WHAT GOES TO MAKE UP A MODERN FIRE DEPARTMENT.
GLANCE at the advertisements of fire apparatus and other equipment connected with fire service and fire protection cannot but cause the fireman of the olden time to congratulate his brother of today on the progress made in the evolution of new appliances, and to marvel at the good work he and his comrades were able to effect under the ancient regime of handtubs, leather hose, and rude hook and ladder arrangements. From the medieval fire squirt and oaken bucket to the hand engine of two or three generations back was a long stride; another was that from the handtub to the early steam fire engines of the Latta and later types—each a great advance upon its predecessor, and all sinking into insignificance when compared with the New Yorker and_____other fireboate, or the wonderful creations of the La France Fire Engine company, the American Fire Engine company, the Amoskeag engines of the Manchester Locomotive works, those of the Waterous type, or the simple, light, and powerful steamers turned out by Thomas Manning, jr., & Co., of Cleveland, Ohio, any one of which will discharge in one minute a flood of water, compared with which the feeble stream thrown by their predecessors was as that of a squirt to a handpump.
Or to take the hose of previous generations and compare it with that in use by modernly equipped fire departments. Made of unyielding leather, heavily studded with copper nails, and overweighted with unwieldy couplings, how did it ever come to pass that any fire could be extinguished by its means; or how, considering all these disadvantages, could it be handled as it was by the firemen of forty or fifty years ago—seeing that it is sometimes no easy task for the nowaday firemen to manipulate even the light and flexible Centaur brand of rubber, Cotton or linen fire hose, as supplied by the Manhattan Rubber Manufacturing company, the Jacket cotton, rubber-lined fire hose of the New York Belting and Packing company, New York, the rubberlined cotton fire hose manufactured by Cornelius Callahan, of Canton Junction, Mass., the ChapmanMcLean Rubber company, of New York, or the recognized standards in hose of the Boston Woven Hose and Rubber company, the Chicago Fire Hose company, the Cornelius Callahan company, of Boston, or the Eureka Fire Hose company and the Fabric Hose company, of New York?
But whatever difficulty was originally encountered, owing to the clumsy couplings and poor nozzles, has now been more than overcome by such couplings as the “Quick-as-Wink,” of the W. J. Clark company, of Salem, Ohio, or the Finerty hose coupling expanders, of the New York Coupling and Supply company. Or if the hose should burst, as leather hose persisted in doing—even our modern hose being occasionally addicted to that failing—what is easier than to put on a Cooper jacket, as manufactured by the Cooper Hose Jacket company, of Minneapolis, Minn.?
Again, when there recurs the remembrance of the evolution of fire streams, the mind goes back to the time when the acme of perfection in such streams was height and distance only. Nowadays something more is looked for. The stream must be heavy, must spray, must be solid, must spread, as occasion demands, must be easily cut off when required,while the nozzle must be at once strong, light, and easily manipulated. For answering such requirements the “Eastman,” the Callahan “Shut-off,” the Phillips “Monitor,” the “Defender” nozzles, throwing sprayor solidstreams either separately or together, if desired, will be found invaluable.
Is a signal required for rapidly shifting the hose by the pipemen from place to place, so as to cope with new outbreaks of fire? It is supplied by the electric hose signals of the National Electric Hose Signal company of Boston—one of the most modern, as it is one of the most effective improvements in the present methods of fighting fires. It saves both property and, what is of greater importance, the lives of the firemen. The Larkin automatic reliefvalve for hydrant or engine service not only saves hose, but is also an assistance to the firemen, as is also the Mayer relief-valve, whose automatic action is perfect. And in connection with fire streams and the apparatus for throwing them, the Hale and”Champion” water tower and the battery, as used by the San Francisco fire department, must not beomitted. Without these thefire department of no largecity can be looked upon as complete, and if the buildings are high anywhere such apparatus is essential in case of fire. One great advantage is that they release so many more firemen for active duty,and so each proves literally a “tower of strength” to every department that makes use of such a means of firefighting.
It is well known that a fire may nearly always be quenched in its incipieucy if the proper apparatus is at hand. To effect this, all the chemical fire extinguishers in use in every fire department—not those much advertised, but illusive powders, which turn out failures just when they should be most successful, but such engines as are supplied by the firm of Charles T. Holloway & Co., of Baltimore—the excellences of which are supplemented by the use of the “Barnes” chemical nozzle, manufactured by Henry K. Barnes, of Boston, or the “Champion” or Babcock chemical fire engines of the Fire Extinguisher Manufacturing company, of Chicago, the fine Yantacaw chemical engine, of Nutley, N. J., the Almstead chemicalizer, of Bridgeport, Conn., or the effective “Rex” piece of apparatus supplied by the “Rex” Fire Extinguisher company, of New York. When the combination chemical engines and hose wagons, such as are supplied by the Racine, Wis. Fire Engine and Motor company, and combination hook and ladder trucks, become as common as the other forms of fire-protective machinery, then more fires will be put out before they have gained too great headway to be dealt with by a chemical stream, and the insurance offices will not have to bemoan the loss of so much valuable property by water. Firemen see that that day is coming, and it cannot come too soon.
