Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/164

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the West in summer usually use a tent about eighty feet across, with two thirty-foot middle pieces. This, equipped with poles, seats and lights, costs about $800. These tents are made of light material. The larger canvases have to be made of stouter stuff, and a tent suitable for hippodrome or spectacular shows, which must be about 225 feet in width and 425 or 450 feet in length, would cost about $7,000.


As an evidence of how circuses have increased in size, I will say that the seventy or eighty quarter poles which hold up the main tent of the Barnum & Bailey shows are each larger than the main pole used years ago. The present system of lighting, which, by the way, I was the first to use, is the patent of an Englishman, improved by an American named Gale. It first took the place of kerosene lights, so far as circus illumination is concerned, in 1870. In experimenting with these lights, when I first introduced them, I several times met with accidents which threatened to terminate my career. Once I purchased an electric light plant with the intention of doing away with all gasoline illumination, but was com-