The Abuse of Electricity.
The onslaught on the trolley in Philadelphia brought forth the statement from the insurance companies that about ten per cent of the fires in this country during the past year were due to electricity. This seems alarming, says The Electrical World, but it should be understood that by far the greater part of the fires started by electricity are in country districts or smalt towns, or places where there is little or no insurance inspection. In the large city of Philadelphia, for instance, there was not a single fire of such origin during the year 1890. This is directly traceable to the fact that in Philadelphia the inspection is very carefully made by an intelligent and conscientious inspector, who is very reasonable in bis requirements and careful in his work. When a question arises he settles it by making practical experiments. Unreasonable requirements and careless inspection both lead to very bad results. As a contrast to this inspector may be mentioned one who, in speaking of the great danger of fire m electric lighting stations, said: “Why, the very brick walls and wooden beams are full of electricity.” It is a “ penny-wise and pound-foolish ” policy for an insurance company to entrust such an important matter to a man who apparently does not know the first principles of electricity. Unfortunately it takes years of costly experience to teach such companies and other like parlies the importance of having a good electrician for this work. Philadelphia’s experience ought to be a lesson to others. There are in that city twenty electric light stations, and not one of them has had a fire. This is a good illustration to insurance companies who refuse to insure such stations
IMPORTANT LEGAL DECISION. — The Virginia Court of Appeals has just decided that cities and towns cannot exempt manufacturing plants from taxation. The case which brought out this decision was the occasion of the town council of West Point in exempting the property in that place of the Richmond and West Point Terminal Railway anti Warehouse Company. An application for a mandamus to compel the council to levy taxes on that property as on other property brought the matter before the Court of Appeals, and that body has decided that a municipal corporation has no right to exempt any property from taxation, but must tax ad equally. The principle emphasized by the decision of the Court of Appeals is that a municipal corporation is merely a local agency of the State ; that the State alone has the power to exempt from taxation, and this power cannot be exercised by a municipal corporation unless by power conferred by the legislature.