The St. Louis Balloon Race. To the Editor of the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN: In your issue of November 2 your interesting article on "The Long-Distance Balloon Races from St. Louis" contains a chart, "The Finish of the Race," giving the order of finish. You make an error in placing "St. Louis" fourth and "America" fifth. This should be reversed, as "America" finished fourth and "St. Louis" fifth. As the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN promises to become the authority on aeronautics in America and will be quoted extensively, this error should be corrected, especially as it carries with it the record for the American team. J. C. MCCOY, Pilot Balloon "America." New York, November 3, 1907. The Long-Distance Balloon Bace from St. Louie. To the Editor of the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN: In a description of the long-distance balloon races from St. Louis in the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN of Novem ber 2 occur the following statements: "The German owes its victory to the accident of being a mile or two farther north than its competitor, where the coast runs in an easterly direction." "Major Hersey was the one competitor who has made a close study of air cur rents in this country, and he was the one man who was able to find and hold the northeasterly course which the aeronauts expected to follow." It seems to me that these statements are both un kind and ungenerous to the winners of the race. A reference to the chart you give shows that both the German and the French balloon, the "Pommera" and the "L'Isle de France," were well to the north as well as to the east of St. Louis when they landed. That they did not go as far north as the lake region, and become entangled in the lakes, which compelled Major Hersey to descend, was in accordance with a well-laid prearranged plan. Certainly, I know in the case of the German balloon, it was planned to move northeastward well south of the lakes, and reach the Atlantic coast as far north as possible. This move ment was executed with such precision that the course followed by the balloon from St. Louis to a few miles south of New York was only about fifty-six miles longer than a straight line joining the two places, the pilot arriving at this place over four hours earlier than his nearest competitor, and with nearly one-third of the ballast with which he started still un used. That he did not get some fifteen or twenty miles farther north, pass across into New England and land on the New England coast, probably as far north as Maine, was due entirely to the fact that, un familiar with the country, he lost his bearings some what on the evening of October 22, and went a little farther south than he intended. In order to use the air currents to advantage, the Germans had sought the assistance of the director of the Blue Hill Ob servatory, near Boston. The staff of this observatory had made a thorough study of the air currents at Boston, and at St. Louis by means of clouds, kites, and sounding balloons, and certainly were well equip ped for aiding and guiding the balloonist. As one of these meteorologists was in the basket of the winning balloon, it is not fair to say that Major Hersey was the one competitor who had studied air currents. To say that the leading German and French balloons won their positions because their pilots had excellent bal loons, had shown great skill in their management, and had selected as aides scientific experts who were capable of helping them by their knowledge of air currents and by taking observations of latitude and ' longitude from the baskets of the balloons, is a kinder and, in my opinion, a more truthful way of stating the case than by the statements which I have quoted. HENRY HELM CLAYTON, Meteorologist of the Blue Hill Observatory. In many business offices fire buckets are placed, filled with water in readiness for an emergency. It is seldom that instructions for use are pinned near the supply. The wrong way to tackle an incipient fire is (usually) to hurl the whole contents of a bucket on the spot. Most of the water is wasted by this means. A heavy sprinkling is more effective. The water may be splashed on the blaze by hand, but a more useful sprinkler is a long-haired whitewash brush. One Of these should hang beside every nest of Are buckets.