From 1839 to 1841 letters addressed to the Editor of The Times newspaper claimed that the new methods of heating buildings by either Perkins High Pressure hot water systems or Dr Arnott's warm air stoves were in fact the cause of many serious and destructive fires in buildings. The letter writer claims at some length and in great detail that the Perkins High Pressure Hot water system, and the Arnott stove must have been responsible for these conflagrations. This controversial subject then invoked rebuttals from the inventors of this heating equipment.
The writer uses the pseudonym "Philosophous" to mask his identity, but it is apparent from the amount of detail given in the letters that he was associated with, or had in-depth knowledge of the heating industry. However, the fact that he is not prepared to name himself does not enhance the credibility of his arguments. He could be a competitor securing contracts for heating buildings. He uses the letters as the opportunity to put forward the benefits of the Low pressure hot water system.
THE DESTRUCTION OF
PUBLIC BUILDINGS BY FIRE
TO THE EDITOR OF THE
Sir, the destruction which has of late years occurred to our public buildings, and in particular the late conflagration in the Tower, has at length aroused public attention to the consideration of this subject, whether there is anything defective in the present mode of warming these buildings, which has lead to these disastrous consequences. Convinced as I am that this is really the case, and that there are many of our other public buildings, and many, very private ones, which are in imminent peril from the same cause, I consider it has now become a positive duty to lend my humble voice in calling attention to a subject on which the greatest ignorance prevails, not only among the public at large, but among those professional men to whom the public look to direct them in such matters.
But though Architects are generally but little informed on the scientific points connected with the warming and ventilation of buildings, it must be admitted that in by far the greater majority of instances where new modes of warming are applied to old buildings architects are never consulted at all, and are therefore not chargeable with the consequences of the mistakes which are frequently committed.
In general the charlatan who is the loudest in his vociferations that he has discovered the very best mode of warming that was ever invented is allowed to exercise his skill at his own discretion, his employer considering that he has made a most excellent bargain, if he has stipulated that nothing shall be paid for the experiment unless the promised effects are produced. It seldom occurs to such a person to consider whether he has not thus permitted the introduction into his house of a most dangerous and destructive engine and that he is perhaps in daily, nay hourly danger, both to life and property, by reason of the ignorance or the cupity of the party he has employed. It is now only necessary for a man to advertise that he can save a few pennies worth of fuel a day, and forthwith he is employed to erect his machines, not only in our private houses, but in our public buildings.
A few additional fires occur, but the public know not the cause. It is pure accident perhaps or "spontaneous combustion" forsooth, or something else to divert attention from the real truth is of course, invented for the occasion and the thoughtless public, who will never profit by others' experience continue to delude themselves until some such public calamity as the destruction of our national buildings for a short time rouses their attention, presently again to sink into its former tupor.
Should anyone then presume to call the public attention to these consequences, he is forthwith considered to have some interested motives. He is perhaps a rival tradesman, or the patentee of some new plan, which he thinks will supersede the "old way" or is he envious perhaps of the success which has attended some person towards whom he entertains a dislike. That all these sentiments are far too often operative in the human mind is a truth not to be denied; and as it is scarcely possible in such a matter as the one now under consideration to obtain the advice of any person who is absolutely disinterested, both personally and relatively, as no others have probably sufficiently considered the subject, it is, I think a matter of the highest public importance that some competent tribunal should now be empowered to examine into the safety of the various modes of warming, more particularly with regard to our public buildings; but with the still further object that the evidence they obtain shall be published, in order that the public at large may benefit by the various scientific opinions and experimental researches which a public body alone is able to command. That such a commission would be of great public benefit will I think, scarcely be denied and still further to prove the necessity of some such step. I will proceed to show the results of some of the present modes of warming buildings as exhibited by a list of casualties which at present occur to me, there being no doubt many hundreds of cases of similar nature which have not fallen under my observation, or have not retained a place in my memory.
