With the Fire Chief.
“Quite an amusing incident was related in our office the other day,” said the local editor of The Chicago Post to a couple of congenial friends as the trio were looking into a big mirror in front of which was artistically arranged a quantity of fancy glassware in the basement of the Hotel Richelieu.
“Yes?” said one of the listeners.
“Yes,” repeated the editor, “and the incident illustrates once more the truth of the poet’s remark that ‘fools rush in where angels fear to tread.’ It was this way : A ‘4-11 ’ alarm of fire had struck on the office fire-gong and a bright young reporter was sent to get the facts. When he returned one of the ‘ boys ’ of the office noticed a peculiar expression on his face and inquired whether anything of more than special interest had occurred. ‘ I had a little adventure, wherein the joke is on me, but the story is too good to keep.’
“ ‘ Let us have it,’ demanded those of the staff who were present.
“ ‘ When I reached the scene of the fire the flames had been drowned out by the engines, and all that remained to be done was to get particulars as to losses, ownership and so on. I forced my way through the surging crowd, got inside the fire lines and approached a little group of men standing in front of the ruins. In the group were several newspaper boys, to whom a man in smoke-stained clothes was giving information concerning the fire—its probable origin, the names of the tenants and other facts which should appear in a well-ordered report of a fire. “lam in luck,” I thought. “ This man must be the owner of the burned building and I won’t have to hustle for facts.” The man’s appearance justified my assumption as to his identity. He seemed to take a deep interest in the fire and the damage occasioned by it, and he was entirely familiar, it seemed, with all the details. His face had a quiet, resigned expression, as though he was sorry it happened, but glad the insurance was all right.
“ 11 began questioning him with the rest. When we reached the matter of damage to the building I asked him how much he thought it might amount to.
*’ ‘ “ Oh, about $20,000,” he replied.
“ ‘ To my mind that was plainly an exaggeration. The man was making his loss 01ft greater than it really was in order to get better terms from the insurance adjuster. But he couldn’t come that game on me, so I replied, with possibly a shade of incredulity in my tone :
* ‘ “You mean ffxroo, don’t you?” ,
“ ‘ ” No, 1 mean $20,000,” he replied.
“ ‘ “ Fire seems to expand your ideas of value,” said 1, this time with a bit of contempt indicated in my speech.
“ • ” Maybe you know more about fires than 1 do,” retorted he, and now he seemed to be trying to express contempt for my opinion.
“ ‘ “ That’s what I do,” said I.
“ * “ 1 guess not,” he replied.
•* ‘ We were both talking loud by this time, and the rest of the crowd were silent and listening.
“ ” ” Why,” 1 said, ” I’m a newspaper man and I’ve written up more tires than you ever heard of.”
“Oh, you have?” said the man, now smiling quite sneeringly. “ Well, 1 am Fire Inspector Conway, and I’ve seen every fire in Chicago for the last twenty years.”
“ • “Come on, everybody,” said I, “it’s on me this time.” ’ ”
FLEXIBLE Glass.—Herr Eckstein, an Austrian engineer, claims to have discovered a strong and flexible substance, as transpatent as the ordinary brittle glass, says The Engineering and Mining Journal. His process is as follows: From four to eight parts collodion wool are dissolved in about one per cent in weight of ether or alcohol. This solution is intimately mixed with from two to four per cent of castor oil or other non-resinous oil, and from four to ten percent of resin or Canada balsam. This mixture is spread on a glass plate and dried under the influence of a current of hot air of about fifty deg., C., by which it is transformed in a comparatively short space of time into a transparent, hard, vitreous plate, the thickness of which can be regulated as desired. The material thus obtained is said to resist the action of salts, alkalies and acids, and besides being transparent is odorless. It is flexible, and almost unbreakable. Its inflammability is much inferior to that of other collodion combinations, and it can be further reduced by the addition of magnesium chloride, while an admixture of zinc-white produces an ivory appearance. Any color or shade may be imparted to the new glass.