The Fire Commissioners of this city, and also of several other large cities, have removed all signal lamps from the fire apparatus. We would recommend that all other Departments, large or small, follow this example. Signal lamps are very handsome, very costly, and utterly useless. They cannot be. made to burn, except on parade or in the house, and the idea that they serve to illuminate when the apparatus is going to a fire, is a delusion and a snare. They are always out of order, and exceedingly liable to get badly broken. In this city, the signal lamps, when in use, cost as much for repairs as for their original purchase. Volunteer companies are in the habit of spending large sums for elegant signal lamps—sums varying from $75 to $250. They are very handsome to look at, and serve to adorn an apparatus and make it attractive, but so far as service goes’, they are absolutely valueless. There is no good reason, save that it has always been done, why Firemen should tax themselves and their neighbors for further indulgence in these luxurious lamps. The days for ornamental display in the Fire Service have gone by, and what property-owners and tax-payers want is the best and most serviceable apparatus, without any useless or costly ornamentation. The money squandered upon signal lamps, that are of no practicable value whatever, better be spent in obtaining more hose, improved nozzles, firecoats for the men, or some of those things that are absolutely required, and are indispensible for practical service.
While signal lamps are going out of use, there is a demand for a good serviceable fire-lantern, one that will stay lighted during a run, and that will not go out at a fire on the slightest provocation. If a lantern can be invented that will reproduce the calcium light on a small scale, the inventor will make a fortune out of it, unless some one steals his patent. While New York has adopted the calcium light for service at fires, its uses are limited because of its bulkiness, the tanks containing the gases being large and clumsy. A brilliantly-reflecting lamp that will throw a strong and powerful light, that can be used in lighting the way for apparatus on a run, or for service at se fire, is one of the crying necessities of the service. We are waiting the development of the electric light to furnish the Fire Departments a practicable duty lamp to take the place of the useless signal lamps now being discarded.