In most of the blocks only two engines can be worked. In some localities water must lie furnished through 500 or more feet of hose. In a new cable-line district 400 blocks have only 86 hydranfs. At present there are somewhat more than 1500 hydrants. One fire commissioner favors twice this number, but every proposition to increase the number is opposed by two daily papers for the alleged reason that there will be a large additional expense for water without any additional use of water by the fire department. The water company is paid for water according to the number of hydrants.
Utilizing the Water Power of Niagara.
Another scheme has been devised to utilize the water of Niagara. Several schemes have been talked about, but the cost of most of them has been prohibitory. W. E. Weaver, a mechanic of Buffalo, has a plan which calls for towers to be erected at the tmse of the bluff below the village. These can be aoo feet high, and into the top of them he would lead the water by means of a canal, tapping the river above the village. The accompanying cut will be understood from the follow -ing : A. automatic water regulator ; H. water tower ; C, floors ; D, turbine wheels ; E, water motors ; F, shafting and pulley to connect power to machinery ; G, wall standing at base of bluff; //, water from feed canal; /, escape of waste water under wheels ; J, pipes leading water from base of towers to motors and turbine wheels.
At the liase of the towers are a series of turbine wheels, from which the projector claims that practically unlimited power can be generated. This machinery could be used for any pur]>ose.
Water-Works Improvements at Dallas.
The additions to the waterworks at Dallas, Texas, will soon l>e completed, as the work is progressing rapidly. The plan adopted is to take the water from the Trinity river and pump it into settling and storage basins, which will have a capacity when finished of over 143,000,000 gallons. This water will be taken from the river when it is clear and at its best, and the basins kept filled, which will be sufficient to carry the city over the time when the river is low or extremely muddy. The bottom of the reservoirs will be graded in corrugations, having drainage valleys and will be lined with concrete with the slopes paved with brick. They will also be provided with a system of drainage in the bottom, whereby the sediment that is precipitated from the water can be washed out into the river at any time without emptying the basins. An arrangement is also made so that either can be used independently of the other or either may be emptied while the other is in use, should any repairs or cleaning be required. There is a provision so that the water from the river may be pumped directly to the city against the head of the stand-pipe whenever it is in a condition which does not require it to be settled. It is proposed also to raise the foundation of the pump house higher than at present in order to prevent any future overflows, such as have twice occurred during the past summer. The machinery used includes a new Gaskill pumping engine of the finest type. This will more than double the former pumping capacity. The whole design, including machinery, materials and plans of the reservoirs is complete and ingenious in every respect. The probable cost of the extensions and additions will be about $250,000.
The Water Question.
The inquiries of the medical profession into the causation and modes of propagation of disease have of late years wholly changed the character of the accepted views on water and water supplies. First, the mineral constituents dropped out ot consideration as having, practically, but little connection with the causation of diseases. Organic matter was held to be the dangerous element, and for some time the presence of a stated quantity of this matter was conceived to warrant the condemnation of the water which contained it. The attention of all those interested in preventive medicine became concentrated on the organic matter to discover the means of discriminating between harmless and harmful substances, but before much was accomplished in this line of investigation the able workers from the etiological side of the inquiry had hunted down the causes of the diseases usually propagated by the water supply, and found them to be not organic matter merely but vitalized matters. At present, therefore, the sanitary, question concerning a water is neither as to the wholesomeness of its dissolved solids nor to the quantity of its organic matter, but whether or not it contains any of the germs of disease.
