THE GAMEWELL FIRE ALARM COMPANY.
It seems as if before very long the Gamewell Fire Alarm Telegraph Company will enjoy a monopoly in its own peculiar line. A glance at the Handbook of Water Works Statistics and Fire Department Equipment will show that in a very large percentage of cities and towns in the United States and Canada the Gamewell apparatus has been installed, while week by week there appear in the columns of FIRE AND WATER notices either of new installations of the system or of its being added to or fitted with the company’s most recent improvements, as in the case of St. Paul, Minn., or Allegheny, Pa., in which last city the new switchboard and the equipment in general, are claimed as the finest in the United States. The auxiliary fire alarm system is one of the features of the Gamewell system that ts most conspicuous for the benefits accompanying its use The auxiliary boxes are placed throughout a building as convenience dictates, and are connected with the nearest fire alarm box. In case of tire, it is necessary only to break a Small glass in the front of the box, pull down the ring, and the alarm is given instantly,and the fire department on its way to the fire many seconds—often minutes—before the quickest runner could reach the nearest box—and it roust be remembered that seconds count in the beginning of a tire. A loud buzzing in the box acts as a “ return signal ” and shows that the alarm has been received by the department. Such a system minimizes the danger of panic, and practically multiplies indefinitely the number of street boxes. It is available wherever there are fire alarm boxes and is not limited to special boxes; it is also available for use in prmises where thermostatic alarms are impracticable; and can likewise be sent in from auxiliary boxes in outside premises, if observed by watchmen or others on premises having auxiliary alarms. It may be noticed that from February 14, 1896 to February 20, 1898. out of 141 auxiliary alarms sent in from premises so equipped in the boroughs of Manhattan, N. Y., and Brooklyn, N. Y. not one was a failure. As complementary to the auxiliary fire alarm system is the Montauk “ Multiphase’’ cable, furnished by the Gamewell Company, which, when connected with the auxiliary system, renders it automatic, since from the peculiar sensitiveness of thiscble whenever the smallest flame or the least amount of abnormal heat reaches any portion of the wire, the alarm is instantly transmitted to headquarters, as if the street alarm box had been operated by hand. Such a combined system, it may be noticed, like the auxiliary system itself, is always under automatic test, so that any disarrangement of the wires anti batteries is instantly made known.
Independently, however, of either the auxiliary or the combined system, the Gamewell fire alarm telegraph is an indispensable wherever there is a fire department, as by it an instantaneous alarm can be at once sent over the wires either to the gongs in the fire stations or to bells in their towers, in churches, school houses, or public buildings, and the firemen immediately summoned to the scene of the fire Of the two batteries in use, the gravity and the storage, the latter is by far more satisfactory as well from the standpoint of economy as of efficiency. In order, therefore to secure to its customers the best results, the Gamewell Company has effected an arrange, ment with the Electric Storage Battery Compiny, of Philadel. phia, for the exclusive handling of its storage battery for fire alarm and police telegraph purposes. The type of cell recom. mended by the company is the “3B” chloride accumulator, the size of which is six inches by four inches by two inches. It contains three plates or elements, two negative and one positive—each plate being three inches by three inches; its capacity is seven ampere hours. In the use of the storage battery system, a duplicate set of battery is provided for each circuit, in order that one set may be charged while the other is being discharged; but, as one cell of storage battery is practically equivalent to two cells of gravity, the total number of cells is the same as in a gravity plant. Its advantages include economy of space by two-thirds of the gravity battery; no formation or creeping of salts; greater cleanliness; no need to buy zincs, coppers, or bluestone; cost, one-third less than the gravity cell—often the charging current is supplied free by local light or fire companies; the electro-motive force and internal resistance are practically constant; the discharge of current is regular and uniform; and as duplicate batteries are providedfor each circuit, there is one always in reserve ready for immediate use, in case of accident.
The Gamewell factory at Newton-Upper-Falls, Mass., covers a large space, and is equipped with the best and most modern machinery. All the operatives employed have been either trained by the company or selected on account of their thorough knowledge of the work required from them. Hence the apparatus turned out is as near perfection as modern science can produce. The company, however, is always on the lookout for more worlds to conquer in the field of fire alarm and police telegraphy. and ever ready to adopt even the slightest improvement, from whatever source it comes, that may inure to the benefit of the service it supplies to the public.