The Inaugural Meeting
The inaugural meeting of this newly-incorporated body was held at the Albion Hotel Ludgate Circus London EC on Wednesday evening last. Mr J Grundy the President in the chair supported by amongst others,
Messrs T Potterton (Balham), E Hampton (Abergavenny),G Millington (Engineer to the London School Board)
J Jeffreys (Old Queen Street), T H P Dennis (Chelmsford),
W W Williams (Reading), J E Hartley (Halifax),
F Dye (Streatham) E Taylor (Tollington Park),
F G Newton (Finsbury Pavement), E W Mayner (Redhill),
F G Maguire (Belfast).
The engagement of the evening was the reading of two papers, one by Mr Walter Jones (Jones & Attwood), Stourbridge, and the other by Professor Carpenter, New York. Unfortunately neither the latter gentleman nor his paper arrived in time for the meeting.
Mr Jones pointed out that in the early part of the century very little was known of the science of heating by hot water. Twenty-five years ago heating engineers were few and far between; today one can scarcely go through a small town or village without coming across a sign "Plumber and Hot-Water Fitter" or "Ironmonger and Heating Engineer". He believed the first treatise that made any pretensions of dealing with the subject in a comprehensive manner was one published by Chas. Hood in 1837. This book treats principally of the low-pressure system, and in the same year (1837) a book on the high pressure system written by Mr C J Richardson was also published. Its literary matter describes the details and the illustrations show the adaptation of the Perkins system with sealed tubes as used for heating and ventilating purposes, and on looking carefully through this book and another one published in 1840, entitled "A M Perkins Patent Apparatus for Warming and Ventilating Buildings" it is surprisingly how close the system of today resembles that adopted sixty years ago. The improvements during that time are comparitively slight, and bear no comparison with the enormous strides made in low-pressure heating during the same period.
The Hot Water Trade Played Out
Fifteen years ago a manufacturer of heating apparatus said to the author "the hot water trade is about played-out" "Played out !" he replied "why the trade is in its infancy". What we have to do today is to educate the public, show them the advantage, the economy, and the necessity of artifical heating, that for any building and for every building there is nothing to compare with it. There is ample scope for all in this direction. The colder climate of America creates the necessity, but the damp, humid and changeable conditions of the English climate from October to April are far more treacherous and more trying to the constitution than the sharp, dry atmosphere in colder regions.
The Practical Benefit of the Institution
The chief wants of the trade were:
First, a good reliable standard work on heating by hot water, in which the data have been corrected, new tables added to meet diversified and special needs, existing tables verified, and the latest and most improved methods introduced and brought up to date.
Second, a good english weekly or monthly periodical, devoted exclusively to the interests of the heating and ventilating trades.
Third, that a code of rules should be prepared and adopted to safeguard the interests of the trade, and that steps should be taken to insure fair treatment and to prevent exploitation.
Fourth, that the members of this Institution should work together, assist each other and not stoop to the meanness of taking an unfair advantage of other members of the trade.
As to the want of a reliable work. In consulting a number of different books one finds that one author says that iron melts at 2200° Fahr, another says the melting
Advice should not be given Gratis
"Let me give you some methods I have adopted that have proved satisfactory to my clients and myself. I get a great many applications to send representatives to take plans of buildings, to give advice and estimates of the cost for heating and hot water supply. I reply on a printed form stating that the fee is from 10s. 6d to £5.-5s. according to the distance and the work required, and I make no exception to this rule. The results have been eminently satisfactory".
That the members of this Institution should work together , assist each other, and not stoop to the meanness of taking an unfair advantage of other members of the trade. I have frequently given advice, prepared plans, schemes and estimates that have afterwards been submitted to others, and the order placed elsewhere, because of the clients dishonesty, or the unscrupulousness of the competitor. I have also received plans prepared by other engineers, with their names stamped on them; in all such cases I have refused to quote unless the engineer has been paid for his trouble.
"Let me remark that the subject of this paper is heating and ventilation; the latter topic is conspicuous by its absence, and at the fag end of a paper it would be sheer folly for me to attempt to deal with it. In the first place, I do not pretend to know much about it, and I fear in this respect I am not alone, and judging from the results obtained in some of our public buildings, law courts, town halls etc. that many of us are in the same unhappy condition. I propose to leave this part of the subject to others who are better qualified than I to deal with it. I will simply remark that heating and ventilating are closely related, and like twin sisters, when they disagree mortification is the result, but when properly regulated, satisfaction prevails".
At the conclusion of the reading of the paper the Chairman invited criticism from members, but advantage of the opportunity by only one or two gentlemen.
Mr Edward Taylor referring to the discrepancies in the alleged heating capacity of boilers urged that the matter should be taken in hand by the Institution and some reliable data obtained for the guidance of architects and orthers. He thought also that sufficent honour had not been paid to Mr Perkins the inventor of the small bore system of heating, who long ago achieved great success in that direction.
Several spearkers approved the idea of a journal being started to further the interests of heating and ventilating engineers, and the hope was expressed that something worthy of the trade would be forthcoming.
Mr Jones in reply expressed regret that the details of his paper had not been more freely criticised. As to the establishment of a journal, he did not think it was a matter to be lightly undertaken, and he inclined to think that possibly the proprietors of THE IRONMONGER might be induced to devote more attention to the trade than that had hitherto done. Alluding to the subject of ventilation, Mr Jones said that provision for renewing the air of a room was the most important, and in his own offices by using inlet and outlet radiators, perfect success was achieved, so much so indeed, that if smoking went on overnight no traces of it would be detected in the atmosphere of the room next morning.As to the Perkins system very little improvement had been made in the inventors original methods and he should undoubtedly to be held in honour as the pioneer of the small bore system. Mr Jones had sent plant as far afield as Trinidad for cocoa-drying, and it was now the rule rather than the exception for churches and public buildings to be heated by hot water.
A hearty vote of thanks to Mr Jones for his paper concluded the meeting.