TOPICS OF THE DAY.
WE have received from Chiefs Eaton, of Hartford, and Hendrick, of New Haven, copies of their last annual reports, handsomely bound. They will please accept our thanks for this and other favors.
THE New York State Firemen’s Association assembled in annual Convention at Canandaigua on Tuesday last. Elsewhere will be found a letter from the editor of THE JOURNAL descriptive of a portion of the proceedings. Next week we shall print in full a report of all that transpired during the three days the convention was in session.
LAST week we gave a description of the Hayes’ Extension Ladder, together with an illustration of it in practicil use. It is pronounced by experienced judges to be the most practicable Fire Ladder made. This Ladder will be exhibited at Washington at the Chiefs’ Convention, and cannot fail to attract especial attention. It will be worth the visit of many Chiefs to see this one thing, provided nothing else were offered to interest them.
THE latest: We hear of a hose agent who lately offered to guarantee his hose five years, and to resist 900 pounds pressure ! Of course, he expected to leave a loophole in the guarantee through which he could crawl, if occasion required, without taking his hose with him. Such guarantees are the height of absurdity. What is the use of 900 pounds pressure ? Why not make it 9000 ? One has as much sense as the other, when 150 pounds pressure exceeds the average used in actual service. The proper way to buy hose is to purchase from a responsible manufacturer under a contract that he shall replace any defective hose furnished. Hose is a difficult article to make, and the best makers are liable to turn out lengths which contain defects that they cannot discover. These appear when subjected to pressure, and they will show it the first time pressure is put on. Manufacturers have their reputations at stake and cannot afford to have defective hose retained in service, therefore they are more than willing to take it back. But to ask them to guarantee it against rough usage and wear and tear for four or five years, is exacting too much. Deal with responsible firms, and dispense with such nonsensical guarantees as that alluded to.
HARTFORD, Conn., has some of the most convenient Engine-houses we have ever seen. They are large and roomy, the stables in splendid condition, well ventilated, and everything about them in the very best order. They have, also, splendid horses for the apparatus. In some of the houses, the up-stairs rooms are occupied by the families of the drivers, which is an exceedingly convenient arrangement. Hartford has an excellent Fire Alarm System, put in by the Gamewell Company. Mr. Roberts, Superintendent of the Telegraph, has devised an attachment for disclosing when an accident has happened to the wires which would cut out any of the Engine-houses. It is very ingenious and effective, notifying the men in the house whenever an accident has occurred on their circuit. Chief Eaton takes great pride in his Department, and enjoys the confidence of the citizens in the highest degree.
THE Parker House, at Boston, came near sharing in the destruction occasioned last week by the burning of Tremont Temple. If the guests of the Parker House would go up in the cupola of the City Hall, and look down upon the roof of the house they occupy, they would derive a realizing sense of the peril they are exposed to in case a fire should break out in the hotel at night. There seems to be no way of getting out whatever, and little chance of reaching them from the outside. Yet the Parker House is no worse off than any other of the large hotels, which tower up six, eight or ten stories. If guests once took a fair survey of the premises, and see how little provision has has been made for their escape in case of fire, they would scarcely take the risk of sleeping so high above the ground.
THE Officers of the National Association of Fire Engineers have authorized the publication of a statement to the effect that the Riggs House, at Washington, will be recognized as the duly appointed Headquarters of Fire Engineers at the coming Convention, which convenes in that city September 9. In order that all the members may be well and cheaply accommodated, and that they may be together, arrangements have been made with the management of the hotel by which all Members of the Convention will be provided for in a thorough manner, at the greatly reduced rate of $2 per day. The Riggs is one of the very best hotels in the city, and its location is convenient to the place of meeting. It was only after repeated efforts that the Officers of the Association succeeded in obtaining a reduction of prices. Upon arrival all members are requested to register at this hotel. THE JOURNAL is assured that every one will be well cared for, and that entire satisfaction will be given in the way of entertainment and surroundings.
WE are informed that in a neighboring city there is so much disagreement between ihe Chief and his Assistants that the effectiveness of the Department is much affected. The Assistants are greatly to blame if they do not give a cordial and unqualified support to their superior officer. He may not suit them in all he does, but he is nevertheless the Chief, the responsible officer to whom citizens look for the proper management of the Department. Nothing so much tends to the demoralization of an organized force as dissensions among the commanding officers. This was abundantly illustrated during the late war, and cost the country thousands of lives and millions of money. If the Assistants do not like their Chief, the only honorable course for them to pursue is to resign. To retain their positions and work to undermine their Chief, or to counteract his efforts, is cowardly. If they claim to be men, they should act in a manly manner, and either cooperate with their superior officer for the good of the service, or give place to others who will do so.
A NEW fire-escape was exhibited at Leggett’s Hotel week before last, in the presence of a number of the officials of the Fire Department and other interested persons. It differs from all other escapes in that it is self-acting. It consists of a brass block, within which there is a series of springs. These cause the rope, after it has been run out in the operation of lowering a person from a window, to return to the block, and thus be ready for instant use a second time without the aid of assistants. The block also contains a self-acting governor, on the same principle as those used on Steam Engines, so that the rope will not descend with greater rapidity when there are four persons on it than when it contains only one. This was demonstrated successfully several times. The descents were made on Saturday from the fourth-story windows of the hotel, and were accomplished in about five seconds, the inventor claims that this escape is very substantial and will last for years. Its machinery is not complicated. Its principal utility would be for high tenement-houses and large factories. Once placed in position it is always ready for use, and requires no attention. An exhibition of the apparatus is soon to be given before the Board of Aldermen. The number of fire-escapes now in the market and offered for sale to a discriminating public may be represented by the figures 5,000,000,000,000, and the public discriminates against them all, and buys none of them.
WE alluded to the fact last week that Galvin Brothers, of Detroit, Mich., manufacturers of the “ Wedge ” coupling, were desirous of having a competitive test before the Convention of Chief Engineers in Washington, between manufacturers of hose couplings. Their idea would be for each manufacturer to couple up 500 feet of hose with his own coupling, submit the same to a high pressure ; then take off the coupling, and reset it on the same hose. The object of this test is to see which coupling can be attached to hose quickest and with least difficulty ; which can be removed and re-set quickest; which will stand the greatest pressure without blowing off, and which injures the hose least. Galvin Brothers not only desire that the Chiefs shall arrange for such a test, but they challenge other manufacturers to compete with the “ Wedge ” couplings, and are willing to stake $500 on the result. We should be glad to see such a trial. The coupling-up of hose, re-setting couplings, etc., is something with which Firemen are not as familiar as they should be. Such work is generally regarded as belonging to manufacturers, and not within the province of Firemen. The fact is, the setting of couplings should be made an operation so simple that it can be done by the men in the Engine houses, thus saving cost of repairs and the necessity of taking hose out of service while such work is being done. The more simple and convenient all such points are made the easier is the work of the men. We presume most of the couplings manufacturers will be present at the National Convention of Chiefs in Washington, September 9, and there is little doubt but the test Galvin Brothers desire can be arranged.