THE OATWAY FIRE-ALARM SYSTEM.
Mr. G. H. Oatway is showing in the Royal Insurance Buildings in New York, the MayOatway system of automatic fire-alarms which made its first appearance in this country at the convention of Fire Engineers in Washington. D. C. This is the first of the British systems to enter the field on this side of the Atlantic. It is a wonderfully simple device, in which the expansion of copper wire is made to discover the fire. This wire lengthens rapidly as the temperature rises, and either closes or opens an electric circuit. A new feature in the art is brought into use in this connection. The wire is protected front injury’ by a covering channel, which acts the part of a compensating balance in a watch. The alarm is not given upon reaching some fixed temperature, hut upon a pre-determined rise—that is, instead of waiting for r50° I’., as in the case of a solder, the MayOatway system is adjusted to give the alarm upon a rise of so many degrees. This is automatically governed by the compensating balance, and the fire gets only the same start when the thermometer is standing at freezing point as it does in the greatest heat of summer. The wire, being several feet in length, picks up the heat with great rapidity, and the fire is announced in a very few seconds. The danger spot is shown by indicator-shutters in the usual way, and the alarm is telegraphed direct to the fire department by an instrument which is automatically controlcd, which checks itself, if started accidentally. This system is largely used in Great Britain. It is admitted to the leading fire stations, and approveu by all fire insurance companies who have lately doubled the rebate allowed to its users. It created a favorable impression amongst the fire chiefs at Washington.