I will first however, premise a few general observations on the general modes of warming buildings at present principally in use. Next after the open fire-place, the national characteristic of an "Englishman's fire-side" no plan of warming was formally so general as that of heated flues. The antiquity of this plan is very great; it was well known and extensively practised in the early days of ancient Rome, and was introduced by the Romans into this country. Of late however, it has given place to three other modes; the cockle or hot air stove; the use of steam contained in iron pipes; and hot water applied in the same manner. To describe all these plans would require far too much space. The first two, the flues and the cockle stoves are both liable to become overheated under improper management. The use of steam appeared to accomplish the greatest improvement both in safety as well as salubrity; but this again has been still further improved by the greater simplicity and economy of the hot water apparatus. But here it must be remarked that under this title are classed two very different modes of applying hot water - the high pressure and the low pressure systems. The former of these was the invention of the very ingenious and scientific Mr Perkins well known for his experiments on high pressure steam, and the inventor of the steam gun; and though it is now erected in all parts of the country and by all sorts of persons, both scientific and non-scientific it is still called after the name of its inventor, "The Perkins high pressure hot-water apparatus." Of this apparatus I shall shortly show some of the results. But of the other system of hot water I have only here to remark I have never yet met with a single instance of accident which occurred from its use, and I believe it to be at once the most efficient, and the most economical, and the most wholesome mode of warming buildings that has ever yet been introduced.
The Arnott's stoves are too well known to need any description. They are a modern invention, of which I will shortly show some of the results. The apparent success of these stoves on their first introduction soon brought into existence a numerous progeny of a hybrid race, and the Vestas, the Chunks, and many other productions evince the greediness with which the public swallow the book when lured by the tempting bait of economy.
Before proceeding further with these remarks I will show by reference to a few of the accidents which have occurred, the nature of the danger to be apprehended from some of these inventions.
ACCIDENTS FROM ARNOTT'S STOVES.
Marquis of Ailesbury Grosvenor Square - stove became red hot and burst. the heat became so intense that water was obliged to be applied to prevent the woodwork catching fire.
Sir G Rose Hyde-park Gardens - stove exploded from acclumilation of gas and scattered the burning fuel a distance of several feet across the hall.
Lady Dysart Ham House - stove exploded, and did considerable damage in the hall.
Messrs Kepp, Chandos Street - stove exploded during the night, and blew the different parts of the stove across the room, scattering the burning fuel all over the floor.
Mr W G Brougham, Grosvenor Square - gas exploded in the stove, and the flame was blown to a distance of five or six feet.
Mr T Barnes, Soho Square - stove exploded and burst, breaking the windows and door of the hall.
Mr S B -------, Herne Hill - stove became red hot, owing to a small cinder sticking in the air-valve.
ACCIDENTS FROM THE HIGH PRESSURE HOT WATER APPARATUS
Wilson.Casey and Phillips, Spitalfields - Warehouse set on fire by pipes becoming red hot
Sir Hussey Vivian. Glynn House -ditto-
Mr Barbour Manchester -ditto-
Craft and Steel, Manchester - Manufactory destroyed by fire in consequence of bursting of the apparatus and the fire being scattered; the damage estimated at £20,000
Museum of Natural History Manchester. Set on fire in several places by the pipes becoming overheated.
Birch chapel Manchester matting and cushions burnt by pipes becoming too hot
Unitarian Chapel Manchester -ditto-
Williams, Deacon & Co Pipes set fire to joist of building; speedily extinguished without damage.
Lothbury Church Expansion pipe burst and scolded the charity children.
apparatus burst twice during the
night and caused great alarm and
Sir T Cullum Bury apparatus burst twice and destroyed much glass in the house.
Mr Ingliss Dulwich burst in furnace with damage.
Camberell Workhouse burst with much damage.
Timothy Smith & Co Birmingham -ditto-
Horticultural Gardens Chiswick -ditto-
Mr Hemming Dulwich -ditto-
Sir J Lubbock Mitcham Grove -ditto-
Mr Debouverie Englefield -ditto-
Lord Beresford Bedgebury -ditto-
Inner Temple Hall -ditto
Duke of Wellington Strathfieldsays -ditto-
ACCIDENTS FROM OVERHEATED FLUES
Houses of Parliament - totally destroyed
Royal Exchange - -ditto-
Camberwell Church - -ditto-
Marquis of Londonderry's Wynyard Park -ditto-
Preston Church near Brighton greatly damaged
These lists might be extended by some hundreds of examples. The above though sufficiently show the nature of the danger to be apprehended; and when we remember that the Custom House in London is heated by Arnott's stoves, and that the British Museum is heated by Perkins high pressure hot water pipes, we cannot I think say that these buildings are perfectly safe from the fate which has just befallen the Tower of London, and that some means of satisfying the public respecting their security is not imperitively demanded. In addition to our public buildings it must be bourne in mind that there are hundreds - nay thousands, of private homes which are heated by one or the other of these modes of distributing artificial heat. It is a subject which alike concerns the fire insurance companies as well as individuals; and it is a well known fact, since the commencement of the present year in consequence of the fires which occurred in Manchester, as already stated, many insurance companies, both in London and in the country, have refused to insure at any premium whatever buildings heated by some of the plans which have here been described. If this be the case, and I believe it is not without good grounds that they do so, and it behoves the public to look to themselves in a matter of so much importance.
