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Extinguifhing FIRES

By Explosion and Suffocation.



Of Covent-Garden, Chemist.


A DESCRIPTION is given of the several Machines and their Uses, together with plain and sufficient Directions for the proper Application of them.


A METHOD easily practicable, certain in its Effects, and fo universally useful to the Publick, that his Majesty has been moved to authorize and in courage this happy Discovery, for the general Advantage of his Subjects, by his nioft gracious Letters Patents.

To which is Added,

A short Narrative of Mr. Povey's Behaviour in relation to this useful Invention; by which it will appear, That the faid Mr. Povey’s pretended Watch Engine, is at best a precarious, and often dangerous Remedy, imperfectly Stolen from Ambrose Godfrey's Method, published with a Design to rob the right owner of the just Reward of his close Application and considerable Expenses, by imposing upon the Publick in fuppreffing an Invention of real and universal Benefit, and substituting an imperfect and dangerous one in its room.


Tunc tua vet agitur Pavies cum proximus avdet.

Printed in the Year 1724.




THE terrible Fury of that devouring Element FIRE, and the fad and mournful


Consequences which ever succeed its Rage, have put Men of all Nations upon contriving such Methods as might effectually conquer fo dreadful an Enemy. Some again feeing the Deficiency of what Machines were at first invented, have not without considerable Success endeavored to improve and render them much more useful. The mofl excellent of all hitherto known, are the Water Engines, of late brought to such a pitch of Perfection, that by their Means Water may be forced up to a surprising Height, with almost incredible Swiftness, in a large and continued Stream. These Engines are of admirable use in Open Fires, and even great Conflagrations, for they not only by conveying large Quantities of Water, serve to subdue the main Flames; but like wife by their continual playing on all Sides againfl the circumjacent Buildings, are found most effectual in preventing this consuming Element from Spreading. To these many Years ago, the Germans feeing that the inner Apartments, and back Rooms of Houses, hardly ever escaped being reduced to Albes, the Stream of the Engines not being able to reach them, have made an Addition of Leather Pipes of a very great Length, and several Inches Diameter, with a Screw on one End to fix to the Nofel of the Engine; on the other a short Wooden or Brafs Pipe; for the readier discharge of the




Water. These they call Water Serpents; and use them to guide Water from one Room into the other, either to preserve or extinguifb; one of the Firemen holding the End in his Hand, and directing the Stream which way he finds most neceffary. This additional Improvement, has been found fo serviceable, that it has likewise met with a very favourable Reception amongst us, and ought never to be mentioned without due Applause.


But alas! every Body is perfwaded, that these our Water Engines, with all their Improvements and Additions, are yet very far from being a fure and effectual Remedy against Fires, at all Times and in all Places.


It is with the utmost Grief we behold how much Time we are forced to allow the Rage of the Flames before any Water Engine can be brought to our Affi.




Stance; and we often think our selves very happy, if in the fatal interim but one House is consumed.


When Fire breaks out in Castles, Towers, or other Buildings on High Places, where Water Engines cannot be brought near enough, we are obliged to be idle Spectators; and by melancholy Experience, find our Arms too short to serve our selves, or lend helping Hands to our Neighbors.


This dreadful to fee how our poor fellow Inhabitants that live in Alleys, Back Lanes, and narrow Paffages, in cafe of Fire, are forced to Sacrifice their all to this devouring Moloch, the Bulk of our Engines for the most part not permitting them to be brought fo near as to be of any considerable Service.


Be fides, we too often find, that the Scarcity of Water: without a sufficient Quantity of which, the Engines are but of little use: or at least the great distance whence it must be fetched, become the Causes of the Fire's gaining upon the adjacent Houses, and reducing whole Streets, not to fay Towns, to Alhes, before it can be conquered. Witness the once unhappy Fire of London, the late Fire of Stockholm, and others.


Lastly, who is not fully satisfied, that the great Charge of purchasing, and the continual Expence of keeping Water Engines in Repair, is the chief Reason why rnoft Towns in this Kingdom are unhappily, as yet, destitute of these fo great and neceffary Helps?


