THE TWENTIETH CENTURY FIRE ESCAPE.
A model of the twentieth century fire escape was exhibited in this city at the last convention of the International Association of Fire Engineers, and its feasibility was favorably commented upon by a number of the delegates present. From a Seattle, Wash., paper is taken the following description of its practical use. which was shown in a test given in that city a short time ago:
“A large crowd of spectators gathered at the Differ hotel to witness the first public demonstration of the new twentieth century fire escape, with which the building has just been equipped, at a cost of about $1,000. The exhibition was entirely a success. People were lowered from the different stories in baskets, as safely as though they had been brought down in the elevator, and the whole scene was almost as spectacular as a real fire from which many persons were being rescued by the firemen. In brief, the contrivance consists of a horizontal bar of flattened steel running round the building, underneath the cornice work, after the fashion of a trolley rail. Attached to this, at the rear of the building, is a vertical bar extending from close to the ground and connecting with the trolley near the roof. At the point where the juncture is made the trolley rail is movable. A matrix bar, containing two movable trolley wheels, to which are attached lengthy cables, is affixed at the base of the horizontal bar. and by means of another cable is quickly pulled to the top of the bar, level with the trolley rail. The movable piece in the rail gives way at the approach of the matrix containing the wheels, and. when these are on a level with the stationary portion of the cornice rails, the matrix sets the wheels free, and they pass to the rail, traveling to any place round the building desired. Before the matrix is hoisted, a basket, consisting of a solid board floor, net sides and gaspipe circular railing, is attached to the base of the trolley wheel, and, when the wheel slides to the rail under the cornice, it carries the basket with it. The baskets arc moved to the front of any window desired, and raised or lowered at will. In each is stationed a fireman, who superintends the transfer of the would-be victims from the window to the basket, and by means of the other end of the cable the basket is lowered to the ground and occupants landed safely. The working of the apparatus is very quick, and the demonstration showed that in the event of a fire a large number of people could be safely brought to the ground without harm, when every other avenue of escane was cut off. The matrix and trolley wheels, with their attachments, are all carried on the fire wagons, and can be attached to the horizontal bar in an instant.”