The steam fire engine of which we give an engraving is one specially built for the Indian government by Messrs. Shand, Mason & Co., London. It has the distinction of being the first steam fire engine supplied for the province of Upper Burma, having been purchased primarily for the royal palace, and to serve for the protection of the cantonment of Mandalay. The engine is placed vertically in front of the boiler, and consists of a double acting pump with valves which can be taken out for renewal or examination in two or three minutes. The capacity is 200 gallons per minute, and the height of jet 140 ft. As shown in the engraving, the fore part of the machine forms a hose reel and tool box, and can be instantly separated from the engine to allow of the independent use of the latter at a fire.
[Illustration: IMPROVED STEAM FIRE ENGINE.]
The engine is constructed with wrought iron side frames, fore carriage and wheels, and steel axles, springs, etc. The tool box, coachman’s seat, and other parts are of teak. It is provided with Messrs. Shand, Mason & Co.’s quick steaming boiler, in which 100 lb. pressure can be raised from cold water in from five to seven minutes, an extra large fire box for burning wood, with fire door at the back, feed pump, and injector, fresh water tank, coal bunker, and other fittings and arrangements for carrying the suction pipe. A pole and sway bars are fitted for two ponies, and wood cross bars to pass over the backs of the animals at the tops of the collars. Two men are carried on the machine, a coachman on the box seat and a stoker on the footboard at the rear of the engine. The whole forms a very light and readily transportable fire engine.—The Engineer.
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[Footnote 1: Continued from Scientific American of July 11, p. 23.]
France.—The history of the aerial postal service and of the carrier pigeons of the siege of Paris has been thoroughly written, and is so well known that it is useless to recapitulate it in this place. It will suffice to say that sixty-four balloons crossed the Prussian lines during the war of 1870-1871, carrying with them 360 pigeons, 302 of which were afterward sent back to Paris, during a terrible winter, without previous training, and from localities often situated at a distance of over 120 miles. Despite the shooting at them by the enemy, 98 returned to their cotes, 75 of them carrying microscopic dispatches. They thus introduced into the capital 150,000 official dispatches and a million private ones reduced by photo-micrographic processes. The whole, printed in ordinary characters, would have formed a library of 500 volumes. One of these carriers, which reached Paris on the 21st of January, 1871, a few days previous to the armistice, carried alone nearly 40,000 dispatches.