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New Mode of Extinguishing Fire

Source: The Illustrated London News, June 15, 1850, p.424

On Saturday, Mr. Phillips, the inventor and patentee of a mode of extinguishing fires by the employment of carbonic acid and nitrogen gases, which is now well known to the public, attended at the practice range, in the Plumstead Marshes, to exhibit the working of his invention. The Marquis of Anglesey, Master-General of the Ordnance, Lord Brougham, and a great number of distinguished persons, attended to witness the experiment. A tolerably large and substantial wooden house, which was stored with furniture, consisting of deal chairs and table, cheap mattresses, &c., had bean erected. All things being ready, some combustible materials were placed inside the house and fired. The heat soon cracked the windows, and thus, by allowing the free admission of air, neutralised the power of the gases employed in the process, rendered all attempts to subdue the flames vain, and, notwithstanding active efforts on the part of the inventor, the whole building was soon wrapped in a sheet of flame, and ere many minutes had elapsed, the destruction of the building was inevitable. There was a general feeling of regret expressed on the part of all present at the failure of the experiment.