This class is one of those which have attracted the most public attention, for it concerns the comfort of the interior, and it has been noticed that for some time now, following the example of our neighbours across the Channel, we have been attaching more and more importance to that comfort of which our fathers were so disdainful.
Among the relatively new methods of heating and lighting which are tending to become more widespread, we shall mention the great and powerful modern agent: gas.
Thus, there were many manufacturers of devices for the adaptation of gas to heating and lighting.
Let's start with the ones that struck us the most.
Gas in the home, this is how we could characterise the purpose and effect of the device exhibited by Mr. Lascols. The jury, as a great lord, who owes no account to his fantasies, persistently refused to examine it, but it is good, however, that we warn the public that there is a means of enjoying the calorific and illuminating advantages of gas, even when one is far from the towns or centres which, alone, have special factories.
The system of Mr. Lascols is applied with the greatest success in a good number of castles, workshops, factories, institutions, where it functions with regularity. It is no longer an invention in the period of trial and error; experience has confirmed and perfected it and it can be used without fail. In this way, one will be rid of the smoky and fetid lamps, requiring continual attention, and of the duller lanterns which fulfil their function so poorly in the corridors and common areas.
The gas produced by the Lascols appliance is the result of the ambient air passing through layers of mineral spirits; it contains no trace of sulphides, attacks neither paints nor gilding, and can be applied to all industrial or kitchen uses, like ordinary gas, which it surpasses in the beauty of its flame.
As for the apparatus itself, it consists of a bellows, an air bell and a carburettor.
We cannot go into any technical details here; those interested can see how it works in the Rue de Malte, at the Magasins Réunis, which Mr. Lascols illuminates with his system. Suffice it to say that the device is automatic, that it cannot be disturbed, and that by using it one can make at home, without disturbing oneself, without any care, the gas necessary for one's lighting and heating.
The cost price of a cubic metre of this instant gas varies with that of mineral petrol, but it does not exceed 30 centimes.
In the midst of this clutter of cooking utensils and all the aspects, here is a small device judiciously and rightly called the minute cooker, which at once obtained a great favour with our officers, who were specially called upon to profit by its advantages. It consists of two white metal plates, fitting tightly together with a stand (tripod), which is enclosed in the device when not in use. Nothing could be lighter or less cumbersome. We have never seen anything so convenient for fishermen, hunters and tourists.
The use is very simple. Is it to cook a chop? You put it in the lower plate after having sprinkled it with the desired spices, you place the other plate as a lid, then you install this closed box on the tripod. Half a newspaper is used to make slightly twisted sticks, which are burnt one after the other under the device, and after four minutes the meat is cooked to perfection and with perfect flavour; the fat retained on the plate can be used in another four minutes to cook thinly sliced potatoes. In eight minutes you can have a meal.
Moreover, all kinds of meat, eggs, fish and vegetables can be prepared in it: the steam that is formed contributes greatly to the cooking process and prevents the food from sticking to the bottom and burning.
This ingenious invention, as well as the steam kettle, of more or less the same shape, is due to M. Couza, exhibitor, 59, rue Meslay, in Paris.
The gas appliances we saw at the Exhibition were marked by a truly artistic taste.
In connection with the exhibition of Messrs. Seiler frères, the editor of France rightly points out a Louis XIII dining room suspension in nickel-plated bronze. This piece, of a very pure style, is distinguished by its extreme lightness; the middle lamp, descending with counterweight, is surrounded by four bouquets forming a set of seventeen lights; next to it, one notices a delightful little boudoir lamp in gilded bronze, with medallions; it is to be regretted that this work of art is not better displayed. This is not the right setting for such a pearl.
Here is a billiard room thyrse, Pompeian style, with three shades, of a severe aspect and great taste; the antique green bronze trim is of the most happy effect. The Chinese five-light chandelier in rubbed black bronze is very original: I bet it has aroused the curiosity of more than one connoisseur.