One great source of the danger arises from the supposed security which attaches to these modes of warming. People never imagine that the Arnott's stoves, which are stated to retain a permanently low temperature, can become red-hot; and they consequently place them actually in contact with wood or other combustible materials; and the same occurs with the high-pressure hot-water pipes, as no one dreams that pipes can become red-hot while filled with water. Both these suppositions we find in practise are erroneous; although as regards pipes containing water becoming red-hot, which appears the most impractical of the two, this result can only happen in pipes that are hermetically sealed, which is the principal feature of the high-pressure apparatus, and the absence of which from the other system of hot-water apparatus renders it so perculiarly safe.
If these remarks have the effect of calling public attention to this important subject, they may perhaps, be the means of preventing in some measure the recurrence of such disastrous fires as we have lately had reason to deplore.
I am Sir, your obedient servant
November 18th 1841
THE DESTRUCTION OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS BY FIRE
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES
Sir, My attention having been called to an article in The Times of the 20th November signed Philosophus in which the system of warming public buildings by hot water, when circulated in tubes hermetically sealed, is pronounced dangerous, I feel it my duty to reply to it, not only in justice to myself as the inventor, but for the satisfaction of those who have adopted it for the warming of their premises.
This plan of warming has been extensively adopted by some of the most eminent and scientific men of the day, who have tested its safety, and certified to its efficacy. Your correspondent has referred to various places where accidents are said to have occurred, some of which were so trifling in their nature, that the very mention of them proves the difficulty of finding cases by which to condemn the plan.
In proof that the whole has been greatly exaggerated, I only need mention that the apparatus at Marlborough house, the Duke of Wellington's, Lord Beresford's, Inner temple hall, Sir Thomas Cullen's, Lothbury Church, Messrs William Deacon & Co's, Sir H Vivian's and for aught I know, all the rest, except the Guardian Fire-office and Croft and Stell's, are still in operation, as may be seen at any time, and which Philosophus must have known although he had not the candour to acknowledge it.
Your correspondent in his zeal for the public good, has been led into error, to say the least of it, for with regard to Marlborough house no accident has ever happened there, as the annexed letter from Mr Morris proves. The same may be said with respect to the apparatus at Lord Beresford's ; the freezing of the water in the pipes before the house was finished was magnified into an "accident with damage." The Guardian-fire office is another case where a harmless slit in a pipe is put into the list of damages. - (see Mr Key's letter annexed.)
The cases of burning and bursting mentioned only prove that, like all other plans of warming, this may be improperly executed, and that it requires competent persons to be employed. The fact is, the only serious case named is that of Croft & Stell at Manchester, which was caused by a combination of circumstances for which the plan of warming is not accountable. These premises were warmed by hot water pipes, the furnace of which were placed in a room filled with dry cotton goods. At a period of intense frost, the fire was allowed to be out two nights and one day, during which time the water in the pipes became frozen ; in this state the man in charge of the apparatus made a strong fire and left it ; the inevitable consequence was, a pipe in the furnace burst, and threw out some fire upon the combustible materials which were lying around it. Now had this been a low pressure apparatus the same effect would have undoubtably have occurred. This accident therefore, should not be attributed to the mode of warming, but to the improper manner of its application, and total absence of common care in its management.
Upon these erroneous data "Philosophus" has sounded the alarm that all buildings warmed with my apparatus are in danger, and more particularly refers to the British Museum. He also states as a well-known fact, "that since the commencement of the present year, in consequence of the fires which occurred in Manchester, as already stated , many insurance companies, both in London and in the country, have refused at any premium whatever buildings heated by some of the plans which have here been described," evidently alluding to as mine, because he mentions no other plan in relation to Manchester. In reply to this statement, I have to say that some of the insurance companies, in consequences of the report published in Manchester, did hesitate when first applied to after the appearance of these alarming accounts ;but after an examination into the subject, they no longer refused. Among the number who have taken insurances I may mention the Phoenix, which has very recently endorsed a policy at their lowest rate of premium ; the Royal Exchange has also continued as before ; the Atlas the same ; the guardian the same ; the Dissenters Insurance office has also agreed to take Messrs Saunders and Wooley's showroom in Regent Street which I am now engaged in warming, at the same premium as before. The County Fire office has just had an apparatus erected on my plan in their own premises and are ready to take insurances whenever offered, subject to their regular rates. The Norwich Union does not hesitate ;and were I to enumerate all the insurance offices, I have no doubt I should be justified in doing so, for not one of them with whom I have yet communicated has refused an insurance when the apparatus was properly erected.
