TEST OF MOTOR-DRIVEN STEAM ENGINE
I hat motor transportation for fire apparatus is a success was demonstrated in a practical way in this city on Wednesday, when an official test was given the city’s newly-acquired gasoline-profelled steam engine. In all six pieces of apparatus propelled by gasoline power were tested—a Nott steam fire engine, a La France water tower mounted on a Couple Gear chassis, and four Webb high pressure hose wagons. In none of them did the novelty extend beyond the motive power, the steam fire engine being of the regular Nott type, the water tower, one which has done service in this city as No. 3 for several years, and the hose wagons such as the city already employs at No. 72 station. No effort was made to establish speed records, but in the various runs which were made the apparatus fulfilled all the claims made for them and more than satisfied the requirements of the local fire department. The Nott engine, pictures of which were taken by our staff photographer and shown herewith, was perhaps the most interesting of the exhibits. This particular apparatus, motive and pumping, were made to the special order of the city, but it is expected that if the results in practice come up to the showing of the test the city will probably contract with the Nott Company, whose works are at Minneapolis, to adapt several of the present horse-drawn engines of the department for gasoline power. The company makes a specialty of adding motor chasses to the front end of regular fire engines, at a cost of not far above $0,000 each. This engine has 110 horsepower, with a 30-mile speed guarantee, though it was tested to almost 45 miles an hour on Wednesday. The pumping engine has 83 horsepower, with a pump capacity of 700 gallons per minute. Commissioner Waldo took the new engine out for its first trial spin. Beside him sat ex-Eire Chief Charles O. Shay, who was a volunteer fireman thirty-seven years ago, before he began his twenty-four years’ service in the paid department. The trip was from the repair shop, in Fifty-sixth street near the Hudson, to Eigbty-third street and Central Park West and hack, which was covered in less than eleven minutes. Later, the new engine was taken down to the river and subjected for an hour to the pumping test. It pumped out of the Hudson and threw hack into it not merely 700 gallons a minute, as guaranteed, but between 750 and 800 gallons. The pressure was 125 pounds. For this only the regular steam engine was in action, the motor in front being entirely separate. The direct technical tests were in charge of Captain Demarest, superintendent of the repair shops. The new engine was built by the Nott Company at a cost of $20,000, according to E. A. Wilkinson, General Manager of the company, it cost the city only $9,772, of which $5,272 represents the value of* the engine and $4,500 the installation of the motive machinery. Hereafter, however. said Mr. Wilkinson, the city will have to pay $0,000 for the conversion of any of its horsedrawn engines into autos. All parts of the new engine, he said, are specially made, and represent experimental work of nearly four years. The engine, which was constructed in 120 days, weighs 16,000 pounds, against about 7,000 pounds, the weight of horse-drawn engines. Its motor is guaranteed to give a speed of thirty miles an hour, against twelve miles, the maximum attained by horse-drawn engines under the most a favorable speed of conditions. forty miles The in the new test. engine The reached great saving of the automobile engine, according to Commistoner Waldo, lies in the cheapness of its maintenance. Where the horse-drawn engine costs from $700 to $800 a year, chiefly for feed and shoeing of the horses, the new engine will cost only from $50 to $100, its “feed” being required only when it is in actual use. In this way, Commissioner Waldo said, the new engines would pay for themselves in four or five years. The automobile high-pressure auto-truck, now stationed in Engine House 72, in East Twelfth street, has cost only $85 a year for fuel, maintenance, and repair. The new auto engine, moreover, can cover long distances as easily as short ones and is not wearied by many fires a day. It probably will be stationed in Engine House 58, 115th street and Madison avenue, which has been kept busier than any other, with an average of 1,000 fire runs a year. Should the present type successfully stand wear and tear and come up to the specifications provided in its guarantee. Commissioner Waldo will try to have the other engines of the city converted to autos. With some 200 engines in the five boroughs this process of conversion, he says, will take from four to six years. Already thirty-eight automobile fire vehicles, chiefly high pressure hose trucks, have been ordered by the department. Six have already been delivered, and four more are on the way. Three of these, with the automobile water tower temporarily used by No. 1 Power Company, Lafayette and White streets, were lined up on this occasion in front of the repair shop with the new engine. The highpressure auto tenders cost $5,350 each. Thev have a speed of 30 miles an hour and carry 2 000 feet of hose, tools, and crew. A smaller type costs $4,350, has the same speed and carries 1,200 feet of hose, tools, and crew. The automobile water lower was built by the International Fire Engine Company of Elmira, N. Y., at a cost of $7,000 and converted into an auto-propelled vehicle by the Couple-Gear Company of Grand Rapids, Mich., for $5,500. It weighs 30,000 pounds, lias 60 horsepower, and a guaranteed speed of, 16 miles an hour. All who witnessed the tests expressed themselves well satisfied with the work of the ne t engine and with the showing of the other new auto tire vehicles. The present engine, it was said, was the lirst ever built with gasoline motive power and steam pumping engine. Chief Horton of Baltimore expressed the views of most of the visiting fire chiefs when he said of the new engine: “Its a coiner. Baltimore has only waited to let New York try the type. 1 think the day of auto fire engines is at hand and the horse will have to seek fodder elsewhere.” Later in the afternoon the new engine was put through a more serious road test. Herbert Penny, a master mechanic of the Xott Company, and Driver Oliver of Engine 58, who is to have charge, took the machine into Queens. Prom the repair shop up Broadway to 110th street, east to Lexington avenue, up the steep Duffy’s Hill at 105th street, across the Queenshoro Bridge, and out on Thompson avenue, about 15 miles altogether, was made with ease in about 40 minutes. A speed of 30 miles an hour was maintained after crossing the bridge. Commissioner Waldo, who followed the engine in his own auto, said he was well satisfied wuth results.
Among those who witnessed the demonstrations were Chiefs George W. Horton. Baltimore; Fred Wagner, Washington; Janies McFall, Roanoke, Va.; Miles Humphreys, Pittsburg; John Stagg, Paterson, and James McLaughlin, Norfolk, Va-; Edward Mooney, Bridgeport, Conn.; August Gerstung, Elizabeth, N. J.; Henry Klug, Creedore, N. Y.; E. E. Helm, Gorham Rubber Co., Los Angeles, Cal.; W. H. Daggett, Springfield, Mass.; B. J. McConnell, Buffalo, N. Y., all of whom were eager to see the tests, that they might report to their own municipal superiors concerning the purchase of similar apparatus. The New York City Fire Department was represented by Commissioner Waldo, Deputy Commissioners Joseph J. Johnson, of Manhattan, and Arthur J. O’Keefe of Brooklyn and Queens, Chief Croker, and Deputy Chiefs Lally, Guerin and Howe.