John Ripley Freeman.

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as the standard of comparison.



The "Stovepipe" Test.

In the effort to more nearly follow practical conditions, one
set of tests was developed on the line of my earlier stovepipe
experiment by- burning fireproof ed canvas within a piece of five-
inch stovepipe two feet long lined with asbestos, as shown in
Figs. 10 and lOa. Six strips of the canvas, thoroughly treated
with the different solutions, were placed three-fourths of an inch
apart and ignited by burning one ounce of .excelsior. In every
case the canvas burned completely to ash in from three-fourths of
a minute to one and one-half minutes, with flames which often ex-
tended two feet above the top of the stovepipe. Tests in the
stovepipe apparatus on the efficiency of different flameproofing
chemicals were made comparable by taking the same quantity
of canvas in each and by lighting the fire with the same quantity
of combustible. ''

In the first efforts to standardize the " stovepipe test," it was
found, after considerable experimenting, that by using a piece
of the untreated canvas eight inches high by three inches wide
for a kindling piece, and pinning this to the bottom of a strip
of the flameproofed canvas sixteen inches long hung from the
top, the flames from the kindling piece would barely reach to the
top of the pipe, and as ammonium phosphate had proved the most
efficient of the chemicals used in previous tests, the behavior of
a strip of canv r as thoroughly impregnated with this was taken as
the standard for comparison.

The height of flame did not prove a good basis for comparisons
because of the varying weights and thickness of canvas and the
^arying amounts of glue and paint applied. The amount of char



OF THE >\

UNIVERSITY |

OF /

X



ON THE SAFEGUARDING OF LIFE IN THEATERS. 77







FIG. 10. THE "STOVEPIPE" TEST OP SCENERY CANVAS.



78



ON THE SAFEGUARDING OF LIFE IN THEATERS.



produced was found the best basis of comparison. A strip thus
prepared and lighted by the strip of untreated canvas, as above
described, is for a short time bathed in flame from the burn-
ing of the strip below. A single strip thus tested alone, when
taken out of pipe, is found with its lower end blackened and



"11



Vertical
Section



,JJUU



-Asbestos lining
turned over top



Strips to be tested

5"Stove pipe
- Asbestos lining



Light here



Lighted with 1 oz.
wad of "Excelsior" " for air supply



-Wire



Plan



"Stove pipe" for testing
"Fire proof" Canvas

Pio. 10A.

charred up for about half the length, and the upper end white
and unscorched, but on placing several flame-proofed strips side
by side in the stovepipe, all were consumed.

In the following tests (see Tables 7 and 8) six strips of canvas
thoroughly treated were placed side by side, three-fourths of
an inch apart, and ignited by burning one ounce of excelsior.



ON THE SAFEGUARDING OF LIFE IN THEATERS.



79



In each case all was burned to ash in from forty-five seconds to
ninety seconds with flames which often extended two feet above
the top of the pipe.

Fig. 10 shows a photograph of the apparatus and Fig. 10A a
sectional drawing of it. The little material left hanging
upon the ring at the left of the retort stand, with the charred
material on the tray beneath, shows what remained from one of
these tests. On the ring at the right are shown the strips as pre-
pared for insertion in the pipe.



TABLE 7. STOVEPIPE TEST ON NEW UNPAINTED FIREPROOF CANVAS.



Solution Used.


Weight of
Strip of Can-
vas before
Testing
(Grams).


Weight of
Ash
Remaining
(Grams).


Weight of
Substance
Consumed
(Grams).


Per Cent,
of Substance
Burned.


Borax


52


7


51 3


99


Ammonium chloride
Sodium phosphate


62

58


0.5
1 5


615
56 5


99
97


Aluminium sulphate


62


3


590


95


Ammonium phosphate


72


28.0


49.0


68



It will he noted that the ammonium phosphate gave the hest result



TABLE 8. STOVEPIPE TEST ON OLD FIREPROOFED SCENERY



Solution Used.


