We are in receipt of two pamphlets published by the Committee on Library and Publications of the American Institute of Architects The first is a paper upon " The Architectural Societies of Europe," giving an account of their formation and methods of administration, with suggestions relating to the proper means of insuring the largest success of a National American Architectural Society, with ita local dependencies By A J Blow, Fellow of the American Institute of Architects We are always gZad to notice the progress of scientific and mechanical associations, and we have always maintained in these columns their general utility We cannot, however, notice at length this able paper, although its perusal has afforded, and will afford, all who attentively peruse it, both instruction and pleasure The second paper, however, entitled " Remarks on FireProof Construction," is of such practical importance that we take pleasure in giving place to some of its valuable statements and suggestions, although we do not wish it inferred that we indorse all the conclusions of the author The paper is from the pen of P B Wight, F A I A Mr Wight defines a fireproof building as one which cannot burn, and which contains nothing that can burn "It is very seldom that any building is required for such use that only noncombustible material shall be placed in it; but it is still a fact that fireproof buildings are often called for, and are needed, wherein large amounts of combustible materials are to be placed ; not what the insurance companies call hazardous, but dry goods, books, and similar things, which will burn independently of the building in which they are contained To supply such a demand is one of the most important problems offered to the architect for solution 01 such buildings are storage warehouses, and stores or shops, wholesale and retail, as well as buildings for certain kinds of manufacturing processes, such as sugar houses and carriage or furniture shops " Having devised a building of noncombustible material throughout, the question which next arises is how to keep a conflagration in one part from extending to all the contents of the building The idea of making them only partially fireproof is not to be considered for a moment, unless perhaps the material contained is so highly inflammable that it would destroy the material of the building, even if it is divided into firepioof compartments, in whieh case it seems to be folly to go to the expense of fireproof materials at all When you know that no part of your building can burn of itself it is evident that every atom of it will offer some resistance to the enemy confined within I believe, too, that it is impossible to smother or choke a fire once commenced, by the use of closed compartments Accident or carelessness may leave some openings which will facilitate a draft in some unforeseen way And even supposing that you have shut in your fire by some arrangement of closed compartments, can you give your compartment less air than a charcoal pit ? Clos it as much as you will, your confined goods, if the barriers are not forced by the immense power generated by the heat, will at last be reduced to charcoal: for you cannot open a door or window upon such a smouldering fire but that it will instantly burst into flames " Storehouses are the only class of buildings which admit of division into airtight compartments, and there is a practical objection to them in even buildings of this class: but few kinds of goods can be preserved without good ventilation It seoms, therefore, that the compartments should be open and accessible from without, but carefully divided from each other If so, they afford good facilities to those employed in extin guishing fires ; and I think that in a building thus arranged, there "would be a more reasonable ehance of a portion of its goods being saved" The division of buildings into horizontal compartments, rather than vertical ones, is so much more desirable, where land is expensive, that inventors have almost exhausted their ingenuity in devising thoroughly fireproof floors It is obvious, however, that the division of a building by vertical fireproof partitions, is a matter so easy of accomplishment, that it is questionable whether the horizontal division, so beset with practical difficulties, so expensive, and withal so much less to be depended upon, even when the best systems of construction are used, is ever economical, even where ground is expensive Mr Wight even questions whether it is of any use to build iron floors, or floors with iron supports, for buildings to contain goods; considering brick piers and groined arches as alone reliable " Several fires occurring recently in the Brooklyn warehouses have warned their owners to take extra precautions, even though none of these warehouses is fireproof One of the best is known as the Pierrepont Stores, near the Wallstreet ferry, and the arrangement of them is well worthy of notice These are about three hundred feet in length, and are divided into six compartments by fireproof party walls ; the width of each compartment is consequently about fifty leet, and the length about two hundred feet The floors are of wood, and it would have been useless to make them of iron and brick ; for the goods taken in them are mainly sugars, and it would be folly to attempt to arrest a fire of such combustible material in its ascending course, by any practicable device But what is most interesting in these buildings is that each is fortified against its neighbor Recently the party walls were carried up about six feet above the roofs and were pierced with embrasures, through which firemen can play from the roof of one building upon the flames in another, with perfect