Allusion has been made to the preservation of property and the saving of life at fires. All that has already been said bears more or less directly upon these two important branches of fire service. It is clear, however, that while engine, and hose, water tower and fire-extinguisher,all tend directly towards the preservation of property, they tend only indirectly towards the preservation of life. That depends essentially upon the hook and ladder men, with their aerial ladders, their extension ladders, such, for instance, as the excellent Bangor extension ladders, made by F. H. C. Reynolds, of Bangor, Me., their fire ladders, pompier and other, their skilfully managed life-saving nets, such as the improved self-cushioned apparatus of Hunter, Long Island City (L.I.), N. Y., which are made of Russian hemp and have stood many a severe test, and the like. Hence the stress that is laid upon every fire department, whether village or city, being supplied with such apparatus. The La France company supplies the Hayes aerial truck, the Beugrave company, of Columbus, Ohio, the patent trussed ladders, which are a guarantee of safety to those who use them, the Gleuson & Bailey Manufacturing company, of Seneca Falls, N. Y,,and the Combination Ladder company, of Providence, R. I., also supply high class city and village hook and ladder trucks. If the ladders are also fitted with the folding ladder hook, made of iron, metal, or steel, as turned out by Charles H. Grant & Co., of Boston, they will be guaranteed against slipping—a most invaluable characteristic.
In conjunction with the foregoing must be coupled the modern hose wagon, by means of which the hose is so conveniently and so quickly brought into action. These, with excellent chief’s buggies and wagons for fire patrol purposes,can be procured from many of the firms already mentioned or from S F. Hayward & Co., New York and Pittsburgh. Pa., from A. F. & F. C. Stewart, of Rochester. N. Y., as well as from th Hoffman Wagon and Carriage company of the same city. Nor must the consideration that “speed in getting there” is an essential requisite towards saving life and property. In order to do that,quickness in hitching up, opening and closing the doors of the firehouse, and the very best style of wheels for the apparatus are of obligation. These conditions are best arrived at by the use of the Hale swinging harness, with adjustable collar and hames, the Thomson steel homeless collar, the improved Weider pipe collrr and fire harness, Berry’s improved hame —all of which have been tried and found “very good”—the same verdict being pronounced upon the Weston rein snap, of Henry K. Barnes, of Boston. The going power of the apparatus will be found to be improved by the Mogul draught spring of the Wilson Manufacturing company of Newark, N. J, the patent wheels, with malleable iron hubs and roll-bearing axles, of the Archibald Wheel company, of Lawrence,Mass.,while each pieceshould be braked with the Haven brake—the invention of DeLancy Haven,of Detroit, Mich., and every fire station door fitted up with the enginehouse door spring manufactured by John H.Clay, of Philadelphia.
Yet another requisite is called for, in order that the fire department may be early at the scene of a fire, and that is an up-to-date fire alarm telegraph. It is only necessary to mention that of the Gamewell company, of this city, of which over 800 plants are in actual operation in the principal cities and towns of the United States and Canada. In addition to the street boxes and wires this company also installs an auxiliary system, by which an alarm may be turned in from any building, wharf, or other structure some seconds ahead of that which is turned in from the street box. Closely related to this system are the fire-detecting wires of the Montauk Multiphase Gable company, of this city, every infinitesimal point of which is a thermostat, delicately sensitive to flame or dangerous heat—a fire-detecting wire, which not only tells that there is a fire, but also exactly where it is. In the same line with the Montauk is the patent instantaneous pyroxylin automatic electric fire alarm, the invention of Johan de Fronnnt, of Notre Damede Lourdes, Manitoba, Canada, whose action is almost like astreak of lightning. It is safe, sure, and instantaneous. And ns none but the best zinc should be used for fire alarm batteries, the Beattie zincs, manufactured at Reading, Mass., fully answer that description. As an adjunct to the fire alarm telegraph system the automatic electric light emergency switch for fire stations comes in admirably. It is to be used in the closed circuit system under all circumstances, and one special feature of this switch is that fire stations are thoroughly lighted up on the first blow of the alarm. The patentees and sole manufacturers of this most useful invention are S. A. Stewart & I. T. Pownall, of Waltham. Mass,
The intimate ally of every fire alarm which does not operate Its own gongs is the bell on which the alarm is sounded. In country villages and smaller cities—even in some larger cities—the fire alarm bell, operated by the Gamewell apparatus, is hung in the church, or schoolhouse, or fire station tower, or in the belfry of some public building. Considering the manifold duties some of these bells have to perform, and what depends upon their voices being heard in all weathers and all conditions of the atmosphere (for unless their sound goes out all round the neighborhood, mnchloss.even of life itself,may accrue through the alarm not being heard), it is altogether of obligation that these bells should have a deep rich tone, such is afforded by those of the Meneely Bell company, of Troy, N. Y., the McShane bell foundry, of Baltimore, Md., the Buckeye bell foundry, of the E. W. Vanduzen company, and the “Blymer” bell, of the Cincinnati Bell Foundry company—each one of which establishments has a high reputation for turning out not only tuneful, but sonorous bells. The New Departure Bell compauy, of Bristol, Conn., whose New York selling agents are John H. Graham & Co., may also be relied upon for its bells, whose ball bearings make them easy of operation, while a loud and distinct alarm is given out.