It is impossible as yet to answer this question by direct observation. The cholera bacillus may be recognized and cultivated, but it is an exotic, and of interest only from time to time. The germ of typhoid, which we have with us at all times, has yet to be identified in water, although we know by sad experience that it is there, and the same is true of our indigenous malaria. Until the existence of these germs in water can be recognized the best method of determining the sanitary quality of a water is to study its history and establish its freedom from any likelihood of containing a specific infection. Practically we have to deal with but two of these—the two just mentioned. Surface waters may contain both. Percolated waters, i. those from springs and wells, contain only one, the typhoid infection. The filtration which the water undergoes in its passage to the well or other outlet removes the malarial infection. It is the surface water charged with vegetable matters from the swamps and marshes of some part of its course, or from decaying wood and foul sediment of its containing cistern that causes malarial troubles. The water from good-conditioned wells has never been arraigned on this charge. Water supplies should, therefore, cease to be a factor in the propagation of malarial diseases. The remedy is known and is easily applied. Even on the large scale, for cities it is only a question of dollars. This simplifies the subject by leaving only the typhoid infection for consideration
Some doctors hold that typhoid fever always arises by the infection from a previous case ; others consider it possible for the disease to be generated by a conjucture of favorable conditions, but even these allow that its subsequent spread is chiefly occasioned by its infectious characteristics. This infection lies in the discharges from the bowels, and if these, by leakage from the sinks, cesspools or sewer pipes succeed in percolating into a well, spring or cistern, the water supply contained tn it will become infected and propagate the disease, for filtration through the soil does not remove the germ as in the case of malaria, nor, so far as known, does it lessen in the slightest the virulence of the filtrating infection. On the contrary, there seems ground for believing that in favorable conditions the germs will multiply rather than diminish. So, too, the infected discharges entering a stream, pond, lake or other body of water will render its water as dangerous to the individuals using it as the water of an infected well. Hence the importance attached to the freedom of a water from sewage. The sewage of a single house may be harmless, but the sewage of a city must always be regarded as infected, because the discharges from a single case of typhoid fever will suffice to leaven the mass. Germicides, applied to the discharges before their committal to the sewers, will destroy the infection, but if this precaution be not taken the river or other body of water which receives the sewage will become a danger to the health and lives of all those who use its waters. Typhoid fever is indigenous in our cities. The disease is carried from the upper to the lower settlements by the course of the stream. The water companies and municipalities supply it daily from the faucets, and because money has been invested in their plant this distribution of disease and death goes on, and is noted officially only in the reports of the health officers as so many deaths from typhoid fever during the week or month or year, as the case may be. Not that any connection is shown between the one and the other ; on the contrary, the typhoid death rate is seldom reported en rapport with the water supply which caused it, unless, as at Plymouth, Pa., the fever becomes a scourge on the community and frightens its members into an acknowledged acceptance of the demonstrable facts. When a stream has once become infected there is no known remedy. Aeration and oxidation destroy the organic matters that are harmless, but not the vitalized matters that are harmful. These are not subject to the operation of oxidating causes until they have lost the vitality in which lies their virulence. Individuals may boil their drinking supply and so destroy the germs, but this cannot be done on the large scale for municipal distribution.
There seems but one way out of the difficulty. Water which contains sewage should not be used as drinking supply. The supply for a city depends on the conditions of the locality, but the grand general principle, involving purity and freedom from preventable disease, should never be lost sight of in questions of finance and engineering. The country is growing rapidly, and under present conditions of sewage disposal and water supply the typhoid rates of death and disability must increase to the detriment of those communities who shall have failed to appreciate the necessity for wholesome water. In a general way and as an axiomatic principle everyone acknowledges the desirability of pure water ; but collectively we act as if we had no saving knowledge, or as if we were fatalists, ready to drink the draught and trust to luck to escape its consequences. Only among the ranks of the sanitary men of the country—the members of the American Public Health Association—among whom are aggregated the prominent health officers of States and cities, do we find a realizing sense of the actual condition of affairs as regards water supply and sewage disposal. These men understand the causes which kill six, eight or ten persons annually, instead of one or two, out of every ten thousand living, which disable as many again permanently and from ten to twenty times as many temporarily. They appreciate the growing influences which give virulence to these causes and are able to outline the sickness and mortality of the future from the records of the past. We look to them for improved conditions in the present and the avoidance of disaster in the future.
We have been led to these remarks by reading a copy of the report of the committee on water pollution appointed by the association. The importance of the work of this committee cannot be over-estimated. Its conclusions so far assert the harmfulness of sewage in waters used as a potable supply, whether these are derived from wells or from larger sources ; whether the supply of an isolated dwelling or that of a populous city ; but, in the language of the report:
“ The measures to be recommended in consonance with the views submitted are hedged with difficulties on account of the relations which one community bears to another ; nor will one cast-iron rule suffice for all cases. The abandonment of a sewage polluted supply may be imperative in one case, while the exclusion of certain dangerous contaminations may guarantee protection to another community. The influence pf chemical treatment on the infectious principles of the excreta of disease comes up for consideration, as well as that of the filtrations, which are effected not only by irrigation and other modes of consignment to the soil, but by artificial means conducted on the small scale occasionally by the consumer and on the large scale by the municipality or the water company.”— The Climatologist.
