Fall of Shafts. 129
appeared to break about 30' from the top. It fell in the direction
to which it had previously inclined.
A new shaft was to have been commenced on the day of
Violent Gale, 1873, and Fall of Chimneys.
Sliefficld. — A square chimney, 1 1 6' high above ground, in
Trippet Lane, Sheffield, belonging to Mr. W. Reynolds, fell
during a severe gale on December i6th, 1873, killing 10 persons
and injuring five. The chimney in its fall demolished a four-
storey building adjoining. The chimney had often been observed
to sway when the wind was high, and on the morning of the
accident a number of people were watching the oscillations,
but the workpeople took no notice of it. The top was ornamental
and made of terra cotta ; the cornice was hollow, so as to be as
light as possible; there was also a balustrade on the top. Mr.
T. H. Jenkinson, an architect, gave evidence at the inquest that
after the chimney had been erected exaggerated reports were
circulated as to its rocking, and he made an examination during
a severe gale and found the oscillation amounted to 2" each way.
The attention of the Town Council had, he believed, been called
to the chimney a few years ago. The chimney tapered about \'
from the base to the top. Mr. W. Reynolds, builder, who also
owned the shaft, said he was responsible for the erection ; nothing
could have been put together better. It was built on the solid
rock 4' below ground, and was 1 1 6' high from ground line. A
quarter of an hour before the chimney fell he observed it
oscillating more than it usually had done. The chimney broke
50' above the base. When the complaints were made to him
soon after the completion he greatly strengthened the base, and
thereby prevented much oscillation. The outside was composed
of the best pressed bricks.
The shaft was constructed in 1858 and cost;^30o.
Eight workshops were destroyed, and considerable damage
done to the 20 h.p. engine by the fall.
The damage to property, irrespective of a large stock of
cutlery, in process of manufacture, was estimated at £l','^oo.
At the inquest the jurors expressed their opinion that the
shaft was too high for the width of the base.
The gale causing this disaster was an exceptionally severe
one, and also caused the demolition of the following shafts in
the neighbourhood, viz. : —
130 Tall Chimney Construction.
Portohcllo. — Messrs. Chris. Johnson & Co., cutlery manufac-
turers, Western Works, two chimney stacks blown down. No
injury except to buildings.
Wicker. — Mr. Freckingham, Willey Street, engine chimney
to the mortar mills blown down, falling through mortar mill
Spital Hill. — ]\Ir. J. Blyde, Hallcar Works, chimney stack
fell, completely smashing roof.
Bolsover Street. — Mr. J. Dodworth, shaft to engine blown
Furnace Hill. — Messrs. Longden & Co., Phoenix Foundry,
shaft 60' high blown down.
Watery Lane. — Messrs. W. Guest & Sons, Neptune Works,
shaft blown down, demolishing a new cutlery shop and damaging
Milton Street. — Messrs. Matthewman & Sons, Milton Works,
large brick chimney fell, considerably damaging the works.
Saville Street. — IMessrs. Thos. Firth & Sons, Norfolk Works,
shaft blown down, injuring three workmen and causing great
destruction of machinery and buildings. The chimney was 120'
high with 1' 6" walls, and snapped about the middle. The fall-
ing bricks broke the steam pipes from the boilers, and the steam
severely scalded one of the men ; he was also crushed about
the legs and body. Damage to buildings and machinery was
estimated at ^1,000.
