SCHMAHL’S SELF-BALANCING LADDER.
“WE are enabled,” says The Norddeutscher Feuerwehrmann, an interesting fireman’s journal, edited by Friedrich Lenz of Danzig, Prussia, “ to lay before our readers illustrations from photographic views of the new self-balancing ladder, which was mentioned last year, and to append at the same time a report made by experts of the following tenor:
“At the invitation of the patentee, the district fire inspector, the chief of the fire brigade, the foreman of the hook and ladder company, as well as a few engineers and experts, met on December 8, 1886, to witness various tests of the new self-balancing ladder. Although the gentlemen present were well aware that they had been invited to witness a novel exhibition, still they were not prepared to expect anything so startling, and their expectations were largely exceeded. After the conclusion, they were loud in their praises of the new ladder, and expressed their opinion that, with proper drill and management, the greatest utility could be expected from its employment. We add a few of the results shown in the tests instituted.
- “ The ladder, when pushed upon a smooth surface, requires one or two men for propulsion; from five to eight men upon broken ground. (See Fig. 1.)
- “ To erect it the man at the head imparts to it an upward motion, whereupon it will of its own accord assume an upright position ; when standing upright, he places a foot upon a treadle underneath to ease the encounter below. (See Fig. 2.)
- “ The extension is made by winding the rope upon a roller ; the entire time consumed in erecting and extending the ladder is twenty seconds.
- The ladder can be moved while in an upright position, with or without the extension. (See Figs. 3 and 4.)
- “ The ladder contains an automatic regulating apparatus, so that it may be driven with entire safely over every kind of ground while in an upright position, and it will of itself resume its horizontal position as soon as the ground is favorable. (See Fig. 5.) As shown in Fig. 6, it ran be caused to incline very materially to one side, so as to rest against some object, say a house. (See Fig. 6.)
- “6. Special attendance for placing in braces or supports or for displacement of weights, etc., is not required. The inclination of the ladder, up to 57 from the perpendicular, is effected by self-braking security gearing.
- “7. The ladder is so strong that when fully extended it can, while standing free, be mounted by eight men (Fig. 7) without showing any changes ; and even when in its greatest inclination — 57 — the weight of two men on the uppermost round will not cause it to tip or break (Fig. 8), a result that has not yet been obtained with any other ladder.
- “8. In spite of this weighting arrangement, the base of the ladder is very small, to wit, 2.25 meters long and broad, so that it may be pushed into the narrowest alley and be turned round in it.
“ Beside the above, it is superfluous to mention other further preferable qualities of Schmahl’s self-balancing ladder, and a simple inspection of the photographic illustrations will convince the intelligent fireman that it is really a highly useful invention.”