8o THE SCIENTIFIC MONTHLY
tbey now are, inexpensive devices that will at once extinguish any fire in. the room in which it originates.
The economic system of fire insurance under private management^ as it has developed^ has suppressed individual initiative in fire preven- tion^ has distracted attention from the real problem and has been the actual cause of postponing its solution for these many years. As devel- oped, the system has proved one of the most colossal economic blunders, as it is one of the most absurd and childish. For thirty years the author has been interested in this subject, but only during the last five years has he seen any discussion of it, either scientific or popular, and never has he found any recognition of the utter economic absurdity of the present system of dealing with fire. There are a few glinmierings of awakening interest. Let us hope they prove an earnest of a genuine and adequate attack upon the problem.