New Cause of Grain Fires

New Cause of Grain Fires

There has been discovered a new grain elevator hazard which many feel may be responsible for a number of fires of unknown origin that have occurred in well filled elevators recently. As it is of first importance to conserve food, the widest publicity should be given to the discovery of this new danger, says an English exchange. In a large elevator recently three fires started within five feet of each other, at intervals of one hour. The employee in charge was a man who had been with the company for twenty years and whose record was above reproach. There were various theories concerning the origin of the fires and it was decided to make a detailed investigation. Detectives were employed to come into the plant and work with the men and a complete survey was made of the electrical equipment. Experiments by electricians developed the fact that the fires were caused by wheat dust collecting on a 16 candle power, 55 volt, ordinary incandescent lamp. The dust ignited from the heat from the globe, fell to the floor and ignited litter lying there. Further experiments showed that the defect may be entirely corrected by the installation of double globes, or in other words, encasing an ordinary globe within a thin glass covering. This modifies sufficiently the intensity of the heat, but does not reduce the light. The waste matter that accumulates on the floors of elevators storing wheat, oats, barley and other grains is of a highly inflammable nature, and although the ability of an ordinary incandescent lamp to ignite waste matter of this kind may be doubted by many, the tests conducted at this particular location proved conclusively that the hazard exists and must be reckoned with, although it can be eliminated as mentioned.

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