The Hose Question in Convention.
Among the topics submitted to the State Convention for consideration was one asking “Which is the best Hose?” This topic was assigned to a Committee of five to report upon. Of course, they could not agree, and majority and minority reports were made, both of which are presented in other columns of the JOURNAL. Neither of these considers the hose question as men of intelligence. seeking to obtain and to impart a judicial opinion, should consider it. The majority report is an argument in favor of leather hose, and denounces fabric hose ; the minority report concedes the excellence of leather hose, but makes a plea against a universal condemnation of fabric hose. Rubber hose, which is as extensively used in the Fire Service as any other, is entirely overlooked, and no distinction is made between the various kinds of fabric hose, whether linen, lined or unlined, cotton rivetted, sewed, or woven seamless. All these, good, bad and indifferent, are lumped under the one generic head of fabric hose. This fact of itself would rob these reports of any value they might otherwise possess ; while their total ignoring of rubber hose is an indication that they were*the outcroppings simply of individual preferences, based, undoubtedly, upon the experience of their writers, and wholly lacking in that research and investigation which alone could give weight to them. The Convention evidently felt that the Committee had not done justice either to themselves or the Convention, and promptly and without debate, laid both reports upon the table, whence they were not removed.
We feel very certain that the topic, in the form presented, should never have come before the Convention, It called for a positive endorsement of some particular kind of hose, and that, we do not conceive, it is the province of the State Association to do. Even if it should assume to do so, it could only be done by a small majority, one way or the other, and the minority would not be convinced in the face of their experience and convictions, by a mere matter of two or three votes. If instead of striving to solve the vexed question, put in so positive a form, as to “ which is the best hose ?” there had been an essay upon the requirements of hose, its construction, and the best means of preserving it, much information would doubtless have been obtained of value to all Firemen, and, possibly, some suggestions made which some manufacturers would have been glad to avail themselves of. It is positive information regarding hose that is wanted, not the record of personal prejudices. While the record of individual experiences in fire matters are of value, in the matter of hose, these are so varied that if every Fireman who ever handled hose was to express his individual preference, we shculd still be as far as ever from a correct answer to the conundrum the Committee had propounded to it. The simple fact is that there is good and bad leather hose; there is good and bad rubber or “ gum ” hose of various combinations ; there is good and bad linen hose ; and good and bad cotton hose in a variety of forms. Bad hose, of any manufacture, is irredeemably bad; but because there is poor hose in both the leather, linen, cotton and rubber varieties, it does not follow that either species should be irrevocably condemned. Circumstances and conditions enter largely into a satisfactory solution of the problem that is presented to purchasers of hose. What is good for one place under certain conditions and circumstances, will not do for another where the conditions are entirely dissimilar. It is the height of folly, therefore, for any man, or any body of men, to attempt to set up their dictum as to “which is the best hose.” We are very’ glad that the New York State Convention did not attempt any such ridiculous performance. Let us have fair, honest, exhaustive discussions of the subject, to the end that purchasers may have a fair means of judging of what is best calculated to fulfill its mission under given circumstances and conditions, but do not try to crowd any particular kind of hose down the throats of men who do not want that special dose.
We do not wish to be understood as casting any reflection upon the fairness or intelligence of any of the gentlemen signing the reports in question. They were called upon to express very positive opinions upon a very delicate question, not to discuss the general subject of hose. Such opinions they gave, and, no doubt, honestly gave expression to the faith that is in them. The mistake was in putting the question in a form that did not call for careful research and investigation of the subject, or the compilation of statistics bearing upon it. It is to be hoped that the Committee on Essays will, next year, have something better and more valuable on the subject, and something that the Convention will not immediately lay on the table.