Here and there bouquets, arms, wall lights, portable gas lamps for offices, hallway lanterns: among the latter, I greatly admired a dog's head in art bronze serving as a device for a doorway; the idea is original and perfectly rendered.
Let us mention the Louis XVI chandelier with twelve lights mounted on two rows with crystal daggers, and, as a large volume piece, another chandelier with twelve lights, exhibited in the Champ de Mars annex.
The exhibition of Mr. Bengel presents, both for lighting and for heating, varied and graceful models.
This firm, now one of the most important, was founded in 1853 and began by manufacturing patented porcelain spouts, which were adopted and have remained since that time the standard models for the city of Paris.
It was also to Mr. Bengel that the introduction in France, around 1855, of gas cooking stoves was due, of which one can see beautiful specimens in the annex of the park (special pavilion of class 27).
But it is especially since 1856, when he added bronze lighting devices to his production, that this house took the considerable extension that it occupies today. Among the tasteful pieces that I find in his showcase, I would like to point out in particular: a Saxony-style dining room suspension in enamelled bronze; a Moorish lamp with gilded bronze cloisonné, irreproachable in style and execution; a Gothic church chandelier in old iron and gold, of a severe appearance and perfectly suited to the use for which it was intended; a series of billiard room lamps, anteroom lanterns, wall lights and bouquets of all styles, etc. There are still many beautiful things to report, which are not worth mentioning and which must be seen to be properly appreciated. Before I finish, I would like to say a few words about the new gas-fired calorifier exhibited by Mr. Bengel and called the hygienic calorifier. The aim of this device is to produce, from a given quantity of gas, the greatest calorific effect by concentrating in the heated part all the heat produced by combustion. Thanks to a special arrangement, the carbon monoxide is dissolved in the water vapour by a jet of steam that hits the flame, increasing its caloric power.
In this way, combustion is complete and no loss occurs; this method of heating is safe, simple and inexpensive.
We will now mention, at random, the four-muffle furnace of Messrs. Cuau aîné et Cie, for the use of chemists, glassmakers or ceramists, and finally the calorifier with hollow fins.
It does not seem possible to combine a larger heating surface in such a small volume. The device that Mr. Cuau aîné exhibited in the Palais occupies a space 1 metre wide by 1.56 metres deep, including the brick casing, and with its two circulation tubes has a heating surface of 35 metres, i.e. it can heat a cube of air 3,300 metres long, in other words, a house 20 metres long, 13 metres wide and 12 metres high. This is certainly a good result.
From a health point of view, all the guarantees seem to us to be assured, because the cast iron surfaces never redden, preserved as they are by a refractory earth lining, the air is never overheated.
Here is Mr. Pierre Gough's phoenix calorifier. These calorifiers are self-powered and require no maintenance. Imagine a cast iron tube enclosed in a sheet metal casing. The lower part of this tube rests on the grate of the fireplace; once the fire is lit, the reservoir is completely filled and closed with a lid; in this way, the draught is made externally, that is to say between the cylinder containing the fuel and the sheet metal envelope.
The great advantage of the Phoenix calorifier is that it gives a gentle and uniform heat; the fuel is only changed every twelve hours.
The patented device of Mr. Milhomme fils also deserves attention:
Mr. Milhomme's new apparatus, presented at the Exhibition of 1878, has given remarkable results.
The division of the smoke in the tubes, which form the main object of the invention, has given a great heating power in a relatively small apparatus. The combustion gases, more easily stripped of their caloric content by the numerous surfaces in contact, arrive cooled in the starting chimney.
With this system, it is also possible to use a smaller firebox than in many other appliances, in order to obtain the same amount of heat.
The dimensions of the chests and tubes can be modified according to the location, as well as their number, which makes it possible to build them in all the places designated by the architects and owners. It is for this reason that no numbered series has been made; the appliance is designed to heat, with a single fireplace, a volume of air varying between 200 and 10,000 cubic metres. It can be built in cellars or basements with little height.
