TO GUARD AGAINST BREAKING LADDERS.
Many and marked as have been the recent improvements in fire apparatus, the ladders used are still of the same type and as liable as ever to break under the weight of the firemen, thereby causing death or severe injury to those who are thus thrown to the ground. The sight of such an accident caused Mellville P. Hayward, of Quincy, Mass. (The Folding Brace company), to invent and patent the folding ladder brace illustrated herewith, the use of which adds strength to the ladder and is an effectual safeguard against its breakage. The brace in question is simplicity itself and consists of a lever or handle connected with a brace (which can thus be operated from the ground), a steel wire rope or cable, and a “take-up box.” The brace is put on the underside of the ladder on each side, as shown in the accompanying illustration. The steel wire rope, which has a breaking strength of about two tons, is fastened at the upper end of the ladder by a strap-eye, and is carried over the end of the brace arm, in which a roll prevents the cable from wearing as the brace is opened and closed; and is fastened at the lower end to an eye bolt, and that in turn to the spring in the ” take-up box,” so called because it incloses the mechanism for taking up the tension of the cable when the brace is open, and the slack when the brace is closed. On the eye-bolts are check-nuts, which provide for the adjusting of the tension of the cable. These are brought up against the inside of the slotted end of the take-up” box ” when the brace is opened, and take the strain of the cable. The “take-up box” is made very strong; it has a slot in one end for the eye-bolt to work and is used ns an anchor for the lower end of the cable. It likewise incloses the spring and check-nut, thus rendering them safe from being interfered with by outsiders. The connection rod is of tubing, to insure lightness as well as slrength. The handle or lever is held in post ion when the brace is closed by a simple spring catch, although there is little danger that it will onen, since the tension of the spring holding the cable tight and straight has a tendency to keep the brace closed. When the brace is open, the handle is held in place by a simple, yet safe spring lock, which lays hold of the end of the handle, and was designed especially for this purpose. In a set of the highest class, the several parts of the brace are made from ordnance bronze castings—that metal being tough and safe and taking any one of the many styles of finish. Any metal desired, however, may be used. The system of crossbracing as used on extension ladders deserves special attention. Both sections of the ladder are equipped with a folding ladder brace, just as is the single ladder; but by doing away with the upper two rounds of of the ground section, a lap of about four feet is gained, and the ends of the cables, instead of being opposite each other when the ladder is extended, w ill be about three feet apart—that is, the lower end of the top section will be some eighteen inches or so below the centre, and the upper end of the bottom section will be the same distance above the centre—tints making the cables cross each other in the form of an XThe length of this cross-brace depends on the number of rounds taken out of the ground section. Thus, besides double wood, there is a double brace, whose tendency is to cause the centre of the ladder to lift up when under weight, instead of the (train coming at one point, as would be the case if one set of cables began where the other set ended. With this system of cross-bracing, therefore, there is no point on any extension ladder that is not braced. There are no brace-poles in the way when the folding ladder brace is in service, and it is not in the way when closed, as it folds up alongside the rungs of the ladder, leaving the rounds free and clear. New ladders, when made with the object in view of putting on a folding ladder brace, can be. constructed so much lighter that, when completed, they will not. weigh any more than an ordinary department ladder now in use,