Dublin. — On April loth, 1884, an attempt was made by the
Royal Engineers to blow down a conical shaft built 1820, at the
works of the Glass Bottle Company, North Lotts, Dublin, in the
occupation of Mr. W. Campbell. In compliance with a requisition
sent to the military authorities trained men were brought from
the Curragh, and a dynamo-battery sent from Chatham to fire
the charges. The work was under the superintendence of an
officer of the Royal Engineers. The shaft was a truncated cone
95' in height and 64' diameter at base, with walls 4I' thick,
tapering to i|' at top, and the weight was roughly estimated at
Blowing-doivn Shafts. 131
2,500 tons. The shaft rested upon twelve piers or pillars of
brickwork; in each of these a charge of cannon powder weighing
2f-lbs. was placed, closely "tamped up" and connected with a
double electric wire attached to a low-pressure dynamo-machine,
so as to fire the charges simultaneously. The machine was some
150 yards distant, on rising ground. At noon the charges were
fired and a dozen little puffs of smoke became visible, there being
little or no concussion, and with the exception that on the north
and south sides of the shaft portions of brickwork slid slowly to
the ground, the chimney stood as erect as before. A second
attempt was made with 20-lbs. of gunpowder, which was placed
under one of the smaller arched openings on a beam that
traversed it, and was closely packed with sand bags. The wires
were connected afresh and the charge was exploded, but with no
result beyond destroying the sand bags. At the suggestion of
a bystander a chain was attached round one of the brick piers
and the end fastened to the axle of a dray drawn by a couple of
horses, but these failed to secure the desired effect and the idea
was abandoned. An engine of the Great Southern and Western
Railway, a branch of which adjoined the works, was next called
into requisition. A chain was attached from the engine round
a beam that spanned an opening in the base, the brickwork near
to which looked shaky, the only result being that the beam broke.
The chain was next passed round one of the brick supports and
this time the draw bar of the engine gave M^ay. The chain,
however, was next attached to the rear of the engine and this
time the chain broke. A 3'' diameter hawser was then attached
and the engine started, but the hawser, imperfectly fastened,
dropped off. The men were again approaching the stubborn
mass when there occurred a rumbling sound and a cloud of
dust, and the immense shaft collapsed, fortunately before the
men had reached the chimney.
WarringtoUy Lancashire. — About nine years ago the tall
circular brick shaft at Messrs. Muspratt's Chemical Works,
Warrington, 406' high, 46' diameter at base and 1 7' diameter at
top, was blown down by gunpowder, the works having been
moved to another locality and the chimney therefore being in
disuse. Mr. Stephen Court, engineer and architect to the St.
Helen's Canal and Railway Company, superintended the demoli-
tion. A number of holes were delved round the base and fourteen
charges of gunpowder inserted. The train was fired at 2,30 p.m.
Nine charges exploded without any apparent damage being done
to the stability of the shaft, but the report of the tenth had no
sooner been heard than the chimney was rent from top to bottom
and the huge mass graduallydisintegrated from the base upwards.
The whole of the stalk fell nearly within the circumference of
its own base. No accident occurred.
132 Tall Chimney Construction.
Moving a Chimney.
Cabot Company's Cotton INIill, Brunswick, Maine, U.S.A.
A shaft at the above works was moved 20' in May, 1872, to allow
of the enlargement of the mill. The shaft was 78' high, 7' g"
square at base, 5' square at top, contained 40,000 bricks, and
weighed about 100 tons. The work was accomplished by
moving the chimney on planed and greased planks by means of
two screw jacks. The flues were re-connected, and the fires
started within 8j hours from the commencement. The removal
was planned and executed by Mr. Benjamin Greenes.
CL IMBING CHIMNE YS,
Tall Chimney Climbing.
Messrs. Sanderson & Co., of Huddersfield, have an ingenious
method of ascending to the tops of tall chimneys for purposes
of examination and repair. It consists in pushing length after
length of short segments of a ladder, as it were telescopically,
up against the perpendicular face of the shaft, and climbing
simultaneously upon the lengthening out ladder. A number of
ladders of 15' length are in the first instance prepared, which
are identical with each other in detail and form, and which are
so fashioned that the bottom of any one ladder can be dropped
into sockets provided at the top of any of the rest. The sides
of each segment are pivots at the bottom and sockets at the top.
There are also standards or pegs about 8" long projecting out
from one face of each segment, which serve the purpose of
keeping it off the brickwork when it is fixed and by this means
providing a secure foothold and handhold.