These and other the like Confederations, have long fince occupied my Thoughts, and the frightful Ideal have of Fire when out of its Bounds, tho' a very friendly Element to me, whilst confined under my Furnaces, together with the sincere Inclination always harbour'd within me, to strive to be serviceable to my Neighbors as well as to my self, have spurred me on to think of contriving a Method that might supply these Defects of the Water Engines, and jointly with them become speedy and effectual enough at all Times and Places, to overcome this formidable Enemy.


The Steps I have taken to obtain the proposed End, and the Success have had in the pursuit of my Design, I shall here mention, before I proceed to the Description of the Method itself.


In the midst of my serious Endeavor’s I was informed, that many eminent Men both in Germany and France, especially the Gentlemen of the Royal Academy of Paris, had for some Time directed their Speculations towards rendring the Publick Method of Extinguishing Fires more Compleat and Extensive, and that some considerable Progress had been already made in it. Whereupon I flopp'd a while, and refolded before I did offer any thing of my own to the Publick, to gain a full Information of the Advancement that had hitherto been made abroad relating to this laudable Undertaking; which accordingly I obtained from time to time by my Correspondence: Moreover, I gathered what Notions I could from anybody that had a tafle that way, at any Price. And finding that amongst others, an Experiment of Extinguishing Fire by Explosion had been try'd abroad with Success, several folid Reasons foon induced me to conclude, That from this Principle duly improved, it was most likely to expect what I was in search of. And I flattered my self the more with the pleasing Hopes of succeeding, fince for the Space of about Forty Years 1 have most frequently busied my self in Operations and Essays relating to Productions and Actions of Fire, and of Heat and Cold in their several Degrees, having made repeated Trials of the different Actions of both Dry and Liquid Bodies upon each other, from the flightily intestine Motion, or Effervescence, to the most vehement Ebullitions, fo as not only to occasion Light and Pet illation, but to break out into fudden and violent Flames: All which Obfer nations have greatly contributed towards my better per petting that wonderful Preparation, The Phosphorus glacial is ; of which, Jince the Death of one Mr. Eilger, 1 may without Vanity call my self for near these Forty Tears, the Sole Maker in Europe ; for on the ftritfeft Inquiry, I could never hear of any body either at Home or Abroad nor have I met in my late 1 ravels with any Person that did prepare the Solid and Transparent Phosphorus besides my self.Some indeed have obtained a few Grains, but none could as yet produce the Quantity of 7 or 8 Ounces in one Distillation, except my self. And though this Preparation is intirely of my own finding out, yet I here confess with the utmost Sense of gratitude, That I am indebted for the first Hints of the Matter whence it is made, to that Ornament of the English Nation the great Mr. Boyle, my kind Matter, and the generous Promoter of my Fortune, who’s Memory shall ever be dear to me. Pardon the Digression, kind Reader. I return to my Subject. These Experiments of Heating and Inflaming Bodies by Bodies, have naturally led me to other Experiments to abate those Ebullitions, and to Stifle those Flames eitbeifkrith liquid or dry Materials. Having thus a Chemical Foundation towards this New Method, I spared no Cost nor Charges, but incouraged a Gentleman from over Sea, to learn also of him what he knew of the Method of Extinguishing by Explosion, in order to see the utmost Extent of Improvement it was then arrived at; which having acquired, I stilI found it lab our under the following Difficulties:


1. The great Bulk and Weight of the Machines abroad being as defective as that of the Water Engines, rendring them unfit to be conveighed into narrow Places, and upper Floors.

2. The Experiment abroad was made in a close Place, with only a Hole at the Top, and no Windows ; the Door was kept shut in order to allow the Fire as little Air as possible, the easier to choak it; which makes the Experiment very precarious.

3. They ventured abroad to fire only one single Room at a time, built for that Purpose.


I had so many Reasons to convince me of the Excellency of the Basis on which this Experiment was founded, that far from being deterred by the foregoing considerable Imperfections ; 1 judged it very well worth while to bestow my Thoughts and Labour, together with the joint Endeavor’s of my ingenious Friend, in order to bring this Embryo as near its Perfection as possible. For this purpose I fitted up a Room over my Laboratory, furnished with all sorts of proper Utensils, and there contrived, made, alter'd, and mended, till at last all the Defects mentioned of the German Machines were intirely removed; the Work of almost a whole Winter. Insomuch that,


1. The Bulk and Weight of the former is reduc'd to portable light Machines, to be carry'd and conveigh'd anywhere, as Occasion shall require.

