THE SCIENCE OF FIRE EXTINCTION.
In your issue of the 22d of March, a correspondent calls attention to the great amount of water used, or perhaps wasted in extinguishing fires. The subject is one of great importance, and is destined to occupy the attention of thinking Firemen in the future to a considerable extent. He says that a pound of coal does four times the work that it used to. If he had investigated a little closer he would have found that the work performed by the pound of coal is much greater, but it does not follow from this that a pound of water can be made to extinguish six or eight times as much fire as it does now—at least not in the near future. If the pound of water can be made to do twice as much work as it does now it will result in saving millions of wealth and many lives every year. Take, for instance, the using of steam in compound engines ; it is first used in a small cylinder at a high pressure, then in a larger cylinder at a lower pressure. Here we see the steam is used twice ; now, how can we use water twice? After it leaves the pipe we have no more control over it. I agree with “ Progress,” that the subject of fire extinction needs a thorough scientific investigation, but I differ with him in the method proposed of doing it. The subject is of too much importance to incur any risk of having it half done ; it will require the best of talent, and that can only be had by paying for it. To this end, I propose that a petition be presented to either the State ‘or National Legislature, for the purpose of requesting the appointment of a commission of three of our most eminent scientific men, and a sufficient appropriation of funds to compensate them for their services, and to meet the expenses incurred in experimenting. It seems to me the very recollection of the Brooklyn holocaust ought to command for such a measure the support of every member of the Legislature, irrespective of party. A few thousand dollars spent in this investigation could hardly fail of being the means of saving millions of wealth annually, and be the means of giving the public an intelligent system of fire extinguishment—a thing which we need very much. There is, perhaps, no subject of one-quarter the importance of fire extinction, but has its literature and manual of instruction; but the Fireman is left to his own judgment. His knowledge of the laws of nature may be very limited ; his actual knowledge of the nature of fire may be equally small. If you want your watch repaired, you would be unwilling to trust it to the hands of a man that had no knowledge of the business ; but you are willing to trust your house and store, and perhaps the lives of yourself and family to those who have but a very little knowledge of fire ; nor has any intelligent effort been made to furnish him with the requisite knowledge. I have pointed out a method ; start a petition, get signatures, write to your representative, invoke his assistance, to the end that the modern Fireman may be better qualified to perform his arduous duties with greater safety to himself and satisfaction to his lellow citizens. MODERATION.