Whether moved to do so by force of public opinion, by lawsuits, by economic considerations, or by the strong arm of the law as in the New York cases already cited, the railroads of the country are moving in the matter and moving in the right direction at a fairly rapid degree of progress.
The American Master Mechanics, in their latest session at Atlantic City, have declared that it is possible to stop the nuisance. Expert firing and proper stoking are the most efficient means. These master mechanics, who are mostly connected with the railroads, are of the opinion that smoke-consuming devices are of assistance in keeping down the flow of black soot that has resulted in the passage of city and state laws against use of cheap, soft coal as fuel, but the firing is of so much more importance in the work that recommendations will be made to sacrifice cost of expensive devices of the kind in favor of higher paid and more expert firemen.
This opinion is unquestionably shared by the Pennsylvania Railroad, for their most recent instructions are in harmony with this principle, and when their Cincinnati superintendent was asked if the company's firemen were arrested for violations of the local ordinances would the companies pay the fine, he said:
Another student of the subject (Z. A. Willard, of Boston) has also reached the decided conclusion that the fireman on the locomotive is largely responsible for the nuisance. The firing of any furnace, locomotive or stationary, although generally considered a perfectly simple matter, is, on the contrary, a science requiring the services of a conscientious and experienced fireman, an opinion which is supported by Mr. Angus Sinclair, president of the Society of Locomotive Engineers, who, in his book on locomotive firing, gives his experience with two firemen on the same locomotive, running the same distance, on two successive days. The first fireman, in one hour and fifty-five minutes.