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A BOSTON MERCHANTS DAUGHTER.
extinguish them with an engine. How I wished she and a company of her female friends could have been at Otis Street at the November fire. About $80,000,000 would have been saved by them in an hour! It may seem a service rather unfit for young women to fight fires; but if the men fail, as at that fire, and the women, by their tact and ready wit, can be so efficient, we should be thankful for their assistance. They can at least teach the men to adopt a system so efficient, and that will perhaps be the work they can do best at the present time. “ If they will, they will, you may depend on't!" I hope they will.
OUR PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND WAREHOUSES.
TURNING now from private dwellings to stores and public buildings, let us consider, first, elevators, and then what I call fire elevators, or chip and shaving hatchways.
One of the common items of city news, is that of loss of life, or maimed for life, by people in warehouses falling down elevator passages. It is one prolific source of the practice of our hospitals. When such an accident occurs, those who see the broken, crushed mass of humanity carried off to the hospital or its home, are dreadfully shocked. A few of them may possibly dare whisper that the man-trap should not forever be set, to murder, or worse, to cause the unfortunate person to linger on, a poor crippled man, forever dependent on the help of his friends, often little able to support him. But the “package” is removed, and the business of the merchant goes on just as before. The trap continues set, because it would cost a
few hundred dollars to make a proper elevator, which may be wanted for the purchase of the next horse or carriage, with which to ride upon the fashionable drives about the city.
Another item which helps to fill the newspapers, is somewhat as follows: “Destructive Fire. The warehouse of was found on fire last night by persons passing on the street. There seemed to be but little fire, and that in the basement. It soon however ran up the elevator, and although the fire department was on hand as usual, yet before they got to work the flames had broken out in every loft, and the merchandise was all in flames. The department succeeded in confining the fire to one store, but the loss in that was very large, probably some hundred thousands." This would be varied, not exactly according to the weather, but of the wind, so as to embrace several stores, or a street, or as on the November fire would become an awful conflagration, involving dreadful loss of life and misery untold upon thousands of people. Why then do not the merchants provide themselves with safety elevators, which can never be open except when packages are passing through them? Because it is not the law, with a severe penalty, that they shall be placed in every store, warehouse, etc. That is the simple reason. It costs something. One man may have
in his place of business such a proper safeguard from awful accident, to life, or from the destruction of the city, and the papers may call attention to it, and they are always willing to do their full share of such good works, and thousands of owners and people renting stores shall see them, and not half a dozen of them will be put up in a year, and the inventor will grow poor after inventing what if brought into use as it should be, would render life and property much more safe. It is a good time now to make such a law. Those who have not been burned out can well afford to meet the expense, and where new buildings are to be erected the extra expense is but trifling. Our papers constantly contain advertisments with minute descriptions of safety elevators. The inventors should for the next few months be overrun with orders; yet if there is no law enacted they will sell about a dozen in the city, during the year, when it should not close without there being many thousands of them brought into use.
An excellent safety elevator which was patented in 1856 by W. H. Thompson and E. P. Morgan, had sold up to 1870, only sixty-five of them, and almost every one of them were placed in manufactories. There should be sixty-five hundred of them in Boston. For the safety of the city, and a protection against fire, they are required. For
the safety of the firemen, who often have to grope their way through buildings filled with smoke to extinguish fires, they are required. For the prevention of cruelty to animals, as man is an animal, for how often do we read of a merchant, or his customer, his clerk, boy, or one of the porters, falling from one to half a dozen stories, to be carried off to a hospital a mangled creature, or to his home a corpse. Does it cost a few hundred dollars ? Not one.
The greater safety from fire will pay for them. The pleasant feeling of security from accidents from their use would be worth thousands of dollars to every man who pulls out the old, and introduces a new safety elevator, safe from dreadful accidents, and from fires. In spite of the dreadful mistake of those who failed to give an alarm to the telegraph for twenty minutes at the Boston fire, if there had been a safety elevator in the first store which took fire, the fire would most likely have never gone out of the basement, and the loss by the fire would have been less thousands than it was millions of dollars. There are laws against smoking, drinking, selling drinks, against taking a newspaper, loaf of bread, or a thousand other trivial items. Now let us make it a crime to set these man and fire traps all over the city, and by a severe penalty compel every person using an elevator to procure a safe one.