The first step in the erection of the ladder consists in placing
one of the sections standing perpendicularly upon the ground
against the bottom of the chimney. A workman then drives an
iron dog or holdfast firmly into the brickwork i' up from the
bottom of the ladder and i' down from its top. These holdfasts
are of a hooked form, so that they can each be made to clamp
one of the rungs of the ladder when they are driven home upon
it into the brickwork. The segment of the ladder is firmly
Climbing Chimneys. 133
attached to the shaft of the chimney when this has been accom-
When one section of the ladder has been attached in this
way a free ladder is sloped against it and the climber then
ascends upon this until he can reach a foot above the top of the
fixed segment. He there drives in a holdfast and attaches to it
a pulley and block, so that one end of the rope reeved into the
pulley can be brought half down a second loose section of the
ladder, placed perpendicularly and side by side with the first.
The rope is there fastened at midway height, and by means of
the block the second section of the ladder is hauled up by men
standing upon the ground until it projects half-ladder height
above the section No. i. In that position it is temporarily lashed
to the fixed section, rung to rung, so that the climber can mount
to its top and drive a holdfast into the brickwork \' above its
upper extremity. He then shifts the pulley and block to this
upper holdfast and descends to the ground. Section 2, still
attached to the rope at its middle part, is then hoisted up to its
full height above section i. The climber, following its ascent,
next inserts the pivots of its sides into the sockets at the top of
section No. i, mounts upon its steps as, still held by the pulley,
it leans against the chimney, drives home two hooked holdfasts,
clamping its rungs to the chimney, near the bottom and near the
top ; and this having been done the second section remains fixed
in cojitinuation of the first, and the ladder attached to the brick-
work has thus grown from 15' to 30' in height. The climber is
then able to mount to its top, 30' up the chimney, and extending
his arm about i' higher upon the brickwork, drives in there the
holdfast which becomes the point d'appiii for the hauling up a
third section of the ladder, first half its length and then full
height above the second segment, so that it can be in its turn
pivoted into the sockets. The third section, in doing this, is
handled in every essential particular like the first, pulled half-
ladder high, temporarily lashed to the topmost rungs of the fixed
ladder, then lifted to its full height, pivoted into the sockets of
the fixed ladder there and clamped firmly to the brickwork, and
the fixed ladder has grown to a length of 45', by the junction of
three segments of 15' each. This process is afterwards repeated
with other sections of the ladder again and again, half lengths
at a time, until a perpendicular path has been laid from the
bottom to the top of the chimney. A chimney 255' high, it will
be observed, requires seventeen sections of the ladder to reach
to its top.
The essential points in this ingenious process are: (i) The
temporary lashing of each section of the ladder when it is half
way up, so that the climber can get safely to the top, as it is held
still attached to the pulley, and fix a fresh block above its upper
134 Tall Chinmey Construction.
extremity for the accomplishment of the second half of the
hoist ; (2) the joining of the sections by appropriate sockets as
each one is placed in position upon the one beneath ; and (3)
the fixing of each section, when it is once lifted into its place,
by the holdfasts driven into the brickwork of the chimney. The
ladder virtually creeps up to the top of the chimney, joint above
joint. The process is so easily performed by practised hands
that the highest chimneys are scaled in brief intervals of time.
The chimney at the Abbey Mills Pumping Station, near
Stratford, 230' high, was laddered its entire height in three hours
and a half by this method.
Ventilation of Sewers by means of Tall Chimney Shafts.
This means of ventilation has been used, where permission
could be obtained from the owners of shafts, at
Carlisle. — The Carlisle sewers, since their construction in
1855, have been ventilated by tall factory chimneys. This city
was one of the first to take advantage of this help to sewer
ventilation, and there are about thirty tall shafts connected with
Messrs. P. Dixon & Sons, of Shaddongate and West Tower
Streets, were the first to allow the experiment to be made, on
the understanding that if it was found to be injurious to the
works the Carlisle authorities would cut off the connection ; this,
however, was not required to be done. The sewers in the
neighbourhood of their tall chimneys are well ventilated, the
current of air passing through one of the ventilators connected
to the Shaddongate shaft, 300' high, having a velocity of 50
miles per hour, the pressure of air at the base of the chimney
being equal to a column of water ifV of ^-^ \VLzh. in height.
From experiments made by Mr. H. U. McKie, City Surveyor,
Carlisle, it was found the sewers were perceptibly ventilated for
a radius of 400 yards, equal to an area of 502,656 square yards,
or over 103 acres, and if the system of sewers and house drains
Ventilating Shafts. 135
had been laid out and executed with a view of being ventilated
by this shaft the surveyor had no doubt the radius could have
been considerably extended.