Having thus shown by direct proof how much your correspondent has erred in his statements, I trust the public will not be influenced by his remarks to condemn the use of an apparatus which has been so long throughly tested and approved, but will rather examine for themselves and employ persons who are competent by their experience to arrange apparatus with safety. Without due precaution no system of warming can be considered perfectly safe ; great care should be taken in choosing the situation for the furnace, in ascertaining the state of the flue, and in the proportions of boiler surface to the fire etc. Inattention to these particulars sometimes places buildings in the greates jeopardy. Chimneys are often so overheated, that buildings have been set on fire by them, while the apparatus in other respects is perfectively safe, and this is more likely to occur with the low-pressure than with the high-pressure system of heating by water, because larger furnaces are required.
In every one of the public buildings lately destroyed by fire, the disaster has originated in the overheated flues ; hot water pipes either under high or low pressure have nothing whatever do with it, indeed it is more than probable that had these buildings been warmed by hot water, they would have at this moment have remained unscathed.
I am Sir, your very obedient servant
A M PERKINS.
No 6 Francis Street, Regent Street November 23, 1841.
"Sir, - In reply to your note, I beg to say that no accident ever happened to your apparatus at Marlborough House but on the contrary it has ever given the greatest satisfaction, and continues to do well.
I remain Sir, yours truly,
"JOSEPH MORRIS, Clerk of the works.
"St James's Palace, Nov. 22 1841."
"Mr A M Perkins.
"Sir, - In compliance with your request to be furnished with a candid statement of the nature of the accident that occurred to your hot-water apparatus at this office about 10 years ago, I beg to inform you, that before the trial of the pipes could be said to have been fairly completed, an accident certainly did occur in one of the rooms, but it was of a trifling nature, producing only a slit not more than an inch long in the weld of the pipe, doing no damage whatever ; and the apparatus was used several years afterwards without either accident or alarm. The use of the apparatus was discontinued in consequence of its not being considered perfectly adapted to some of the smaller rooms through which the pipes passed.
I am Sir, your very obedient servant,
"GEORGE KEYS" Secretary.
"Guardian Assurance-office, Nov 23 1841."
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES
Sir, The report of the committee appointed to inquire into the cause of the recent destruction of part of the Tower of London by fire having now been made public, I am induced to offer some remarks on the document which I think may not be uninteresting at the present time, nor undeserving of public attention, even though the opinion I have to offer upon the subject is at variance with that expressed by the committee. In a former letter of mine which was published in your newspaper of the 20th November I showed what were the consequences which frequently resulted from some of the modes of warming buildings at present in use. In my present letter I propose showing the causes of these results, some of which will be applicable to elucidate the mystery at present that appears to shroud the subject of the inquiry above alluded to. Before proceding to this subject however, I feel it incumbent upon me to reply to some observations of Mr Perkins published in your Newspaper of the 24th December, by which some of the statements in my former letter have been called into question; for however little it may concern the public to reconcile adverse public statements by persons holding different opinions on matters of science, if a writer can be shown to be erroneous in his facts in one case he may possibly be equally be erroneous in others, and therefore less deserving of public confidence.