2. Instead of a close Place without Windows, and the Door (hut; We venture to have Windows and Doors wide open, and give full vent to the Fire to exert its Rage, and yet we happily conquer its Fury in a few Minutes.

3. Instead of one single Room we venture to set several Rooms of different Stories at once on fire, with no less Success than in extinguishing one.


Besides all these Advantages, I have since my Friend's return into his own Country, made several very material Additions and Improvements, which the Reader will observe in the following Pages.


I have already mentioned, that the Excellency of our curious Water Engines consisteth in Extinguishing Open Fires, and putting a Stop to great Conflagrations, in Places where they can be brought near enough, and when they can be supply'd with a sufficient Quantity of Water; There remained then, that such Machines might be found out by which Fire under Covert might be effectually Extinguished, as in Back Houses, inner Rooms, on Stair-cases, in Chimneys, &c. as also in Alleys, and narrow Fassages; and in such a manner, that the Scarcity of Water might not be a material Obstacle to the happy Extinction.


This, my Reader, is what Ipromise to effect by my New introduced Method of Extinguishing Fire by Explosion and Suffocation, as will appear by the following Account.


In the mean time, I wish with all my Heart, that the Inhabitants of this City and Country may be preserved from Fire for these many Years; and I shall be very well contented, nay, over-joy'd, tho' the Expence I have been at Jbould never he returned. And for my own part, I shall pay my self with the inward Satisfastion of having contributed my Mite towards a Publick Good, in making a Discovery of what will tend to the great Advantage even of the latest Posterity. Farewel.






Extinguifhing FIRES

By Explosion and Suffocation.




Of the New Method in General.



Nothing is more certain, than that the Power with which the Chief Magiftrate of this opulent City was invefted, of Blowing up fuch Houses as were adjoining on either Side of a great Fire, ow’d irs Birth to the manifeft Deficiency Deficiency of the Water Engines, and the Scarcity of Water it self at fome Times and Places. And it is as certain, That the Remedy has proved by the Violence of the Explofion, fo defperate in its Effect, and fo deftructive to the Goods and Properties, nay, Lives of fome of the Inhabitants, that it foon was thought Wifdom not to exercife fo dangerous an Authority ; and fuch a Terror has almost ever fince poffefs’d every one, that far from thinking how to correct the ili Confequences thence arifing, the very Name of Gun-powder to be used on the like Occafions, has feemed to carry fomething fo frightful along with it, that no body till lately has thought fit to nfe his Endeavours towards an Improvement on that Bafis.


The above-mentioned exceffive Violence proceeded from the immediate Action of the Elaftic Force of the Gun powder upon the refifting Parts of the Houses; which, had it been broke by a convenient Medium, and fuch a one as could have been conducive at the fame time to a more effectual Extinction, the danger would have been removed, the vaft Damages prevented, and the People would have been as much in love with that Remedy, as they have hitherto abhorred the Thoughts of it.


The NEW METHOD I here offer to the Publick, confits of Gun powder clofely confined; which as foon as animated by Fire, acts by its elaftic Force upon a proper Medium, and divideth it inftantly into Millions of Millions of most minute and imperceptible Atoms, which with equal Violence and Swiftnefs are immediately forced into the innermost Receffes of the Flames, and infinuating themfelves into the very Pores of the Walls, Cieling, Floors, and Moveables contained in the flaming Appartment, at once touch and utterly extinguifh the Fire.


The juft now mentioned Medium is Water impregnated with a certain Preparation, an Enemy to Fire. By the Water thus qualified, a most considerable Advantage is obtained, viz. Wherever it toucheth the burning Materials, there it deadneth them to a black Coal; and by its Antagonift: Nature to Fire, hindereth the remaining live Sparks, however agitated by the Air, from regaining fo readily a power of reinflaming the extinguifhed parts; by which, Time enough is allowed to Servants or other Affifftants, to enter the extinguifhed place, and with wet Mops to expunge the few remaining fiery Characters. Whereas if the Extinction be made with Water only, (which may be done) the Draught of the Air will be apt to cause the live remaining Sparks to kindle again, the Neighbouring Materials, which are very fit to receive a frefh Flame; the Fire not being Extinguifhed by the Quantity of Water, but rather by the artful Expanfion and Rarefaction of its Particles.


