Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/634

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of 1857 illustrates a truck carrying a roll of sheet iron that can be raised to form a screen; and in 1872 another is pictured composed of plates that can be raised one above another. The modern high buildings make such apparatus useless at the present time.

The numerous hand pumps would not receive notice here, were it not for the fact that one of them has been incorporated into a regular fire department. The Johnson pump, made by the National Manufacturing Company of Boston, is composed of a vertical cylinder and piston, provided with an air chamber. A short piece of hose that can be held in the hand is attached near the top. The pump is placed in a pail of water, and an adjustable clamp enables the operator to steady both pail and pump. Mr. Joseph Bird, in his interesting book entitled Protection against Fire, emphatically advocates the extended use of this pump, in addition to the existing apparatus. The experiment has been tried in Wakefield, Mass., with gratifying results. Almost a hundred of these pumps are owned by the town authorities and distributed in easily accessible places over the town. Every year a majority of the fires are quenched in their incipiency by some citizen with the aid of one of the pumps, and the steam fire engine is therefore seldom called upon to answer an alarm where a moment's delay might result in a large fire. The United States Government uses these pumps for the same purpose in armories, etc.

Some experiments have been made in the way of running an electric wire with each line of hose, that a fireman with a telegraph key or push-button at the nozzle may notify the engineer by telegraph or prearranged bell signals when to turn the water on and off, when help is needed, etc. The idea is a good one, but as yet has not been entirely perfected, as in dragging a line of hose through a burning building the wire may become broken at a critical moment when it is most needed.

Bicycles are being introduced in some European departments to enable the men to reach the fires as soon as possible. In some cases small chemical extinguishers are attached. As yet very little has been done in this line in America. The hose wagons and ladder trucks so well accommodate the men that the need of bicycles has not been greatly felt.

It does not come within the scope of this article to mention the fire-alarm telegraph, the stationary fire equipment of buildings, fire escapes, etc. It is also hardly necessary to mention the numerous lanterns, trumpets, uniforms, and other objects of like nature. The historical data at the beginning of the article are doubtless incomplete, for historians generally give very little attention to the primitive methods that were so long in use in