Leicester. — No. 25 chimney shafts have been connected to
the sewers of this town, and the Corporation are obtaining
permission from manufacturers whenever they can to extend the
Sunderland. — No. 9 shafts are connected to the sewers here,
and the surveyor says they are not a success.
Great Yarmouth. — No. 5 shafts, 50' high, have been specially
built in connection with the main sewers to act as ventilators.
Coventry. — No. 15 shafts are here connected to the sewers
of the town.
York. — No. 3 shafts are here utilized as ventilators.
Hereford. — No. i shaft only connected to sewers and the
effect is quite local, the few ventilators adjoining invariably act
as dozvn cast shafts and the chimney as an up cast.
Blackhnrn. — In one case only is a chimney connected to aid
the sewer ventilation.
Bolton. — A limited number of shafts have been utilized as
sewer ventilators in this town, and with good results.
Mr. E. Buckham, Borough Surveyor, Ipswich, does not
share in the fear that damage is likely to arise from explosions
caused by gas leaking into the sewers, and thence travelling to
the chimneys ; he has not heard of such an accident and thinks
the possibility of it occurring most remote. The fact that sewers
are only affected by these shafts to a limited extent is, in his
opinion, rather in favour of their use than otherwise, because
where the exhaust is too powerful there is a probability of the
traps of the house drains becoming unsealed.
An Awkward Dilemma.
In September, 1872, a chimney was being erected at Messrs.
Smith's Works, Alyth, Scotland, and had reached a height of
100'. One evening, when the builder was about to descend, he
discovered that the rope by which he was to reach the ground
136 ' Tall Chimney Construction.
had fallen from its fastening. After various plans had been
sug-gested and partially tried to rescue the isolated man, such
as throwing up a stone with a cord attached and building a
temporary wooden stair inside, the happy thought occurred to
the builder of taking off one of his stockings and running down
the yarn so as to reach the ground. The scheme succeeded.
On the end of the woollen yarn reaching the base a small cord
was attached. After this had been hauled to the top an
ordinary rope was secured to the end of the cord and the rope
drawn to the top, by which means the builder descended in
safety to the great satisfaction of the hundreds of spectators
who had assembled at the foot of the shaft.
A Novel Dinner Party.
Nottingham. — At the Stanton Iron Works Company, near
Nottingham, a chimney 190' high, 24' across the cap and
13' 9" across outlet, was erected in 1874. When the shaft was
near its completion forty-seven of the workmen were entertained
to a hot dinner at the top. Three young ladies also ascended
to lay the cloth and wait upon the guests during their aerial
banquet. Considerable interest was occasioned by so many
people dining at such an elevation. The cap was cast at the
Company's works and weighed 15 tons. The shaft contained
Farncombe & Co., Printers, Lewes and Eastbourne.
TALL CHIMNEY CONSTRUCTION (p M &F J. Bancroft
TALL CHIMNEY CONSTRUCTIONfflM &F. J.Bancroft, i
FarncC'Ccije * Cj. Lilh..lewe9 AEa
TALL CHIMNEY CONSTRUCTION (R M &F,JBancrof
TALL CHIMNEY CONSTRUCTION. (R m.,if j Bancrorp
Fariict)ini)e Jc Co, LitK-.Lew-tfs ^Easlbauai:
TALL CHIMNEY CONSTRUCTION. (B M &F J Bancroi'
TALL CHIMNEY CONSTRUCTION (R M & fj b , ..c
Fdrncombe ^ Co.LilK-.Leyi'as a.i.i
TALL CHIMNEY CONSTRUCTION (R.M&r JBanrroft
Faracombe A Co, LitK.Lewes A Easlioume
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TH 4591 .B252x
3 9358 00131014
Bancroft, Robert M«
Tall chimney construction. A
practical treatise on the construction
of tall chimney shafts ... constructed
in brick, stone, iron and concrete, by
Robert M. Bancroft and Francis J.
Bancroft. Manchester, J. Calvert, l»at3.
vli, 136 p. lllus., plates 26 cm.