Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/619

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603
APPARATUS FOR EXTINGUISHING FIRES.
APPARATUS FOR EXTINGUISHING FIRES.

By JOHN G. MORSE.

DEVELOPMENT OF AMERICAN INDUSTRIES SINCE COLUMBUS. XIX.

[Concluded.]

ONE of the most important modem additions to fire-fighting apparatus is the water tower. This invention has so greatly aided in flooding out fires that it will be no exaggeration to say that the date of its introduction marks another era in the history of fire-fighting in this country. Quite appropriately, in the centennial year, 1876, Mr. John Logan, a machinist in the employ of Mr. Abner Greenleaf, of Baltimore, invented a contrivance that was encumbered with the long name of "a portable standpipe fire-extinguishing apparatus." For convenience this term has been shortened to "water tower." Mr. Greenleaf was so sure of the future usefulness of the invention that he immediately made a full-sized machine which was completed in 1879. The apparatus consisted of a firmly built crane-neck truck, in the center of which rested a length of pipe supported on a pair of trunnions. Two more sections of pipe that could be coupled to the first section were carried detached. The three sections measured fifty feet when at full length and were braced with wire ropes. By turning a hand-screw at the back, the trunnions revolved and the pipe assumed an upright position. The nozzle at the top was controlled by guide ropes, and as the pipe was raised the lower end swung under the truck and could be connected to one, two, or three steam fire engines.

The great advantage claimed was that a powerful stream could be directed at short range on a fire in the upper stories of a building when a stream from the ground would spray and strike the ceiling, and when the heat would prevent a fireman from directing a stream from the top of a ladder. The later development and use of the water tower has proved this claim to be well founded. If the buildings opposite a fire are ignited, one sweep of the water-tower stream will be of more avail than several streams from the ground. Many other advantages could be named. The first water tower was put on trial in the New York Fire Department, and was so successful that it was purchased by the authorities. Firemen generally were greatly pleased, and the press lauded the inventor in praiseworthy terms. The Fireman's Journal of September 4, 1880, alluded to the water tower as follows:

"This apparatus is really the only absolutely new appliance