The Fire Prevention and Life Protection Association.
The “Marquis” de Leuville, chairman of the executive council of the Fire Prevention and Life Protection Association, has been making a sort of provincial tour for the purpose of carrying out the objects of the association, one of which is to make the public acquainted with the thousand and one inventions for escaping from burning premises. The marquis is said to he “a nobleman of great intellectual ability and attainments, a poet, a painter, a composer, an art critic, an elocutionist, a journalist and a thorough sportsman.” “ He is about forty-five years of age, of stalwart frame, and has a commanding appearance, being six feet three inches in height.” This brilliant combination of noble birth, with great physical powers and high intellectual attainments, arrived at Derby recently, accompanied by “ Captain Louis, chief commissioner of fire brigades’ manoeuvres and exhibition (France, 1855),” for the purpose of demonstrating the capabilities of a number of miscellaneous mechanical contrivances connected with the objects of the society, including a non-inflammable cement, a (fireproof lathing, a fire extincteur, “a model of a single action fire escape,” and a number of other articles. Mdlle. C. Mortimer, an actress, in costume, gave a number of demonstrations with the escapes, and then the proceedings were varied by a pianoforte solo, a song and a selection on a harp. The marquis himself next appeared on the platform, and gave an address, in which he told his audience how he went to Derby many years ago for some shooting, and what pleasant memories he brought away, and how, driving through the town that day, he had thought of his boyhood, “and when he saw the townspeople assembled to witness the demonstration he thought of the good which might lie accomplished by this visit.” And then he proceeded to tell them how “ London was formerly considered the centre of England, but now the provinces had a power, and frequently the metropolis desired to obtain the verdict of the provinces before giving its own and so the marquis had gone to Derby, where he would doubtless learn much from the model fire department in that town. The final scene was one of peculiar interest. Mdlle. Mortimer appeared on the stage in the costume of a ballet dancer, and allowed Mr. Louis to try his best to set her on fire. A flaming taper, a paraffin lamp and other lights were applied to the scant and gauzy petticoats, but without result. It then appeared that the vestments had been treated with “ Ignifuge-Martin,” a patent liquid, which rendered dress material uninflammable. The proceedings closed with the National Anthem, and an announcement by the marquis that he “ would shortly pay a second visit to Derby.”
We have been asked by a score of correspondents whether this society is to he taken seriously or not, and for the life of us we cannot tell. Its objects are as praiseworthy as its methods arc peculiar. We do not !>elieve it is a concern started for commercial purposes. But all its proceedings are more or less curious and eccentric—we referred to some of them in our October number—its ladies’ committees and the fire game, etc. No person of any authority or position in the fire service appears to have been consulted ; nor. indeed, does the name of more than one gentleman known to have taken an intelligent interest, even in an amateur sort of way, in fire matters, appear in connection with the society. The names of the inventors of the contrivances shown are, with two exceptions, quite unknown to us. But, at least, if the society does little good, it is evident it can do no harm, and perhaps the Marquis de I.euville, working in his own way, may succeed where others, walking in more usual channels, have hitherto failed.— The Fireman, London,
As a substitute for granite blocks steel paving is attracting considerable attention, its durability being said to be quite a point in its favor, and its cost being somewhat less. It consists of steel strips about two and a half inches wide and one inch thick, rolled with a channel on the side exposed to traffic, and with notches about six inches apart. These strips weigh eleven pounds to the yard, are laid across the street a distance of about five inches between centres and their length is only sufficient to extend to the middle of the street, so that the proper slope from the centre to the gutters can be secured. They are bolted together so as to secure them against lateral slipping, and are fastened to wooden sills. A firmly constructed bed of gravel composes the support for this pavement, while between the steel strips a mixture of pitch and cement is poured, filling the interstices to a level with the tops of the strips, and rendering the surface comparatively smooth.