Another point to be taken into consideration when the subject of fire protection comes up is that of the fire hydrant, whose weakness for getting out of order,and especially freezing, and thus becoming useless just when it is most wanted, is too well known to every fireman. Hence often ensues a great destruction of property. That it is possible to manufacture a nou-freezing hydrants is proved by those turned out by the Rensselaer Manufacturing company, and The Ludlow Valve Manufacturing company, Troy, N. Y , Richard Beaumont, Kankakee, III., The Chapman Valve Manufacturing company, Indian Orchard, Mass., The Eddy Valve company, Waterford, N. Y., The Michigan Brass&Iron Works, Detroit, The Williamsport, Pa, Valve & Hydrant company. The Bourbon Copper & Brass works, Cincinnati, Ohio, R. D. Wood & Co., and Union Hydraulic works, Philadelphia, John Fox & Co., and M. J. Drummond & Co., New York, and The Reading, Pa. Foundry company.
As the lives of the firemen are at least us valuable as those of other members of the community, and as these brave men “stand in jeopardy every hour” when on duty at a fire, it is only reasonable that every care should be devoted toward preserving them in the midst of their perilous work. Hence is strongly advocated the use of the Baker cellar pipe, by means of which cellar fires, the most dreaded by firemen, can be fought from above ground, and the necessity for their going down into the suffocating atmosphere of the cellar is thereby avoided. But, as they are liable at any moment to encounter the fumes of ammonia, sulphur, und other chemicals or to be exposed to dense volumes of smoke under whose influence they are likely to be choked, the Vajen-Bader company, of Indianapolis, Ind., has provided a new improved head protector, which, while an absolute protection against all harmful atmospheres, does not incumber the wearer in the slightest, nor interfere in the least with his freedom of action. The same may be said of the “Midget” smoke protector, which weighs but three ounces and lias been “tried” and not “found wanting.” It is manufactured by A. W. Dolfini & Co., builders of fire apparatus and automobiles, Brooklyn, New York. In the same way, for the protection of their heads against blows from above, the Gleason & Bailey Manufacturing company, of New York, manufactures the Hopkins patent aluminum helmets, which combine durability with both lightness and strength, while the popular styles of helmets and other equipments supplied by Charles E. Sass, Philadelphia, Cairns & Brother, Anderson&Jones, and John Olson, New York, fittingly serve their purpose. The last three named also furnish all sorts of firemen’s personal equipments, regulation rubber coats, duty and parade hats, caps, belts, shirts, trumpets (silver and plated for presentation and duty) and firemen’s exempt, honorary, and active certificates. For natty and serviceable uniforms, dress and undress coats, overcoats, trousers, caps, shirts etc., of the best material and workmanship. R. W. Stockley & Co., Henderson & Co., and George Evans & Co, all of Philadelphia, will be found most satisfactory firms to deal with, while for fire badges, in gold, silver, or baser metal, there is but one Charles Braxmar. and his establishment in Maiden Lane, New York, is so well known as to need no further notice, and for flags and banners as well as for firemen’s personul equipments, the William H. Horstman company, Philadelphia, bears a very high reputation.
The above resume of what is considered necessary nowadays for a completely equipped up-to-date fire department, would make the “rude forefathers of the hamlets,” now flourishing and populous cities, gasp and stare, could they rise from their graves and hear the list read out to them. But so it is.