Weight of
Strip of Can-
vas before
Testing
(Grams).


Weight of
Ash
Remaining
(Grams).


Weight of
Substance
Consumed
(Grams).


Per Cent,
of Substance
Burned.


* a. Chicago Solution


78


18


60


77


f b. Ammonium Sulphate
\ c Ammonium Sulphate


77
16


21
5


6

11


73

69


d. Ammonium Phosphate. . . .
(1) FireProofine


102
136


40
64


62

72


61
63


(2) H S Compound


91


23


63


69


(3) Electric


101


35


66


65


4) H. W Johns' ... .


91


28


63


69


5) No Flame


93


36


57


61


6) Blenio


97


30


67


69


7) Salamanderine


94


27


67


71













Here, with the old painted scenery, as in the series just above with new can-
vas, nothing was found better than the ammonium phosphate.

This test, although so simple, is so severe that the specimens show little
difference in quality of the fireprooh'ng.

The per cents, in this table do not strictly represent the fire-retarding action,
since the per cent, is figured on the original weight, including the incombustible
mineral pigment.

* Ammonium phosphate, ammonium sulphate, ammonium chloride, borax and boric acid,
t On old scenery like the others, except c.
j On gauze.



80 ON THE SAFEGUARDING OF LIFE IN THEATERS.



Lamp Tests of Flame-proofed Scenery.

Although no solution found would protect the canvas so that it
could withstand a severe test, it appeared desirable to devise some
simple portable standard means of comparing the efficiency of
various trade solutions with that of the standard phosphate of
ammonia thoroughly worked into the fabric something that an
inspector of the city building department could use on his round
for finding out if the law which requires flame-proofing of scenery
canvas has been complied with, if he desired something more
like apparatus than a box of matches or a plumber's gasoline




i i I '111 Welsbach chimney holder
Chimney raised K'^1 \ I.^Rnttnm cut to fit lamp

Brass alcohol lamp

Portable lamp as used
by Whipple and Fay for
testing comparative efficiency
of the Flame-proofing of Canvas
by various chemicals

FIG. 11.

torch, or something that would permit a more definite record of
the degree of resistance.

The testing lamp finally adopted by Messrs. Whipple and Fay
is shown in Fig. 11.

The apparatus consists of a common alcohol lamp two inches
high, two and one-half inches in diameter, fitted with a Wels-
bach chimney holder. The chimney served to protect the flame
from side drafts, and thus to some extent prevented the dissipa-
tion of the gases. The chimney also served to support the sample
and keep it in a central position over the flame. The chimney
was raised half an inch above its seat in order to allow air to
enter freely. The strips to be tested by the lamp were cut eight
inches long and one inch wide. Each strip was folded over one-
half inch at the top, so as to allow a slender wire to be passed



ON THE SAFEGUARDING OF LIFE IN THEATERS.



81





1. Ammonium Phosphate.

2. Antipros Klugiana.

3. Subrath's Formula.

4. New Paris Solution.



5. Martin & Tessier's Solution.

6. Salamanderine.

7. "No Flame."



FIG. 12.



10



I l



13




8. " Electric Fireproofing Solution." 12. Ammonia Alum.

9. Fireproofine. . 13. Som Phosphate.

10. Sodium Tungstate. 14. Potashdiu Alum.

11. Boric Acid.

FIG. ISA.

FLAME-PROOFED CANVAS STRIPS ONE INCH WIDE AFTER TEST OF ONE MINUTE
IN ALCOHOL LAMP FLAME Two INCHES HIGH, SHOWING COMPARATIVE
EFFICIENCY OF VARIOUS "FIREPROOFING" CHEMICALS FOR PREVENTING
IGNITION BY A PETTY FLAME.



82



ON THE SAFEGUARDING OF LIFE IN THEATERS.



19



20



2.1




15. Ammonium Phosphate.

16. Ammonium Sulphate.

17. Ammonium Chloride.



22



24



'



21. Canvas Fireproof ed in Manufacture.
FIG. 12B.

26"










25.



