THE LA FRANCE FIRE ENGINE COMPANY.
Still in the front rank of fire fighting appliances stand the engines, the hook and ladder trucks, and fire escapes of the La France Fire Engine Company, of Elmira, N. Y. For nearly a quarter of a century this firm has built only the highest class of machines, and taken advantage of the best talent in constructing and improving them, with the result that among firemen La France is a “name to conjure with.” As is well known, the company builds a modern engine of the reciprocating or piston type, an illustration of which is given herewith. The La France new-style piston has been on the market five years, and is equipped with the La France patent nest-tube boiler, so well and favorably known to fire departments all over the United States ar.d Canada. It supplies an abundance of steam for the longest and heaviest fire duty. The engine has six principal points of excellence. First.—The accessibility of thft receiving and discharge valves, and the interior mechanism of the pump, which last need not be taken down, nor need its outside mechanism be interfered with. The pump is doubleacting, and stands upright in the engine. It has also a novel construction and arrangement of the inlet and outlet passages through the pump barrel. The sets of valve chambers are double, arranged in front or the accessible side of the pump casing, closed by separate lids, and with all the valves grouped in the closest relation with each other.
Second.—The ease and quickness with which examination of the pump valves and all interior mechanism can be made i another improvement. The time required to expose both receiving and discharge valve does not exceed ten minutes, and the old valves can be removed and a new set substituted in about one hour’s time. In the best type of fire engine pumps, the same operation could not be accomplished in less than eight hours’ time. All that is required with the new style of pump is to unscrew the lids without disturbing the end covers of the pump. In fact, the top and bottom ends of the pump are cast solid, together with the barrel and pump casing.
Third.—The pump is cylindrical in form and thus very strong and capable of resisting the heaviest pressures.
Fourth.—Owing to the peculiar construction of the pump, its capacity is very large in pioportion to its sixe.
Fifth.—The top and bottom barrel-heads, stuffing-boxes, and casing being all one solid brass casting,there are positively no leaks—a great source of annoyance in all other styles of pumps.
Sixth.—The weight of the pump is less than one half of that of the old styles.
Some of the other improvements are: A new style of engine yoke, light, strong and neat in appearance. The troublesome nuisance of slide and link-boxes is entirely done away with; instead. we have a mechanical movement running quietly and noiselessly and almost without friction. There is no perceptible jolting or jarring of the machine. There are two forcepumps provided for feeding the boiler, easy of access and simple of construction. The water is fed into the boiler under the firebox door; this system prevents the collecting of scale of mud under the door-ring and also prevents the nuisance of a leaky fire box door. The grate is of an improved form, having a ring cast on its periphery, extending above the rivets round the bottom of the boiler, and preventing them from becoming overheated and leaking. The entire engine iscontroled from the engineer’s side, making it unnecessary for him to be out of reach of his throttle valve in case of accident. Every engine is furnished with the best make of steam and water gauges. An additional steam gauge is placed on back of boiler for the fireman; try-cocks and water-glass for engineer, and oil-pump for steam cylinders. In fact, there is nothing wanting in the way of fixtures and their distribution, to make the engine perfect in every respect The tngines are carried ei her on platform’ springs, half elliptic springs, or spiral springs, as may suit the taste or convenience of purchases
The La France independent sectional water-lube boiler was patented on July4, 1895 and May 11, 1897. Theaccompanying illustration shows (1) a sectional view of the boiler; (2) a top view, with the openings in the central section through which the products of combination pass to the stack; and (3) a bottom view of the boiler, showing the several circulating section or clusters of tubes, with their connections. M is the outer shell of the boiler,and .N the inner shell concentric therewith. and having its upper portion of less diameter than its lower portion, thus forming an enlarged steam chamber P, between the two shells above the water-leg O. The large cluster of tubes B is centrally located in the fite-box, and extends from extreme top of boiler to a point just above the door, and is independent of the smaller circulating clusters L, receiving water directly from the feed pumps through pipes A, and delivering it to the water space of the boiler by way of elbows C, and copper overflow tubes D. It is hung from the top of the boiler by means of the hangers J. The outer sections, or clusters of tubes L which are grouped round the outside of the lower portion of section B, are connected at top and bottom with the leg of the boiler by means of elbow and nipple connections H and I, respectively. There aie several of these sections, and they form the circulating system of the boiler, being hung in the fire-box just above the grate. All of these sections, or clusters, consist of hollow headers K, connected together by one and one-quarter-inch tubes S,expanded into holes provided therefor in the headers. The headers are also provided with a number of s-moke openings R, through which products of combustion pass and expand in the space be. tween the water-tubes S. The section B is provided with two feed-water inlet pipes, A, which pass from the force-pumps through two shells by way of thimbles T. The feed-water passes through this section to discharge openings or elbows C, at top of boiler, thence through the light copper overflow tubes D, to the water-leg below, passing through the steam chamber P. The steam which is generated from the water circulating through this section rises to the steam chamber P, and the water not yet formed into steam passes down the water-leg to the inlet openings I, of lower clusters L, thence upwards through the several clusters L,to the large connection H. at a point just below the normal water line. Steam rises into steam chamber P, and the water descends through the water-leg, thus keeping up a very rapid circulation of water throughout the entire length of the boiler, thereby preventing the formation of ycale or mud round the tubes or shells, and depositing all impurities at extreme bottom of boiler, where plugs are provided for its removal. A dry pipe E encircles shell N at the extreme top of chamber P, and is provided with numerous small holes aH round its upper side, through which dry steam is received into the pipe and delivered to steam pipe F. which passes down inside steam space P, and passes out of the boiler in line with the steam chest connection. The advantages attaching to such a type of boiler are many, not the least of which are the large amount of water that can be carried while the boiler is being worked, thus increasing its efficiency,and the rapidity with which steam can be raised from cold water and the steadiness with which the desired amount of steam can be maintained whileworking the engine at its maximum.