Personal safety from burning is a question of serious import at nIl times, but more so at this particular season of the year. During the cold weather, when grates or other heating apparatuses are used in almost every house, and when artificial light is more extensively required for illumination, a greater number of accidents occur from clothes taking fire than in any other equal period of the year. This we may always expect, becanse the dangers arc more numerons; but to the common causes of deaths from burnings, the sad list of victims lIas be'en greatly extended by the fashions in dress which have become prevalent among women. Ladies' dresses are now so extended in their proportions, and being oftentimes of the most inflammable materials, it is no wonder that we frequently read of families being thrown into the deepest grief by some of their most amiable members llaving perished f!"Om their dresses becoming their fnneral pyres. Such casualties shock the feelings more than any others, because we all know that the pains arising from burning arc of the most excruciating character. So frequent llave such accidents become during the past two years, that some of the highest efforts of science have been brougllt into requisition for their prevention. The mornl argument against the caUSQS of exposure by unsuitable dresses has been ineffectual; fashion holds its sway in spite of all remonstmnces and so many terrible lessons, and nil that science can do in the case is to guide it to the most humane and safe resuIts. This has been achieved by chemistry in the preparation of chemicals to be combined with the com- bustible fabrics of which dresses are made, whereby they are rendered nearly uninflammable. In Great Britain, these chemicals are now uscd in several large Lleachworks, where they are combined with the pieces or goods in the finishing operations. They are also employed very extensively in large laundries and honseholds, and they commend themselves to public attention everywhere. The best substanccs recommended for common usc in rendering textile fabrics non-inflammable, arc tungstate of soda and the sulphate of ammonia, which are now manufactured on a large scale for such purposes by a compauy in London, which has obtained two patents for the processes. In a late nnmber of the C/iemical News, Messrs. Briggs & Co. describe the mode of using these salts to the best advantage. ArtICles requmng to be Honed, after belDg washed, starched and allowed to dry in the open air, arc soaked in a solution of the tungstate, then rolled in a sheet of dry linen, and ironed afterward in thQ ordinary way. The tung,tate mny he mixed with the starch, but this is not such a good method as the othcr. Articles which do not require to be ironed arc treated with a solution of the sulphate of ammonia in the same mnnner as the tungstate of soda. Muslin so prepared docs not present any pecnliar appearance, and when exposed to fire it does not suddenly hurst into flame ; it merely singes away until it crumbles into ashes. Wool-' en and silk fabrics are not sufficiently inflammable to be dang"rous, but all linen and cotton clothing, curtains for windows, sheets, and various other articles, would be rendered more safe by such treatment, wifhout injury to their textsre or color. The treatment of children's clothes by these substances is especially solicited, because so many accidents from burning take place to the “little ones at 110me." We would not wish to be understood as asserting that the two substances described arc the only sure ones for rendering such fabrics uninflammable, as there arc sevcl"lIl other articlcs which possess this property ; hut, according to F. Versmann and A. Oppenheim, London chemists, who have made a host ef experiments with varions chemicals, the tungstate of soda and the sulphate of ammonia give the best results. The stan-nute of soda appears to be eqnally as good a non-inflammable agent, but it is liable to impart a yellow tinge to white muslins; still, for children's cotton dresses, we can recommend its vcry general usc. About one part of these salts dissolyed in ten parts of water is about the proper strength to employ, and one gallon of this is sufficient for impregnating seven or eight ladies' muslin dresses. Being very easy of application, all families shouIU avail themseh'es of these substances for rendering life more safe from the dangers of fire. We use, in our nursery, n brass wire grating, somewhat in the form of a blower, to liang in front of the grate. This is compact, conveniQnt and effectual; it not only protects the dresses of the children and nUl'se from contact with the fire, hut, it is quite a safeguard to the carpet from coals rolling Ollt of the grate. — 1*1 ^1
This article was originally published with the title "Safety Clothing"