27.

28.



<j5i. Ulenio Solution on .New t-'anvas.

23. Old Scenery Treated with Electric Fireproofing Solution.

24. !.. Ammonium Phoephate.

Solution in Chicago.
Blenio Solution.
Salamanderine.
"No Flame."

FIG. 12c.

FLAME-PROOFED CANVAS STRIPS ONE INCH WIDE AFTER TEST OF ONE MINUTE
IN ALCOHOL LAMP FLAME Two INCHES HIGH, SHOWING COMPARATIVE
EFFICIENCY OF VARIOUS "FIREPROOFING" CHEMICALS FOR PREVENTING
IGNITION BY A PETTY FLAME.



ON THE SAFEGUARDING- OF LIFE IN THEATERS. 83

through it for support. This wire, resting across the top of the
chimney, supported the strip of canvas so that its lower end hung
into the top of the flame for one-half an inch. The alcohol flame
was kept at a constant height of two inches.

The tests of canvas made in this way corresponded in results
to those made in the stovepipe, with the advantage of speed in
testing and of being able to see through the glass chimney what
was actually taking place. The time of a single test was one
minute. The accompanying photographs, Figs. 12 to 12c, show
the result of a lamp test upon canvas that had been thoroughly
impregnated with various solutions and dried. It is doubtful
if in practice scenery canvas would be so carefully impregnated
with the solution, and doubtful if all the solutions would be
made as strong.

This test is useful, after all, mainly for the purpose of compar-
ing the efficiency of one method of flame-proofing treatment with
another with greater precision than by the common rough test
of holding a small strip of the fabric in a gas flame, and it should
always be kept in mind that canvas which shows little effect of
burning in this test can easily be burned to total destruction in
the stovepipe test, and that canvas which appears well fireproofed
by these little single-strip, lamp-flame tests would doubtless burn with
a rush of flame and suffocating smoke in a theater fire.

For the practical purpose of seeing if the law has been complied
with, and the scenery flame-proofed enough so a match, or gas
jet, or electric spark will not ignite it, a simple test with a
plumber's torch, or even with burning matches applied at the
frayed edges and seams, in the hand of a thoroughgoing in-
spector will serve all practical purposes.



84 ON THE SAFEGUARDING- OF LIFE IN THEATERS.



DRY POWDER FIRE EXTINGUISHERS.

On and about the stage of the Iroquois Theater were several
tubes of Kilfyre, so-called, one of the numerous "dry powder fire
extinguishers," in a long red tube, that have been so vigorously
pushed into notice by enterprising salesmen during the last few
years. One of the men on the stage promptly and courageously
tried to extinguish the fire with this powder. The burning
scenery and the fireman were not in the best positions for an
extinguisher of this kind to make its best showing, and, of
course, he accomplished nothing whatever, except the loss of
valuable time. The fact that such unreliable material was relied
on there, and is to-day hung up in public places where it gives
a false sense of security, prompts me to devote some little time
to this subject.

The chief reason why these long tin tubes of dry powder have
become popular is that they can be manufactured for about ten
cents each, and that they retail as high as $3.00 each.

They are nearly all composed of common bicarbonate of soda
(or cooking soda), frequently disguised by the admixture of a
little cheap coloring matter like Venetian red, and prevented
from caking by the addition of starch.

I procured a set of the U. S. patents on fire extinguishing
compounds of this class and studied them for suggestions as to
some more potent salt than the bicarbonate of soda, without
success. In the several patents the claim for novelty generally
rests on the proportion of the mixture with Venetian red, yellow
ochre, fullers earth, starch, etc., added to the bicarbonate of soda
to prevent caking.

The party who recommended and sold these tubes of Kil-
fyre to the Iroquois was, I am assured, an honest man who
fully believed in their efficiency, and in an effort to save others
from like mistakes, I have had samples of everything of this kind
that I could find in the Chicago market, the Boston market and
the New York market purchased in the ordinary channels of
trade by different parties, and the respective groups of samples
analyzed by three different chemists, in order to fortify myself
against the possibility of wronging anyone through a mistake in
the analysis, and have had samples sealed up and retained for
further analyses should anyone question my figures.