safety to themselves Here is an instance wherein capital would have been wasted on the expensive materials required for fireproof floors " Buildings for manufacturing purposes next demand attention The extra cost of fireproof construction in a manufacturing building is small when compared with that of a bank or public building The walls and ceilings require neither lath nor furring, and the floors may be of flags or slate, badded on the brick arches, or what is better, plates of cast iron bolted to the beamswhich will presently be described All inside finish may be discarded and iron doors, of No 16 iron, with light wroughtiron frames, hung to stone templates in the jambs, are the only coverings required for the openings " The most extensive attempt to build a fireproof building for manufacturing purposes was the enterprise of Harper Brothers This was one of the pioneer buildings of the new dispensation The Harper girder is well known ; it is an ornamented castiron beam, with a tie rod, and was the father of the truss beam, now so extensively used for supporting the rear walls of stores It has been succeeded by the builtup beam, now generally used for girders, and the double rolled beam It was eminently a constructive beam, using iron according to its best propertiescast iron for compression and wrought iron for tension" Of banks and insurance buildings we certainly have a large number which are to all intents fireproof, though but few are thoroughly so It is generally admitted that such, buildings are not in danger from their contents, and to this belief may be ascribed the fact that we already have so many of this class Mr Wight considers the Continental Bank, the American Exchange Bank, the Mutual Life Insurance Company's building, the Park Bank, and the City Bank building, in New York, as absolutely fireproof Nothing less than a bonfire of all the furniture, books, and paper, that could be collected together in any one room of any of these buildings, would endanger its destruction: They are safe from any ordinary casualty But in all the rest there is enough woodwork to make the word " fireproof," as applied to them, of very doubtful significance In nearly all the socalled fireproof bank buildings the rates of insurance are as high as in ordinary business buildings " And, first, how shall floors be constructed ? Before the ' iron period,' when our Washington Capitol, our City Hall, our old Exchange and Custom House were built, the Roman and Medieval vaults only, were usedeither of stone or of brick plastered When the width of a room was too great for one span, granite columns or brick piers were used, as in our old Exchange, now the Custom House The floors above the vaults were leveled up and paved with flags or marble tiles As far as grace, strength, and absolute relief from the dangers of fire were concerned, this was a perfect system But now space is demanded ; there must be no more heavy piers and no great thickness of floors We are therefore forced to use a material which, though not combustible of itself, will do little work if exposed to great heat; and in this is seen the great difference between our fireproof buildings of the brick period and those of the iron period, and the inferior fireproof qualities of the latter " The problem now is, to use the minimum of brick and the maximum of iron The problem might be put thus: ' Given iron, make as nearly fireproof buildings as possible out of it' What then has been done with it thus far V For columns, we have used cast tubes of all shapes and sizes and the wroughtiron pillars of the Phenix Iron Company; for girders, we have used compound beams of cast iron with wrought tiesbuiltup beams of various forms of rolled and plate iron, bolted and riveted togetherand common rolled beams, used double ; for floor beams we first used deck beams for wide spans, and railroad iron for narrow spans ; these have now been superseded by the Ibeam of various sizes The rolling mills now have on their circulars Ibeams of great di 115 mensions and suitable for girders, but refuse to fill any but large orders" Indeed Mr Wight believes that only one mill has rollers for beams larger than thirteen inches, while the others will not put up machinery until they get large enough offers " So we are thus far deprived of large smooth beams of one piece, for girders of long spanbeams which no one would desire to hide from view, but which might honestly tell their use to every beholder For supports between beams we have had Peter Cooper's terra cotta pots and the fourinch brick arches The former are out of use, and the latter are almost universally employed Corrugated ironfirst used in the Columbian Insurance building by Mr Diaperhas also gone out of use The destruction of the Fulton Bank, a socalled fireproof building, sealed its fate as far as floors are concerned We have also had the experiment of atone floors in the American Exchange Bank, by Mr Eidlitz, and repeated by another architect in the Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Building at Newark, N J The stone slabs, brick arches, and the Parisian floorsof plaster or concrete, bedded upon bar iron gratings inserted between the beamsare the only practical system of fireproof floor construction now in use" The only attempt to lay the floor on the beams, of which Mr Wight had knowledge, is in the sugar house above mentioned This has suggested to him several methods of laying rigid floors upon beams at considerable spaces (three to five feet) from one another Preliminary to so doing Mr Wight suggests the revival of the deck beam, or the Ibeam with a better form for the bottom flange, and the adoption of castiron shoes for the bearingB (To ne concluded next week)