THE EVOLUTON OF FIRE APPARATUS,
IN 1855 Abel Shawk, of Philadelphia, built a steam fire engine which was a decided improvement upon its predecessors, and generated steam from cold water in five minutes, fifteen seconds after the torch was applied. In one minute the gauge showed fifteen pounds of steam; in seven minutes, twenty seconds, fifty pounds; and in eight minutes the engine was started—the steam quickly rising to 120 pounds. With a one and one-eight-inch nozzl against the wind the water was thrown 172 feet horizontally and 120 feet vertically; with four three-quarter-inch nozzles, about 100 feet; and a onc-inch nozzle and one andsevcr,eighth-inch together, each with sixty-two feet of hose attached, 103 feet. Taking suction from the Delaware against a moderate breeze, with a one and one -quarter-inch nozzle it threw 176 feet horizontally, exclusive of spray; with 325 feet of hose and a one and one-eighth nozzl; 120 feet against the wind; with 935 feet of hose and a three-quarter nozzle, forty feet vertically and seventy feet horizontally from the engine, with steam pressure of ninety-six pounds on the square inch.
After Shawk there arose many steam fire engine builders, among them Poole & Hunt, of lialtimore, Md. (1858), whose engines were distinguished for the simplicity of their construction; Messrs Ettenger & Edmond, of Richmond, Va. (1859); the Reaney & Neafie.of Philadelphia (1860).”Good Intent” engine won no little fame for its makers. Messrs I.ee & Earned, of Philadelphia,are probably the best known of any. In 1857 they completed two self-propelling steam fire engines for New York, whose success was so great as to silence all opposition to their being accepted.
From that time the advancement of steamers towards their present state of perfection has been steady, and now the steam fire engines of this country stand without rivals in the world. In England those of Shand, Mason & Co., and Merryweather & Sons, ail of a less powerful and a lighter type than those in the United States, claim to surpass them; but,however well they may serve their purpose in Rritish and European cities, they would be held in very little account by even a third-class American fire department, accustomed as the firemen over here are to the magnificent results produced by the engines of the I,a France, American, and Amoskeag type. Of these are given some illustrations in this number showing the contrast between an early type of Silsby steamer and one of a later make. The old Rotterdam, Holland, fire engine will prove interesting as showing the progress made in that country in the first quarter of the present century. This engine was of a light build, not weighing more than 1,200 pounds. It carried a complement of small diameter hose and tools and was drawn by hand. In a later issue other illustrations will be given of some old and some modern engines constructed in this country.
The reason why the American quick running engines give more satisfaction than foreign made machines is that the former approach very nearly to those of the locomotive, whose suction pipe equals the size of the barrel of the pump itself. This is a make which is dictated by common sense,since time. however short, is required to enable any operation to be carried out, especially when water is being pumped, and the pumping has to be carried on through all kinds of difficulties in the way of friction and othc causes of impediments. The American engines come first in this way, then the English—a very bad type of proportions being those of the quick-running machines where the direction of motion is changed oftenest in the shortest time,and the area of suction-opening is least when compared with area of pump piston, so that the largest space has to be filled through the smallest hole, and that, too, in the smallest amount of time — the stroke being so short and the direction of motion so rapidly changed in the short period during which the piston moves in any given direction.
From what has been already written it will be seen that the first steam fire engines in America were self-propellers. These were superseded by those drawn by horses after a period of trial in this country. In England Mr. William Roberts, of Millwali. built the first self-propelled steam fire engine ever made in Europe. It was a three-wheeler—the wheel in front being the steering wheel. It would drive machinery or hoist or propel the engine. The extreme length of this seif-propeller was twelve feet, six inches; its extreme breadth six feet, four inchts, and its gross weight, with coal, water, hose.ladder,and tools complete, vas a little over seven and onehalf tons. It was hung on springs and had a Henson’s “ forced circulation” boiler in which the water was forced through a series of parallel tubes, laid ho-izontally and exposed to the action of the fire, connected with a large vessel called the receiver for collecting the steam. In this boiler between this receiver and the tubes was at first a small donkey,or circulating pump, which kept up the circulation of the water, and was in lependent of, and additional to the force pump. This was afterwards materially altered. The engine power consisted of two vertical cylinders six inches in diameter, with a twelveinch stroke, working the crank shaft, etc., by means of crossheads and side rods. The pumps were double acting, each nine inches In diameter, with an eight inch stroke, and filled eight inches of the barrel at each double stroke of the piston. The power of the cylinders was applied by pitch chains to cither or both of the driving wheels (which were five feet in diameter)—the chains getting up the speed Hy driving with one wheel and the steering wheel in front of three feet in diameter being “put over,” the engine turned in a circle of twelve feet in diameter. It may be added that on the engine was a pulley or rigger Used to drive machinery of any kind, besides a windlass to be used for hoisting purposes. As a self-propeller the engine was a success; but such engines have not been adopted in England.
In this country they were tried in New York city and also in Detroit, Mich.; but were not considered as suitable for the work required of them in hastening to a fire as those hauled by horses. In Hartford, Conn., however, “Jumbo,” up to recent date the biggest self-propeller known, is counted a success, while that just built by the Manchester works for the fire department of Boston has been adopted and is looked upon as in every way suitable even for rapid speeding in the narrow streets of that city. Its capacity is 1,850 gallons a minute. In size it is extra double first class, and from the ground to the top of the engine it stands ten feet high—its length over all being sixteen feet, six inches and its width seven feet, three incht s. It easily throws a two-inch stream 319 1-2 feet into the air.
(A full description of this engine and the trials to which it has been subjected has recently appeared in FIRE AND WATER).
(To be continued.)