The annexed letter is from the inventor of the Cincinnati Steam Fire Engine, to Charles Cist, Esq., ot " Cist's Advertiser," who has kindly furnished us with the original copy, which will interest our readers, as all rejoice in the progress ol invention, and welcome every one that is new and useful: " About twelve years ago I commenced making improvements in steam generators, and in the experiments have made various advancements towards a safe and speedy, as well as an economical mode ol generating steam. These efforts have at last been embodied, with most of the improvements made in the time above stated, in the construction of a steam generator which was tried and crowned with entile success. I made the first one practically tested, with my own hands, in the establishment of Miles Greenwood, Esq., having obtained from him the use ofa smith's forge and materials; I proceeded to work, and in a short time finished the generator ; it was then put in connection with a six inch diame-, ler steam cylinder, two feet stroke, and an old pump of a condemned fire engine belonging to the city ; the whole thus thrown together, and by the assistance of Mr. Bray, the City Fire Engineer, and A. B. Lattu, was mounted on a wooden frame on wheels. A day was set for the trial, which was made in presence of many members of the City Council and citizens, numbering probably three thousand. It was universally agreed, that from the time the fire was lighted until the steam was made from cold water, and the engine and pump at work lifting water from the cistern and pushing it through three hundred and fifty feet of hose, projecting over one hundred feet, from an inch nozzle, to where it struck the ground, occupied just five minutes. This trial was made on the 2nd of March, 1852. On the first day of January, 1853, the firiB : of Lattu, Shawk Co. had completed the . steam fire engine now in the use of the city; and on the same day the trial was made, and was reported by the committee that' in five minutes alter the application of the mqtch, there wassteam sufficient to work the "doctor," which supplies the boilers with water; in ten, the engines were working finely, and in fifteen minutes the apparatus was at the cistern, by the intersection of Broadway an Second streat. In four minutes more, making in all nineteen minutes, from firing and start ing the, attachments were all made, and the apparatus lifting through two suctions, and throwing two handsome streams through inch nozzles. It variously threw from one to four streams; by concentrating six streams through a 1 inch nozzle, it threw water to the distance of 224 feet. From one to three streams were thrown in various directions from the centre of Broadway over the Broadway Hotel and other four story buildings.' After the engine was put into the hands of the city, an opportunity offered to tost its full power, and show the amount of water it could lift fromacistern and discharge from the engine in a given time. The cellar of an engine house was by an overflow of the street filled with water, the side were twenty-two feet apart in the clear and the rear and front walls were seventy-two feet in the clear. The water line was marked when the engine was set to work and the time taken; in the space of one hour and ten minutes the water was lowered five feet, showing that twenty-six barrels were discharged per minute during the time of work-ir.g. At a recentfire on sycamore street the engine went eight squares, dropped the suctions, into the cistern,attached, and laid out six lines . of hose six hundred feet each supplying at that distance, four hand engines, and throwing two streams on the fire, the time consumed from the time the engine started, until the water was thrown upon the fire, was twelve and a half minutes. At a trial on Ninth street the engine lifted the water from the cistern and projected it through an inch ar.d three quarters nozzle, to the distance of two hundred and thirty-eight feet from the nozzle, to where it fell upon the ground, not measuring the spray. The engine has been to all the fires since it has been in the hands of the city, and at all of them, has elected the universal approbation of the citizens. There is now no more doubt ot its usefulness and practicability, for putting out fires than there is doubt about the navigation of the Mississippi river against the current, or of the Atlantic Ocean by steam vessels. There has' been much effort necessary in the introduction of this machine, it required an acquaintance by experience, in its use, which alone could be obtained by time and a number of trials at fires; difficulty of training hands to manage it well, was a great tax on the patience of the City Fire Engineer, R. G. Bray, who also had the prejudices and much of the opposition of the tire department, to overcome which could only be done by gentle means, as violent opposition or arbitrary dictation Would only have created more violence on the part of those opposed ; the course pursued was the right one, as the result has shown. The whole fire department has been re-organized ard put in successful operation without any serious consequences, and brings with it order and unanimity of action. ABEL SHAWK. Cincinnati, Ohio, May 1st, 1853." The "Charleston Standard" thinks that Mrs. Singleton, now living in the Williams-burgh District, in that State, is the oldest Woman in the world ; she is now in the 131st year of her age. Her mental faculties are still unimpaired.
This article was originally published with the title "Cincinnati Steam Fire Engine" in Scientific American 8, 37, 294 (May 1853)