The only statement however, which Mr Perkins has positively negatived is that of an explosion of the high pressure hot water apparatus at Marlborough house; and to prove this negative statement a certificate from the clerk of works has been given. The circumstances of the case were these. In the early part of the year 1838 (I believe in the month of February). Marlborough house being then under repair, and at the time in question full of tradesmen and workpeople, the apparatus (which had been erected a short time before) suddenly exploded with frightful violence. One of the persons present on the occasion thus writes respecting it :- "As regards Perkins hot water apparatus, my opinion is that they got the steam up too high, for it went off like a cannon, filling all the avenues with steam and hot water. Had any person been near they might have been severely scalded. I was up stairs and heard the report, and I ran down to see it." The report was so loud that some persons thought the guns in the park were firing and went out to see what was going forward. Mr Morris the clerk of works was either on the spot at the identical moment of the explosion, or arrived there very shortly afterwards and was well aquainted with the circumstances. The motive for its denial I am at a loss to understand unless it is in some way connected with another explosion which occurred with another similar apparatus erected under the same superintendance, in the temporary building attached to the palace, used on the occasion of the Queen's marriage, which burst immediately after its erection and on the day previous to the ceremony on which it was to have been used. The explosion previously mentioned is however, a matter of fact, to which numerous witnesses could attest. I forbear any remarks on its denial by Mr Perkins and Mr Morris. Not only certificates but affidavits could be procured in confirmation of my statement from persons who were present at the occasion; and I enclose for your inspection two letters confirming my statement, one being that from which the preceding extract is taken, the other from the person of the highest respectability, who is well aquainted with the circumstances of the case.
In denial of another case of accident a letter from Mr Keys of the guardian Fire Office is given in which however, he confirms the fact of its occurrence but says "it was of a trifling nature producing only a slit not more than an inch long in the weld of the pipe, doing no damage whatever." Different persons no doubt entertain different notions of the nature and extent of accidents . But an accident arising from the expansion of steam of sufficient force to make a slit in a pipe which had been proved equal (as all these pipes are) to bear a pressure of 2000 pounds per square inch is certainly one which few persons would call "trifling" It may be necessary to state the this pressure is 40 times the amount which the most daring engineer in a high pressure steam engine, and nearly 400 times the amount of pressure used for steam boats and other ordinary purposes.
Mr Perkins considers I have been wanting in candour in not stating that several of the apparatus named as having caused accidents have been repaired and are now in use . I know that several that have caused accidents are not now in existence, but I am not aware whether the particular ones alluded to by Mr Perkins are so or not.. I should have considered it an unfair argument against this system in particular to mention cases in which the apparatus has been removed in consequence of failure of action; because many causes of failure from want of knowledge in the erection have occurred with the low pressure or large pipe system, though none can be adduced of danger from its use. But if Mr Perkins desires a list of apparatus which have been removed after erection I can without difficulty furnish one of no inconsiderable extent , together with additional cases of bursting, burning and other casualities, which I will publish if he wishes it, or expresses the slightest doubt upon the subject.
As regards the objections made by the insurance offices, Mr Perkins himself fully confirms all that I have stated; and merely asserts that several offices which objected at the commencement of the present year to insure buildings heated by these means now insure them as usual. What alteration has taken place in this respect during the last few months I know not ; but I know of my own knowledge that buildings which were to have been heated on this plan were some months since were heated by the common hot water apparatus in consequence of the large additional premium required for the insurance.
Having vindicated myself from Mr Perkins charges I will now proceed to show the causes of the explosions both of Arnott's stoves and of the high pressure hot water apparatus. The principle of the Arnott's stove is slow combustion of the fuel. By this means a quantity of carbonic oxide is generated,nwhich when mixed with a very small quantity of carbonic acid is heavier than common air, and sinks to the lower parts of the stove, where it remains and accumulates. This gas when mixed with atmospheric air in certain proportions, inflames and mixed in other proportions, it explodes with violence ; and these different mixtures cause all the different phenomena ; sometimes a flame bursting out from the door of the stove; sometimes an explosion destroying the stove, and scattering the burning fuel ; and sometimes what Dr Arnott has described as a semi-explosion ; the difference between the explosion and the semi-explosion being, that one is sufficient to knock off a mans head if it happens to be in the right place at the right time, the other being merely sufficient to frighten him out of his wits, if indeed persons who use these stoves are supposed to possess any, a fact which has been called into question by many competent judges.
I might here remark upon the unwholesome effects of these stoves, by which many persons have seriously injured their health ; but I wish to confine my remarks at present to the question of safety. The list was given in my former letter shows the character of the accidents which occur from these stoves. to these might be added the explosion at Alderman Wilson's at Beckenham, the school of Design Somerset House, a stove becoming red hot at Mr Landham's in Piccadilly, and many others. But there is already sufficient ready to show the effects produced by these stoves, the danger of them being greatly increased by the fact that until the very instant of their explosion no person can possibly discover whether they are in a state of security or not, as no one can detect whether the gas has formed, or is likely to be formed in the stove, and therefore no inspection can be of any avail.