The Columbus Fire Department.
The city of Columbus, Ohio, has a population of between ninety and one hundred thousand persons, and its fire limits include an area of over seventy-six hundred acres. To guard this large district against fire there is a full-paid fire department, consisting of thirteen companies, and including one chief engineer, one assistant engineer, thirteen captains of companies, and thirty-six men. The apparatus, at last accounts, consisted of two steam fire engines, three chemical engines, two chemical hand extinguishers, three hook and ladder trucks, eight hose carriages and ten thousand feet of good rubber hose, with twenty-eight horses ; the value of the department apparatus being about $30,000, and of the buildings in use, $125,000. The fire alarm system in use is the Gamewell, and includes sixty-seven street boxes.
Chief Engineer D. D. Tresenrider, whose portrait is given herewith, was born at Jamestown, O., in 1837. When fifteen years of age he removed to Columbus, in which city he has lived ever since. In the year 1880 he was the unanimous choice of the city council for the office of chief engineer, and has since been reappointed to the position each year to the general satisfaction of the community. Chief Tresenrider is well known to firemen throughout the country as one of the vice-presidents of the National Association of Fire Engineers, has attended most of the annual meetings of the association, and been prominent in its discussions and work. He has succeeded in making for himself, moreover, a large number of personal friends, both in and outside of the fire service, and is to be congratulated upon being known as the head of one of Jhe most efficient fire departments in the State of Ohio. The liking for him of the members of his department was shown last August in the form of a remarkably handsome diamondstudded medal, with which they presented him.
The rapid growth of the city of Columbus renders necessary a constant increase in the force of the fire department”. Two Ahrens steam fire engines were recently added to its equipment, and the purchase of six more is just reported.
Water Pipe Men at Minneapolis.
The opening of bids for 3000 tons of water mains at Minneapolis last week, attracted to that city representatives of some of the most prominent pipe manufacturers of the country. The Pioneer Press pays its respects to them as follows :
They are veterans in the business, and what they don’t know about their own particular line of business is not worth knowing. Probably the most conspicuous figure in the sextet is A. J. Guilford, representing Long & Co. of Louisville. Mr. Guilford has been coming to Minneapolis for a dozen years. That his visits are fruitful is evident from the fact that his concern has furnished several hundred thousand dollars’ worth of pipe and other stuff for the water department. It was this firm that entertained the American Water-works Association so royally at Louisville last summer, when Alderman Fred Barrows, ex-Superintendent John Henion and ex-Water Commissioner C. M. Foote represented Minneapolis. The firm provided a special car and took the visitors to Mammoth cave. Mr. Guilford is a genuine wit, besides being a sharp business man. He is a practical joker from away back. Allen T. Prentice, of R. D. Wood & Co., Philadelphia, is an old timer in the business, and has been here a good many times before. Mr. Davis, the good looking representative of the Addyston Pipe and Steel Company of Cincinnati, is very well known among Western and Northwestern water-works people. Mr. Nichols is the genial soul who looks after the interest of Shickle, Harris Sc Howard of St. Louis. John Knickerbocker is president of the Mohawk and Hudson Manufacturing Cdtnpany, and, like all the rest of those mentioned, keeps a very close tap on all matters pertaining to water-works, etc.
Denver Falls Into Line.
(From a Special Correspondent.)
DENVER, COL., December 14.—The unusually large number of extensive conflagrations throughout the country of late have given a good lesson to the “ powers that be ’* in our city. Through the combined efforts of Chief Julius Pearse and A. C. Speed, the manager of the underwriters union of our city, sufficient pressure has been brought to bear to induce our city council to increase the appropriation for 1890 to a sum large enough to bring our department up to where it should have been several years ago.
