WHILE experiments arc being made with automatic shutters of various kinds, which would probably be rusted or out of order when required—the following letter from Edward Atkinson to The Commercial Bulletin is of interest:

An interesting statement is submitted in your paper of April 4. with respect to “iron shutters opened by water.” I beg to suggest a turther experiment, in order to prove how easily iron shutters are opened by fire sufficiently to let the fire itself pass into or out of the building which is supposed to be protected by the shutters, while they successfully maintain their position so as to keep both the Firemen and the water from reaching the danger.

Of all the materials in common use, and which are commonly depended upon for preventing destruction by fire, there is none so treacherous as unprotected iron, with the possible exception of granite. Iron doors and iron shutters may have occasionally appeared to prevent the passage of fire through a window or doorway, but such successes can only have been attained either by their not being subjected to great heat or else by their being drenched and kept cool with water. Whenever and wherever they have been exposed to severe heat they have been so quickly warped and twisted as to have become practically useless as safeguards, while they have often prevented access to buildings, and have thus greatly increased the loss or damage from the fire raging within. There is nothing yet invented which can be said to be absolutely Jfire-proof by which window spaces or doorways can be protected ; but the heavy wooden door or shutter encased in tin will retard the action of fire in sufficient measure to give the firemen a fair cfiance to put it out in the room in which it starts. If two thicknesses of inch-lward (pine preferred, because it does not warp) are nailed cross-way and fully encased in tin, locked and soldered, and thoroughly nailed under the locking, the outer surface of the wood under the tin will be speedily reduced to charcoal by the action of heat through the combustion of the small amount of oxygen under the tin. The charcoal itself then becomes a very effective non-conductor of heat, and if the tin is tight, so that no further supply of oxygen reaches the unburnt wood beneath the charcoal, it will remain cool and strong for some hours, thus giving time to control the fire where it starts. E. A.

BOSTON, April4, 1883.

—A Texas paper tells this cheerful tale of the experimental school of medicine : A woman came to a prominent physician and asked for a remedy for her husband’s rheumatism. The doctor gave her a prescription and said: ‘Get that prepared at the drug store and rub it well over your husband’s back. If it does any good, come and let me know. I’ve got a touch of rheumatism myself,”

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