ON THE SAFEGUARDING OF LIFE IN THEATERS.



85



Fig. 13 is from a group of these extinguishers from which
samples were taken for test.

Bicarbonate of soda or common cooking soda or kitchen sal-
era tus is seen to be the principal ingredient in every case.

The bicarbonate of soda can be purchased in quantity for about
one and three-fourths cents per pound. Each tube commonly
contains two and one-half to three pounds. The cost of the tin
box and its gorgeous label may be enough to bring the whole up




FIG. 13. A GROUP OF DRY POWDER FIRE EXTINGUISHERS.

to ten or fifteen cents. If these are what one wants, why pay
from two dollars to three dollars apiece for them ? Why not buy
a package of common kitchen "saleratus" at the grocer's?

I have heard remarkable stories of what they will do. Re-
markable exhibitions are sometimes given under circumstances
specially devised. My E~ew York friend, the chemist, was given
an exhibition by a man who poured a thin stream of benzine on
the floor, lighted it and extinguished some of the powder. My
friend was impressed, but did some experimenting at home and



86



ON THE SAFEGUARDING OF LIFE IN THEATERS.



A table of representative analyses follows:

TABLE 9. ANALYSIS OF DRY POWDER FIRE EXTINGUISHERS.



Price
per
Tube.


Name of
Dry Powder
Fire Extinguisher.


Per Cent, of Chemicals by Weight.


Fineness.


03
O

s

97.5
96.0
97.4

99.5

94.8
87 6


s
1

o

2.5

4.0
2.6

0.5


Yellow Ochre
(or Iron Ore).


1




&<


Common Salt.


XJ

8

g

1


Sodium
Phosphate.


Nitrate Soda.


Charcoal.


Fire Clay.


Sodium
Sulphate.


Per Cents,
through Sieves.


200
Mesh.


100
Mesh.


80
Mesh.


$3.00
3.00

3.00
3.00
3.00
0.75

3.00
3.00
3.00

3.00
3.00


"Kilfyre"
" Kingfyre "

Fyrcide
"Fire Dust 1 '
"Improved"

Atomized
Electric
Driggs

Pan-American
Phenix
Phenix

Manville
Manville












,






86


100


100




































75

42

82
38

95


86

65
99
98

98


87

98
99
99

99




















5.2

12 4
































95.0




5






































89.5

30.6
81.2
82.1

95.5
96.0






10 5
















70

4
31


92

54
94


96

73
98




37 9




7 4


9 3


8 1






U.S


12.9




4
















17 9










6


7




1 3


















26


97


98




4




























""I""













Another series of analyses ran as follows:

TABLE 10.



Price
per
Tube.


Name of
Dry Powder
Fire Extingnisher.


Per Cent, of Chemicals by Weight.


00

O^

of

B


5

'o

<

00


11

;i


Water in Bi-
Carb. by Diff.


1

*i
1

o


NH 3
Ammonia.










&

4

^
5


Starch.






$2.50
3.00
1.00

2.00
3.00


Kilfyre
Pan-American
Eclipse

Manville
Phenix


39.4
15.3
32.6

35.0
30.1


50.6
20.3
43.2

48.0
41.8


4.0
41.1
3.4

4.0
17.6


10.0
14.1
12.0

13.0
10.1










I










6 7


4








2




















8 8





























































Another series as follo\v r s:



TABLE 11.





Name.


03

|

OC

1


1

O

a


Iron Oxide.


to

a
P

1


Loss at Red
Heat.


8

a
-<


Common Salt.


Sodium
Sulphate.