Two feveral Experiments have been try’d publickly, to fhew with what Certainty and Expedition this New Method of Extinguifhing Fire under Covert by Explosion and Suffocation anfwers the defired End, in prefence of many Perfons of Diftinction; all of whom were fo intirely fatisfy'd with what they had feen, that with the greateft Readinefs imaginable, they were pleafed to give their ample Teftimonies and Affidavits before his Majefty’s Attorney-General.


The First Experiment was try’d in Belsize Park at Hampstead, on the 2d of April 1713, my Lord High Chancellor, Count de Lippe, Sir George Beaumont, Sir Hans Sloan, Sir fames Thornhill, Mr. Lawe, Dr. Steigerdahl, Dr. Keith, Dr. Pellet, Efq; Banks, Efq; Adams, Efq; Hocks, and others ofthe Nobility and Gentry, with divers Members of the Royal Society being prefent. A wooden House three Stories high was erected for this Purpofe, and fet on Fire; into which was put an Addition of Shavings, Brufhes, Faggots, Pitch, Oil, Qc. to increafe the Fury of the Flames, which were fuffered to rife to their utmost Height; then a Machine was flung into the Ground Appartmenr, which inftantly extinguifhed the Fire there. But fuch was the Rage of the Flames in the upper Floors, that the Ladder which was affixed to one of the Windows, with the defign by its help to fling Machines into the upper Rooms, took fire ; and the Engineer furrounded with Flames, and for want of proper Utenfils, was oblig’d to quit the Ladder by a fall, before he could throw his Machine into any of the upper Chambers ; which Accident was the Cause that thofe Appartments were confumed.


This Experiment, however feemingly clouded by this Accident, did fufficicntly convince all the Noble Affembly, that the Effect of the Machines was fure and expeditious, and that the Milchance was owing to the want of proper Inftruments for the conveyance of them, and not to the Defect of the Machines themfelves. Wherefore, as a Teftimony of their Approbation, they generoufly incouraged, by Gifts, a Second Tryal.


Which was made on the 30th of May following, in Weftminster-Fields, in the prefence of a Multitude of Spectators, fome of the fame Noblemen and Gentlemen, and many eminent Citizens befides, upon a House erected for that Purpofe, of the fame Height and Dimenfions as the former, which had flood expofed to the Sun above a Month, in a dry torching Seafon. After having put in the fame fort of Combuflibles as before, all three Stories were fet on fire at once ; and the Rage of the Flames being at its full Height, the Fire in all three Stories was Totally extinguished in lefs than Three Minutes, and a general Satisfaction was declared by all the worthy Spectators, feveral of whom forthwith entered the Rooms.





Deseription and Vse of the Machines.


The conftituent Parts of the Machines are, The Shell, and The Powder Magazine.


The SHELL is a fmall wooden Barrel with wooden Hoops; in the middle of the Top an Opening is left for a Fuze to pafs through. This Barrel is cafed without, and well lined within, the better to hold the Liquid ; which is a Mixture that never corrupts nor alters ; when on the contrary, meer Water would foon putrjfy and ftink.


The POWDER MAGAZINE, is a Vesica of a Spheroidal Figure, either of Pewter, or fome other tafting Subftance, filled with Gun powder, having on one End a Pipe, which pierces the Top of the Shell in the middle, and serves to guide the Fuze to the main Magazine. This Powder Magazine is fix’d in the Center of the Shell, incompaffed with the above-mentioned Liquid. The


Fuze is garnifhed with Wild-fire, fecured with a Tin Cover lined, to be taken off when the Machine is to be used.


There are three Sizes, to anfwer the different Bignefs of Places where they are to be used.


The firft and largeft Size holds about 5 Gallons of Liquid. It is proper for Halls, Warehouses, large and lofty Rooms, Qc.


The fecond Size anfwereth all Places of a middling Extent, and holds about three Gallons.


The third Size fits fimall Rooms, Cabbins of Ships, Clofets, Qc. and holds about 2 Gallons.