The appropriation as agreed upon gives the fire department $170,000 ; this will add at least three more steamers, two more trucks and one more chemical company and about thirty-six more men to the department. The Board of Public Works will commence the erection of two new stations shortly. One located in the eastern part of the city will cost about $23,000, and one in the southern portion, $10,000. We shall require two buildings in addition to the above, which will be located shortly, and cost about $30,000 more. The fire alarm service will be improved by the addition of twenty-five boxes ; in fact the department in general will be placed upon a footing with others of first-class reputation.
Fire escapes and stand-pipes on all buildings over two stories in height are now receiving Chief Pearse’s attention, and notices are being served upon all propertyowners to obey the ordinance as to the adoption of these appliances under penalty of a heavy fine for neglect.
The annual ball of the fire department, which took place last Thursday, proved a decided success socially as well as financially, having realized about $2,000.
Owing to the fact that our department increase will be fully up to the expectations of the underwriters, Chief Pease will, I understand, once more renew the proposition he made on several occasions, with reference to the establishment of a salvage corps. His proposition was that if the insurance companies would furnish the paraphernalia necessary to a salvage corps system he would provide the wagon, quarters and the men.
S. W. D.
An English Fireman’s Opinion of American Departments.
During thirteen weeks I was away from England, writes Captain H. Fineburg of the Crewe Volunteer Fire Brigade, to our English cousin and namesake, Fire and Water, I visited almost every town of any importance in America and Canada. At New York I saw each fire station, and my visits being at irregular hours, I was able to see the stations under all conditions. One morning, at four o’clock, I put in an appearance at the central station, and here the fire scene from the “ Still Alarm ” was vividly brought home to my memory. Here were the firemen on duty, tired out with their attendance at ten fires already that day, J was fortunate in being abl$ to attend several fires in New York. At one of these, in Fourteenth street, 150 horses were roasted. On every side I received a kindly welcome.
From New York I went via Buffalo to Niagara. This is not the place to attempt a description of this marvelous waterfall, and even if it was, I do not think any words of mine would convey to your readers any idea of its superb grandeur. I proceeded by Port Dalhousie, across Lake Ontario to Toronto, Canada. Here I soon found myself at the fire station, or “ department,” and saw some dozen fine-looking fellows, none of them wearing uniform. I presented my credentials, and one of the men, James Harris, was told off to show me round. There are no engines here, as the water pressure from mains is more than equal to any emergency which may arise. There are two of the new ladders which correspond to our fire escapes, but certainly appear to have many improvements, and also reach much greater height. These machines carry hose and all requisites. As the hydrants are built up in the street, no stand-pipes are required. I was much pleased with the way in which the arrangements for horsing the machines were carried out. At the rear of the station are six doors, over each of which is the name of the horse in the stall to which the door leads. These stables are in the station, and on a level with the street. The doors are opened with a spring, and on an alarm being received, each door flies open and out trots each horse. These animals are trained with much care and patience. They are well-bred and are all favorites with the men. Over the stables are the men’s sleeping rooms. Two beds in each room. At the end of the corridor is a round hole in the floor, in the centre of which is a round brass pole upright, and down this the men slide. My guide, anxious to show me all, said, “ come along,” and grasping the pole, slid away down with the greatest ease. I followed, and certainly found this method an improvement on the ordinary way of going down stairs. Adjoining the bedrooms are the recreation rooms. The room containing th‘e batteries connecting the street alarms I was much pleased and interested with. Altogether my recollections of the visit to the Toronto fire station are of the most pleasant character.
From Toronto I went on to Detroit and Chicago, and found the fire station similarly fitted up to the one I have just described. I find that the American departments do not keep all engines at one head centre, as we do in England, but have many sub-stations throughout the town. I had an introduction to John Redall, chief of the first battalion, who at once expressed his pleasure at seeing me and offered to show me anything that was in his power in connection with his own or any other department. I find that at Chicago a chemical fire engine is kept for small fires, and here also is a steam fire engine, said to be the most powerful in the world. This is No. 32 engine, built in the city of Chicago, and capable of working at a pressure of 250 pounds, A jet can be thrown, it is said, to the height of 417 feet. I noticed the suction was 5 inch and the delivery 2]4 inch to 3% inch nozzle inch ; the cost of the machine, $5000. The Chicago men are splendidly trained, and, as a proof of this, I may say they were turned out the other night before the commissioners, ran out hose and had jet to work in sixty-three seconds. The average time for turn out to fire is ten seconds. The men sleep over the fire station, and the horses are stabled alongside or immediately in the rear of the engines. Any device or plan for reducing the time of turn out is tried, and if successful soon adopted.
