PETROLEUM LAMP ACCIDENTS.
Our London correspondent writes as follows on the subject of accidents from petroleum lamps:
“A report has been issued by the London county council (public control department) as to the causes of petroleum lamp accidents and the means of prevention. Owing to the growing use of such lamps, the number of accidents has increased from 19 in 1866 to 473 in 1895; Vie deaths being I in 1870 and 35 in 1895; injuries, I in 1870, and 44 in 1895. The report states that compulsory measures alone will be effectual; that to raise the flash-point would not prevent the sale or use of oil below that flash-point; that the prohibition of retail sale of oil below such flash-point would be an effectual preventive, if practicable, as also would be the prohibition by statute of the sale of unsafe lamps, as experience and experiment have proved that oils such as are now in common use can be safely burned in properly constructed lamps, and that a practical method of preventing the sale of unsafe lamps wou-d be by a clause to the effect that all specifications of lamps are to be submitted to the secretary of state, who shall have power to sanction, and, when sanctioned, to rescind or alter them, ar.d that it shall be unlawful to fix, keep, or sell any such lamp, unless constructed in accordance with such authorized specification.”
William Herbert Coulson, of Jersey City, had invented a new fire extinguisher, and was showing it to two friends and his wife, when, owing to its being overcharged, the cap of the machine was blown out with terrible force. It entered his abdomen,and inflicted a gaping wound, from the effects of which he died in ten minutes. Only the same morning he had received a letter from the United States Patent office at Washington, containing the letters patenting the device.