To thefe Machines I add another very neceffarу and useful Contrivance, which for Diftinction lake, and from its chief Use, I call the Chimney Shell; of which there are two Sizes. One holding about 2 Quarts of Liquid ; the other about one. They differ from the Machines in their Operation 3 for they ftrike upwards, their Powder Magazine not being placed in the Center, but at the Bottom of the Shell. When thefe are to be used, they muft be fixed upon a Pole with the Fuze downwards, that they may be held up in a Chimney, or other high place, or elfe fet up againft a Wall, or in the Chimney ; which the Buyer fhall be intructed in.


Ditections for the proper Application of the Machines.


1. Let him who throws the Machine, firft take his Aim at a convenient Place before he lights the Fuze. In fo doing, he will be fure to have time enough to get it out of his Hands, and to retire before it goes off.


2. As foon as he has parted with it, let him turn his Back towards it, and retreat at fome Distance. But fuppofe a Stave or two fhould happen со fly at him, they will break no Bones; and the greateft Mifchief thence proceeding will be only a black Spot. However nothing of this kind has happen’d as yet to me, tho in my Tryals I have kindled and thrown a great many. There is no more danger in lighting the Fuze, than in firing a common Squib; nay, Iefs, because the Fuze is longer, and by confequence affords a longer time to him that plays it off, to conveigh it out of his Hands. I advife the lighting of the Fuze to gain time, and to render the Operation as expeditious as it is certain; for fhould the Machine thrown into a place, fall to a difadvantage, fo that the Flame fhould not presently catch the Wild-fire, a great deal of Damage may be done in the interim, which by lighting the Fuze is prevented. However, if a Person fhould have fo little Courage and Refolution, as to be afraid to venture, let him throw it as advantageoufly as he can, for the Flame to catch the Fuze.


3. In all Fires under Covert, where feveral Stories are burning, let this be your Standard Rule; To begin the Extinction at the lowermost.


4. If your Chimney be on Fire, take your recourfe to a fit Size of the Chimney Shells, according to the Largenefs of die Chimney; which ftuck upon a Pole, as has been faid, and held up, or only put up in the Chimney, will effectually Extinguifh the Fire, and ftop further Mischief. These Shells serve alfo to make your way through narrow Paffages, and Staircafes on Fire, as will appear by and by.


5. A Fire happening in a Hall, Warehouse, Work or other Shop, Dwelling-Room, or other, as foon as difcovered, take hold of a Machine of a fit Size, light the Fuze, throw it in, and, if you can, shut the Door upon it. No sooner is it play’d off, but you may with Safety go in, and with a wet Mop or Broom fweep down what live Sparks are left.


6. If a Hall-room or Shop be very long, and the Machine should only extinguish the hither End, you then must advance with a Second, and throw it into the further part of the Place.


7. But if your Place should be Very Lofty, and fome glowing Coals should be remaining in the Corners of the Cieling, then the smallest Size of the Chimney Shells held up, or placed against that Corner, will put the finishing Stroak to the Extinction. N. B. I here advice the Shutting of the Doors, if poffible, because we cannot use too many Precautions against this formidable Enemy, altho the Extinction may be very well performed, even should the Door be open, as I have affirmed in the Preface.


8. Several Rooms on the fame Floor being on Fire, let one or more Machines of a fit Size be conveigh’d into each, according to their respective Extent; and proceed as has been directed.


9. If three Stories are on Fire at once, extinguish the Ground Floor firth then make your way up Stairs with the biggest Size of the Chimney Shells, whilst another Man or two follow you with as many other Machines as are requisite for the Extinction of the Fire of the next Story; thence in the like manner proceed higher, until you have fecured all.


10. A House of Four Stories requireth no other Method but what has been directed in the preceding Cafe, only be fure to begin always below first : And if the Cellar be on Fire, throw your Machines in at the Windows, thence proceed to the Ground Floor, and fo on till you have successfully conquer’d the Fire.


11. Should the Flames gain upon the next House, extinguish the Room on Fire within by your Machines, and let the Water Engines do their endeavour without, by playing against it. This will happily secure the Neighborhood; and a general Conflagration will be prevented.






The Advantages arising from this

New Method.