L

HHg
1



6

a;

1


Starch.


g

5








Monarch


93 7


9 4


3 8




35 1%






















Pyricide


94 7


4 6


7




36.8*






















Pan-American


34 5


4 4








1 1


6 7


9


41 1


10 9












Eclipse


37 9




















8 8


3.3








Kilfyre


% 5






3 5
























Swan


97 9,


1 7




1























































ON THE SAFEGUARDING OF LIFE IN THEATERS.



87



found that after a little practice he could do the same with either
sand or salt. We had tests made of two of them by our inspec-
tors a few years ago and found them of doubtful value on the
smallest fires, and worthless for a fire in free ventilation. They
show up particularly well in a little fire kindled in an office
spittoon.

No doubt, the material has some small value for a certain class
of fires. Doubtless, it is wise to carry a few tubes of this on an
automobile. Doubtless, in confined situations, on the apron of
a cotton picker, even the bicarbonate of soda powder may some-
times do remarkably well, but Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers
should never be used to give a false sense of security about the stage
of a theater.

We do not recommend these tubes of dry powder in factory
fire protection. We recommend they be thrown into the rubbish
heap. Pails of water are far more reliable.

On the other hand, the "soda water fire extinguishers," con-
sisting of a copper cylinder containing two, three or four gallons
of a strong solution of bicarbonate of soda, with a bottle of acid
at the top so arranged that it can be upset into the soda and
water, thereupon generating a strong pressure by the evolution
of carbonic acid gas, are excellent for many situations where
pails would be unsightly.

Hand Grenades.

These are glass bottles, commonly of roughly spherical shape,
and holding about a quart each of a liquid that it is claimed pos-
sesses marvellous fire extinguishing properties. I found many of
these scattered about in some of the older theaters.

As showing what people will pay good money for in the effort
to get fire protection, I was interested in the story that one of
my agents, a chemist, in collecting samples, brought in about
hand grenades. We had purchased examples of some of the dif-
ferent kinds of hand grenade, and had brought home a few sam-
ples that we found hanging in theaters and had their contents
analyzed. In the case of particular interest, the salesman offered,
as proof of the superior merits of his compound, the statement
that a quantity of his particular make and style of hand grenade
had just been purchased by the United States Government for
the protection of one of the battleships. Our analysis shows the



88 ON THE SAFEGUARDING OF LIFE IN THEATERS.

contents to be simply water and common salt. I myself saw a
hand grenade of the same appearance, bearing the same label,
in. the model of the battleship at the St. Louis exposition, so
perhaps it is true that the United States government purchased
salt water at fifty cents per quart bottle for the fire protection of
battleships.

The chemists reported the following analyses in certain samples
of hand grenades. As stated, most of these samples were old
and not direct from the maker.

ANALYSTS OP CONTENTS OP "HAND GRENADE FIRE EXTINGUISHERS."

"Hay ward" band grenade, specific gravity of solution. 1.188

common salt 22.3 percent.

other solids 0.4 " "

''Harden" hand grenade, common salt 18.5 " "

salamtnoniac... ... 6.7 " "



Total 25.5

"Babcock" hand grenade, common salt 21.2 " "

chloride of calcium (5.5 " "

27.7 " "

These materials are inert, and their only advantage over plain
water is that they do not freeze at ordinary winter temperatures.*
The hand grenades contain about one quart of water, while a
30-cent fire-pail holds ten quarts and costs less.

I have been much interested in collecting a file of all of the
patents of the United States patent office for hand grenades and
fire extinguishing compounds. There are many of these patents.
They are interesting reading, but I judge them more curious
than useful.

A favorite line of some of the patentees has been to devise a
compound apparently on the theory of finding something that
would burn quicker than the surrounding fuel and thus by ex-
hausting the oxygen smother the first fire. Other patentees
propose mixtures that generate sulphurous acid and ammonia gas
because of their non-support of combustion, in sublime disregard
of their poisonous non-breathable quality.

Several subjects remain which we have scant time to discuss.

