THE EVOLUTION OF FIRE APPARATUS
(Continued from page 239 )
FROM the heavy rude hook and ladder truck of earlier days has been evolved the aerial hook —and ladder truck of today, which may yet in its turn be superseded by the electric ladder described on page 253 of last week’s issue of FIRE AND WATER.
The modern hook and ladder truck as used in the best fire departments—an illustration of one of which accompanies this notice—combines both lightness and strength, and as will be seen, is an infinite improvement upon the fire escape as used by the Metropolitan fire brigade of London and by other British fire brigades.
Its frame is steel of the finest tempered material; the wheels of the well-known Warner make, and its axles are of the best and strongest compositions. The process of elevating is by lever operated by two phosphor bronze cables worked by four men. As the ladder ascends,steel supports work automatically into position,thus bracing and giving the ladder greater strength and rigidity. As it is raised, the strain becomes lighter as the weight is thrown off the cable and the ladder balances itself. The patented tillerman’s seat can be changed at once without icmoving it—an improvement which further effects a great saving in time. This seat is tilted and passes through the rounds of the ladder, so that it is practically removed at once and the work of extension not delayed an instant. The cables revolve on a velocity-increasing cradle, and, as they are made of phosphor bronze, they cannot be affected by ice, snow, or other impediments,as they cut away obstructions to their operation. Two winches are used to elevate the ladders, while at the same time two others can be operated to extend it. The cables work on the centre pivots of the ttuck, so that, once a momentum is established, the strain of elevating becomes gradually less until the ladder attains its upright position. The turning table is perfectly free at all times, as the driver’s seat is simply laid over instead of having to be removed from its position. The appliances used enable the ladder to be laid off in any direction and at any angle without tilting. Two men only arc necessary to extend it, and the actual time of doing so is only twenty seven seconds after it is once started. The combination platform springs have horizontal rods with an up and-down movement which prevents swaying and wearing on the parts affected.
The life-saving cage can be obtained and raised along the ladder to any point, thus proving a very valuable and safe means of taking down with ease and safety. The principal features of the truck referred to above are shown in the accompanying illustration. A full equipment of appliances is carried, including extension and scaling ladders, life belts, jumping nets, hose, and hose reel, with complement of hose for fireboats or w’ater tower, door openers, life-line gun, cellar pipes—in fact, all modern supplies for effective fire fighting purposes.
The truck,when fully equipped,is as light as any other made, as it weighs one hundred pounds to each foot of extension. It is elaborately painted and finished and presents a very handsome appearance. Four men are sufficient to operate the largest size tiuck.and a tillermanand driver only are necessary to take it to a fire. The truck has a three-horse hitch.and uses a patent hanging device with steel hamelesscollars. It combines many new features not contained in other patterns, as they are covered by patents. A junior aerial truck is likewise in use, which weighs only 4,500 pounds, and it can be extended in nine and one-half seconds by two men without removing the horses. In each apparatus are combined the requisites essential under all conditions; namely, rigidity, easy method of handling, quickness in elevation and turning, and, as far as compatible with safety, lightness.
An illustration accompanying this article represents an American pompier life saving crew equipped for action,with a hook and ladder truck behind it.
Wilbur II. Waite, a photographer and electrician, has been arrested at Portland, Me., on a charge of arson. In January, he started the fire patrol and was shadowed by tht police. In attempting to secure the right of way and right to enter buildings from the board of aldermen he was charged by Alderman Kehoe with having a police record in Lynn, alleging that he had been arrested there for pulling false alarms. Waite indignantly denied the charge; but his customers dropped off, and soon after he went out of the fire patrol business and worked at his trade. Some few months ago there was another series of incendiary fires, including one in a crowded church. This set the police on the trail again, and Waite’s arrest followed.
Independence, Ohio, may organize a fire department as may also Plymouth, Ill. The sooner the better in each case.