The Paris Exposition.
“John Thomas,” the quaint correspondent of the Graphic, thus mentions some of the fire escapes to be seen at the Paris Exposition:
“Many new inventions at Exposition. Curious, but not useful. For instance: fire-escapes; have seen some with tackle and gear enough to hoist a small ship out of water. Sailor might possibly adjust one in half an hour to seventh story of burning house; only, the house must burn slow. Again:patent fire-ladders in Italian department; resembles pattern of those which broke and killed three Firemen in New York some time ago. N. B.—Fireescapes seem to kill about as often as they cure. Again: find the same pattern as that which slipped from Astor House fourth story windows some months ago. Inventor wished then to bring his apparatus into notice. Did it. Fell and killed himself. Advertised his fire-escape all over United States in four hours. By telegraph. N. B. (to other inventors)—Go thou and do likewise.
“ Patent machines should always be grown on the ground where they are to be used. Better invent houses which wont burn than ladders for getting out of them and break your neck while they are burning. P. S.—Why build eight-story tinder-traps first and then spend so much time inventing traps to get out of them afterwards ? Safer to be an Indian in a wigwam. Indian’s wigwam never falls and crushes him. No boilers down stairs to blow him up. No fires overhead to roast him. Civilization has sought out many inventions. ‘Pears to me some on ’em kill as many as they cure.
“ Have seen Grand Firemen’s Parade. Sixtyseven Companies. Procession. All on Sunday. Average, fifteen men to a Company. Three buglers, and sometimes a drum. Machine runs to the sound of bugles. Resembles bath-tub on a hand-cart. No bigger. Brakes on either end. Eight men man the brakes. It is simply a pump on a wheelbarrow. In operation, pump lifted from cart and set on the ground. Firemen have regular manual exercise. Saw the sixty-seven Companies drill in front of supposed burning building, three stories high. Two Companies at a time. Word of command given by one general officer. First operation is to tip up the hand-cart. Pump next taken off and set on the ground. Axes, short-hooked ladder and coils of rope, which cart also carries, laid convenient for use. Ladders raised to second story. Firemen ascend and enter. Hose and pipe haul d up by rope. Whereat they pump. Pumping at this trial a mere form. No water used. Exhibition terminated at second story. How these garden hose get water to the third or fourth is to me a mystery. ‘ Pompiers ’ wear several pounds of brass on their heads, short jackets, baggy trousers and very wide belt having sundry iron rings. Some indulge in embryo coat tails. Officers wear epaulettes. Drill after the fashion of artillery.’ Pompiers’ stand in place, two on either side of Cart. Each has his special function. Remainder in ranks look on. Singular sight, however, for a New York Fireman to see sixty-seven pumps on handcarts pass for a Fireman’s Parade. Next to see them tip up the carts and take the Engine off. Lastly, to see the Company run to a fire with three ‘Pompiers’ throwing away their wind on the bugles Instead of the brakes. However, there is not so much to burn in Paris as in New York. Walls and partiiions here of solid stone eighteen inches thick. New York man would have an extra store in space occupied by walls in one Parisian house.”