Compared to many other systems, it has the advantage of transmitting the hot air sent to the vents more quickly after ignition by the multiplied heating surfaces.
Ventilations can be set up as required.
All fuels can be used in the fireplace.
The saturators can be placed at will.
We cannot encourage too much the improvement of the calorifier.
Is it not, in fact, the most convenient and hygienic method of heating, since it provides
1° equal distribution of heat in the rooms; 2° constant maintenance of a uniform degree of temperature; 3° elimination of numerous causes of fire; 4° cleanliness of the staircases and flats; 5° increase in the duration of the building by its better preservation; 6° reduction in the labour and trouble of the service people; 7° removal of the accidents which used to be so numerous in children's rooms; 8° finally, savings in fuel.
I would also like to mention Mr. Tommaire's small kitchen stoves:
These appliances are elegant, very solid and easy to transport, they replace with advantage the cast iron cookers, they have a relatively large oven which roasts perfectly, a steam room under the oven, a hot water tank, the top plate heats well on all its surface.
Real savings on fuel, 15 cents a day during the winter for cooking and heating at the same time.
Mention should also be made of the automatic regulating calorifier.
This new heater differs from other appliances in that it burns evenly, naturally by means of the automatic regulator. Through the sight glass, which is inclined for the convenience of the viewer, the combustion process can be examined.
When the coke is sufficiently red in the firebox, the lens is placed at a notch of the rack which brings it closer or less close to the air intake orifice according to the heat that one wants to obtain.
With this system, combustion regulates itself. When it becomes too hot, the supply air pushes the lens in front of the orifice where it is located: the draught stops and consequently the fire slows down. In this case, the draught is no longer as intense, so the lens moves forward, allowing new access to the air, and combustion is reactivated; in this way, the calorifier adjusts itself automatically, combustion is regular, and the temperature is always the same, without the need to worry about it, until the fuel is completely exhausted.
This appliance has no grate and does not require a pipe key. It has no competition in terms of economy, cleanliness and ease of service.
They are the most suitable devices for public buildings, greenhouses, offices, stairways, corridors, schools, hospitals, as well as for shops, workshops, flats, dining rooms, etc., etc.
It only remains to tell you about a very ingenious invention by Mr. Mousseron.
Here I give the floor to my colleague Trocadéro, from France:
"Today, flat heating has risen to the level of an art; a visit to class XXVII is enough to convince oneself of this. Among the exhibitions of our various manufacturers, I shall first point out that of M. Mousseron, which is, without question, the most remarkable from the point of view of progress made.
"Everyone is familiar with the various appliances created by Mr. Mousseron: first his stove-calorifier with refractory hearth, then his pyrometric calorifier for economical and hygienic heating; here again are the Mousseron appliances, adaptable to all fireplaces. Far from stopping in this path of progress, Mr. Mousseron has succeeded in eliminating the loss of heat resulting from the contact of calorific fireplaces with the outside air. To avoid the dangers that would result from the elimination of the pipes, what was needed? To destroy the carbon monoxide produced by combustion. This result, vainly sought until then, was achieved by the Brasero-Mousseron.
"Experiments carried out in high places have attested to its brilliant superiority, numerous scientific reports have indicated the results obtained, and important applications have been the result.
"The apparatus consists of: a grate, a hearth containing the fuel and an inverted bell, pierced with an infinite number of holes, which allow the draught; in its lower part, the bell rests on the grate; it is surmounted by a kettle filled with water which absorbs the carbonic acid, released in the combustion, and annihilates its harmful effects.
"The whole thing is enclosed in an elegant casing, mounted on wheels, which can be carried from one room to another, as one would a heater. Once the device is loaded, you don't have to worry about it all day; it gives off a gentle heat that is absolutely even and not stifling.
"It is used with great success in hospitals where, because of its qualities, it replaces the climate of Nice for the unfortunate patients. It is therefore the easiest, the most economical and the healthiest of all the methods of heating known to date.
©Les Merveilles de l'Exposition de 1878