The chief informed me that the last English fire brigade officer he had as a visitor was Captain Shaw. C. B. We had a long conversation about payment of firemen, and many other subjects of interest to firemen, and I was then taken to see the new fire barge. As time was limited, I had to content myself with a run round this, and continued my visit on June 24. This tifne I was fortunate in seeing several drills, and a turn out of men and gear. I also saw the hook and ladder men at drill in premises adjoining the fire station. They were smart at work, and as agile as cats. The whole system ol drill is so different from the English, that I cannot compare the two without illustrations. After the drills I had a drive round with my friend to several sub-stations, among others we came across a “colored” company, all smart fellows. They still retain one of the original wooden swarming poles in preference to a modern brass one.
At the conclusion of my round, I was wishing my courteous guide good by, when an alarm came in ; I was invited to join, and this I did very gladly. The fire was small, but the way in which the men turned out and set about the work, quite satisfied me that that all the drills and exhibitions I had been shown were not lost. Reluctantly leaving Chicago, I wtent across the noble Mississippi and the Missouri, then visited Council Bluffs, across the prairie to Texas and Denver. From here I went to the Rocky Mountains, and along the Rio Grande Railroad to Kansay City, thence back to New York.
My next visit is Boston. During my short visit there were two fires, one immediately opposite my hotel. In less than five minutes from time of alarm I was able to count over thirty engines, reels, and hook and ladder companies in the street. Of course all traffic is suspended for the time. I also visited Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington and Montreal ; from Montreal to Quebec and then down the St. Lawrence River to New York. At all these cities I turned into the fire stations and spent as much time as my business would permit of. Throughout all my journey I found the American people most kind and considerate. My visit was paid partly for business purposes, but inlaid pretty freely with pleasure. Under these circumstances, I had opportunities of seeing “ both sides” of many public and private men, and I do not hesitate to say that I am much delighted with all I have seen. This hurried sketch is written I know for the renders of Fire and Water who are firemen, so I will not refer to the thousands of interesting sights which abound on every side in the chief cities of America. My visit to the fire stations has been most instructive to me, and has shown me that we in this country have much to learn in this department, which will be for our own advantage as well as for the public safety.
The Natural Gas Supply.
A Findlay correspondent in The Toledo Commercial, in an interview with a Findlay gas trustee, records the following :
“ Findlay possesses 10,000 acres of gas territory, not including Findlay township. Between 3000 and 4000 acres of this land has been tested and is all good territory. We have a strip of land comprising about 1000 acres, in the vicinity of Stuartsville. Our entire territory, outside of Findlay township, is divided up in Biglick. Cass, Allen, Washington and Jackson townships. We have quite a number of wells in Findlay township, the production of which, combined with that of the territory mentioned, gives us a good supply of gas. We have learned, though, that there is no such thing as getting too much, as the future must be provided for, and we are all the time on the lookout for the land which is available for gas purposes. Findlay last winter received a lesson in experience which may be profitable for Toledo and other cities to take cognizance of. When winter began the city possessed thirteen wells with a combined daily capacity of 38,000,000 feet. During the summer there had been more gas than was needed for the city’s use, but when cold weather set in the demand became so great the wells had to be opened to their full capacity. As winter wore along the supply began to fail, and dur*. ing the coldest days many people were compelled to use wood and coal at certain hours of the day in order to keep the houses heated. In one instance a mill had to shut down until the supply could be increased. To give a more serious aspect to the situation some of the wells began to show oil and salt water, and danger of the whole system of lines becoming flooded was imminent. This was due to the fact that the wells had been overtaxed.
“In order to prevent a well from showing salt water there should be a certain amount of pressure kept back, as a well, if flowing at its full capacity, is liable to draw oil or salt water in time. In order to meet the increased demand the trustees were compelled to connect their lines with the Tippecanoe, Jones, Ballard and several other wells in this vicinity, and with the supply thus increased, the city was able to tide along until spring. Profiting by the experience obtained during the winter, the trustees have lieen busy all summer leasing gas lands, drilling new wells and buying old ones, whenever to their advantage, until the supply has become considerably increased. If 38,000,000 feet of gas is insufficient forthedemands of a city of 18,000 people, Toledo may t>e interested in figuring what benefit a city of 100,000 can derive from wells |>ossessing a combined capacity far below ico.ooo.ooo feet, and which are bunched together upon a comparatively small amount ot territory.”