* For places where a non-freezing inert liquid is desired for filling fire pails
probably there is nothing yet available better or cheaper than a strong solution
of chloride of calcium in water. This is obtained as a by-prodact in the soda
works of the Solvay Process Co. at Syracuse (perhaps elsewhere also), and has
recently been put on the market at a low price. It is largely used for the circu-
lating liquid in refrigerating plants.



ON THE SAFEGUARDING OF LIFE IN THEATERS.



89



The most important is the fire escape. I will take time only to
call attention to a source of fatality that had not been foreseen
until the Iroquois fire.



A FIRE-TRAP " FIRE ESCAPE."

In Fig. 14 the fire and smoke issuing from the door marked
F ascended and enveloped the fire escape leading down from




FIG. 14. EMERGENCY EXITS IN REAR OF IROQUOIS THEATER.

A FIRE TRAP INSTEAD OF A FIRE ESCAPE. FLAMES ISSUING AT F CUT
OFF ESCAPE FROM A, BY ENVELOPING GRIDIRON PLATFORM AT B IN
FLAMES.

the upper gallery, so that many who crowded out through the
doorway and stood on the upper platform at A could not de-
scend, and several in their terror jumped about 40 feet to their
death on the hard ground below.

I fear that in many of the theaters similar conditions could
arise to-day, and this great danger of a window or doorway



90 ON THE SAFEGUARDING OF LIFE IN THEATERS.

underneath, through which the flames can issue and envelop
the fire escape, and thus cut off its use, should be carefully looked
out for.

Philadelphia Fire Escape.

A type of fire escape has been developed under the Building
Laws of Philadelphia primarily for use in factories, which is so
remarkably efficient and so far ahead in safety of anything else
that exists that we may wonder why it has not been copied in
other cities. True, it is somewhat expensive, but the safety it
gi ves is well worth the extra cost. The same idea can be readily
applied to the fire escapes from a theater.

Two varieties of this are shown in Figs. 15 and 16; one known
as the Balcony type and the other as the Tower type.

The fundamental idea is that the stairway tower is absolutely
cut off from the various rooms and floors which it serves. One
must go out from the room into the open air and then enter the
stairway. Once within this stairway tower, he can proceed
without danger to the bottom.

It is to be noted that in the Tower type (Fig. 16) the free open-
ing in the top of the tower extends close to the bottom of the floor
above, while the doorways for the same story have their tops at
a much lower level. Therefore, any smoke coming from an opened
door of the workroom will, as it rises, find escape to the front
opening at a much higher level than the door from which it
issues, and will not tend to enter the door into the stairway
tower, which has its top at so much lower height than the free
opening in front. The stairway is thus free from danger of flame
or smoke, and presents safe outlet for workmen and safe means
of access for firemen.

ESCAPE FROM THE GALLERY.

The great lesson out of all the theater fires as to the danger to
those in the gallery should not be forgotten in designing the
stairways and fire escapes. The area, the total number of stair-
way exits, and the total width of stairway per hundred persons
should be two or three times as great for the gallery as for the other
parts of the house, and all exits should run in such a direct and
obvious course, with guide curves instead of abrupt angles at
changes of direction, that with a person once in them, he could



OX THE SAFEGUARDING OF LIFE IX THEATERS.



91



FIFTH FLOOR




SECOND FLOOR



VERTICAL SECTION




OPEN RAILING
OR PARTLY ENCLOSED
WITH CORRUGATED IRON



TOWER DOOR ON GROUND "
FLOOR TO OPEN OUTWARD



PLAN



FIG. 15. BALCONY STAIR TOWER AND FIRE ESCAPE FOR FACTORIES.
PHILADELPHIA TYPE.



92



OX THE SAFEGUARDING OF LIFE IN THEATERS.




i l~


I




s




o


o:
cc


QT

3




'ASSENGEB
ELEVATOR


IN




tr


i






i




FIG. 16. TOWER FIRE ESCAPE FOR FACTORIES.
PHILADELPHIA TYPE.



ON THE SAFEGUARDING OF LIFE IN THEATERS. 93

not fail to find his way to the bottom, although in total dark-


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