As regards the stove erected at the Tower, and to which a large portion of the labours of the committee were directed to ascertain whether they were the cause of the late disaster. I have understood that they were upon a construction on Arnott's principle, the invention of one of the Inspectors employed at the Tower. If this be the case no doubt there was a strong desire to make the committee suppose that the stoves were perfectly safe, and could not have been the cause of the fire. But in looking at the evidence I think there is a great reason to support that they were the cause. The stoves, it appears, were cleaned out on the day of the fire, and afterwards a quantity of wood and chips were burnt, to see how the stoves would draw. Whether the coke which remained in the stove from the previous fire had been removed or not the witnesses stated they could not tell, and therefore if no one could be found who had removed it, the obvious inference is that it had not, particularly as there could be no reason why it should have been removed. On lighting the would then, we have all the elements of a fire which might burn slowly for many hours, particularly as on igniting the coke it would necessarily be lighted first on the top. But we have also the very best materials for an explosion. The wood of course would form a large quantity of hydrogen gas and this mixing with the carbon and the carbonic oxide, would form a mixture the most likely to explode of any that ever forms in these stoves. In opposition to the opinion of explosion Mr Heinke was examined, who being a maker of Arnott's stoves would not be likely to give an opinion against their safety and we find that he gauges his opinion on the fact that on examining the remains of the stove he found the outside more burnt than the inside ; but how an explosion can burn the inside of the stove is a matter which it would be not a little difficult to explain. In one of the accidents mentioned in my last (that at Messrs Kepp's in Chandos Street) the fire was considered to have burned out previous to leaving it for the night ; but notwithstanding this, it is evident there must have been some fire left in, although unseen for during the night it exploded, scattering the fuel over the floor, and throwing the broken stove into several different parts of the room. From all the circumstances I entertain but little doubt that the same cause produced the lamentable destruction of the Tower ; and it is much to be regretted, that not only such dangerous experiments should be permitted in such a place, but that the same kind of stoves are now used in many other such public buildings as Windsor Castle, Somerset House, the Custom House etc.
The causes of accident from the high pressure hot water apparatus are principally from the pipes becoming over heated, or from the bursting of the tubes. Several cases have occurred in which the pipes have become nearly red-hot ; and this is particularly the case when there is a deficiency of water in the apparatus. In this case the water is driven out of the coil, which them becomes red-hot, the heat being continued for a very considerable distance beyond the furnace. This is an accident that can never occur with the large pipe system ; when using the boiler instead of the coil, and employing a large quantity of water instead of a very small quantity, the apparatus can never become hotter than the temperature of boiling water. When the heat of the furnace is too great in the high pressure apparatus, and there is no deficiency of water, the apparatus then generally bursts, the weakest part being that which of course gives way. The consequences of such and accident are very various, according to the part of the apparatus which happens to fail. But as regards the danger to be apprehended from this apparatus, Mr Perkins's own evidence will perhaps be the best we can have, as it is not likely to be too highly coloured. In his letter already alluded to he says "Great care should be taken in choosing the situation for the furnace, in ascertaining the state of the flue, and the proportion of boiler surface to the fire. Inattention to these particulars sometimes places buildings in the greatest jeopardy." If the safety of buildings is to depend on a few feet of pipe, too much being placed in one part or a few feet too little in another, I think nothing more is required to show the imperitive necessity for an inquiry whether the irreplaceable treasures of the British Museum which no time, no labour, no money can replace, are surrounded by exactly "by proper proportion of boiler surface" or whether a few feet of pipe added in one place, or a few feet diminished in another, will increase their safety, for we have the assurance of the inventor of this system of warming that unless the proper proportion of pipe be employed the building will be placed "in the greatest jeopardy." But who is to be the arbiter of the exact proportion which constitutes safety. For Mr Perkins himself has repeatedly changed his opinion on this subject, his proportion of boiler surface being difired I believe at least 50 per cent. Let some competent tribunal then be appointed to inquire into this subject, not as regards Mr Perkins's or Dr Arnott's inventions alone, but into all the modes at present used for warming public buildings ; and whichever mode is found to be the most safe let it at least, be adopted in the National Gallery, the British Museum, Somerset House and other public buildings, while yet we have buildings left which are worth preserving, and not purchase our experience by the destruction one by one of our national edifices, let perchance the next one that is destroyed contain treasures which cannot be replaced.
I am Sir, your obedient servant,