In the various systems of sewage treatment that have been introduced from time to time the principle generally adopted has been to treat the sewage at the point where it is collected for deodori ration and disposal. This necessarily involves the unchecked formation of gases in the sewers through which the sewage passes, and which gases have to be dealt with by ventilation—which means their emission into the atmosphere—or by other means. After having devoted several years to the practical study of the question, E. Harris Reeves claims that he has perfected a system of sewage treatment which goes to the root of the evil. He deodorizes the sewage as it is run into the sewers from the houses, or even attacks it in the houses themselves, and thus prevents the formation of sewer gases ; but if they should be formed, they are at once rendered inodorous and innocuous. This is effected by placing in the manholes in the streets a small earthenware apparatus containing two chemicals which, in combination, act simultaneously on the gas present in the sewers and on the sewage itself. The chemicals employed are strong sulphuric acid and a solution of …anganate of soda, which are automatically mixed and give off sulphurous acid gas and nascent oxygen. Of these two gases the former isa complete destroyer of putrefactive and contagious organisms, while the latter is a perfect deodorizer. The solution formed by the union of the twochemicals consists of a liquid containing a large percentage of permanganic acid and a small quantity of sulphuric acid. This solution overflows into the sewer from the chamber in which the admixture takes place and deodorizes the sewage to a greater or less extent on its way to the precipitating tanks. At the same time, whatever gases are evolved from the sewage are neutralized hy the chemical gases, for to reach the outer atmosphere the sewage gases must pass through the chamber in which the chemical gases are generated. We recently inspected Mr. Reeves’ apparatus at Putney. where it has been applied. Its chief application, however, has been at Frome, where it is in extensive use, with every success, as certified by the engineer to the local board, after nearly a year’s experience of its working. He states it to be a simple and efficient method of sweetening the sewers by the destruction of the sewer gas, and at the same time of deodorizing the sewage on its way to the precipitating tanks. The deposit in the tanks is stated to be devoid of smell and very valuable as a manure, while the effluent is clear and odorless and fulfills the ordinary tests for purity.—London Times.
Irrigation In South Africa.
George F. Hollis, United States Consul at Cape Town, Africa, has forwarded to the Department of State a report upon irrigation in South Africa. From this report it appears that irrigation in a primitive way has been practiced, and is the rule in the Orange Free State and a large part of Cape Colony. In 1877 the government passed an act to promote irrigation, the act providing for local water boards authorized to condemn property necessary for reservoirs, and for loans from government funds to farm owners desiring to construct private reservoirs. These loans are made at eight per cent, and run twenty-four year*. Wherever irrigation has been adopted under the act the results have been most satisfactory —one farmer stating to the consul that his increased rentals would pay his loan in four years. An amendment to the irrigation act of 1879 provided for loaning colonial funds to municipalities desiring to carry on works of irrigation; and within two years applications were made from sixty districts desiring to avail themselves of the terms offered by the government.
Consul Hollis says: “Wherever irrigation has been properly tried in the colony it has met with unqualified success, assuring large crops to the husbandman and guaranteeing the stock-raiser against loss by drouth. From the lamentable reports now coming in from the up country of the great loss of sheep by reason of the almost total lack of rainfall this winter, I should judge a great impetus will lie given to this question. The land being almost entirely denuded of trees and bush, the rain runs rapidly over the surface, seeking its natural outlet to the sea, while the evaporation is very great. Streams which are alive the whole year are few. lloring for water has not been attempted on a large scale, but the experiments made in certain sections have given encouraging results.”
—Milwaukee and Northern 2000-mile tickets are now hon. ored by the following railways: Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul; St. Paul and Duluth; Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie; Wisconsin Central Line, and Green Bay, Winona and St. Paul Railway. They can lie obtained at any of the principal stations and at 192 Clark street, Chicago; also at general ticket office, corner Wisconsin street and Broadway, Milwaukee.