Sketch of James M. Gardiner
The subject of this sketch is entitled to the honor of being the dean of the fire-alarm business of this country. Many of the readers of FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING will see in the accompanying portrait of J. M. Gardiner that of an old friend, and those connected with the firealarm telegraph service will doubtless be pleased to read of a man whose active connection with that business covers almost its entire history. J. N. Gamewell and J. M. Gardiner were boys together in Camden, S. C., where they formed a great friendship for each other. It was with regret that Mr. Gamewell left that place for St. Louis in 1857 for the purpose of constructing a fire-alarm system for that city, like that which was installed in Boston in the year 1851. It was here that Mr. Gamewell again found his old friend Gardiner conducting a watchmaking and jewelry business. An understanding was at once arrived at between the two men, with a view to building fire-alarm systems, which resulted in Mr. Gamewell being able to obtain the first firealarm contract ever made in this country, after the original one had been carried out in Boston. With the exception of the Civil war, during which Mr. Gardiner forsook his calling to go to the front, he has been connected with the Gamewell company since 1857. Thus, in years of service outranking all living men, not excepting the president of the company, Joseph B. Stover, whose fire-alarm history dates back from 1869, Mr. Gardiner was personally the inventor of the first successful “non-interference” fire-alarm box ever made—one which, under the name of the “Gardiner box” was so many years the standard in this special line. Mr. Gardiner has also been active and efficient in the development of other types of fire-alarm apparatus, which have been invented from time to time and now form parts of what is known as the Gamewell fire-alarm telegraph system. At the age of eighty-eight years, Mr. Gardiner remains with the Gamewell company in its active employ, and is as alert and up-to-date in the mechanical end of the business as if he were a generation younger in years.