By what has been faid, it plainly appears, That with due Care and Watch-fullness, and the necessary Precautions of having fome of these Machines always near at hand, this New Method of Extinguishing will prove fo beneficial, that by it all Fires may be choaked in their very Birth ; and no one fingle House need ever to be fuffered to burn down, unless by Carelefnefs; and there will still be much less Occasion to fear a general Conflagration, except from the Wickedness of a Gang of Incendiaries.


My sincere Design being to render the proposed Method really and truly Beneficial to my Fellow Subjects, it is fit I should add the following Caution, least more should be expended from my Machines than in reality they are able to perform.


The whole Intent of this New Method goes no farther than the Extinction of Fires under Covert; it therefore naturally implies, That the Floors must be as yet standing, if the Machines shall answer alone the full Purpose. For in cafe the Roof be Open, the Resistance which that and the Walls afford to the impelling Force of the Explosion, will be leffened; and the liquid Mixture wherewith these Machines are charged, not being fo forcibly distributed, the Effect cannot be fo great; altho’ if part of the Roof or Floor be flanding, fo as to afford a fufficient Lodging-place for the Machine, no fmall Service may be expected. Here are the extream Limits of our Method of Extinction ; tis here our Machines thake Hands with the Water Engines; and the Afliftance of these now seasonably takes place from without, whilst those do their best within.


It is no ways to be doubted, but the Reasonableness, Usefulness, nay, indispensable Neceffity, of this additional part of Fire-Precautions, will in due Time, and on farther Use and Experience, gain such universal Approbation, and so firm an Establishment, as will enable it, in all Parts of Europe, to recommend it self, and thereby to make its own way.


Ices with Toy I think how comfortable it will be in time to the Inhabitants of Befieg’d Towns and Fortreffes, who’s Houses are fet on fire by Bombs or otherwise, to have these our Antibombs at hands, by which they, as it were, in the fame Minute may extinguish the Fire, in which the others have kindled it. Towers, Cattles, and other high and inacceffible Places, furnifh’d with a number of Machines, will (if they are but watchful) henceforth never have occasion to bemoan their Ruin by Fire.


Our poor Inhabitants in Courts and Alleys, need not to be out of Heart for the Straitens of their Paffages; and the Narrowness of their Stairs are fo far from being a Disadvantage to them, that they rather facilitate the Extinction by our Machines, if they can but have them fpcedy enough.


The moderate and portable Sizes of these Machines, and the reasonable Prizes, will doubtless induce all Country Towns, and considerable Villages, to provide themselves with a proportion able number for their Security.


Scarce any Nobleman or Gentleman will leave his Seat unfurnished of these neceffary Safe Guards.


What Man of War, or Merchant Ship, will not have fome of these Machines on board, for the Safety of their Goods and Lives?


There will be no occasion at all to fue for Acts of Parliament to compel People to buу and keep by them any of these Machines, if they are good for any thing; Their own Interest and Safety will be much more cogent Arguments. And I dare fay, that Time and Experience will so fully convince every body of the Excellency of this New introduced Method, that after a while the Machines will become not only the Purchafe of the Publick, but also the Security of mod private Families.


SHOULD ANY ONE, or all of the Fire Offices incline to make use of this Mew Method of Extinguishing Fires by Explosion and Suffocation, and annex it to the Use of their Excellent Water Engines, they being well provided with Ladders, Poles, Hooks, Qc. the Publick would be effectually fuccour’d in all Accidences of Fire, and the particular Advantage of each respective Office would take a molt considerable Increase, and every Fire Office would fave Thousands of Pounds per Annum.


For as no House need ever to burn down, they will have no need to rebuild, but only to repair a few Damages ; and the Inhabitant needs not to leave his Dwelling; which will preserve Thousands from Ruin ; and this very particular Advantage will almost incourage every body not only to fubferibe to their Offices with more Alacrity than ever, but likewise to buy fome Machines to keep for Security at home. Besides the vast Income they will have by furnishing the whole Kingdom with these Machines, as also the Navy and Merchant Ships.


Those Gentlemen are certainly best qualified to procure a general Reception to an Affair of fo great Moment, and they best know how to manage it both for their own and the public Advantage; which I, as a private Man, neither can, nor will pretend to. But as long as I keep my Patent in my own Poffeffion, instead of striving for an extensive Trade, I shall always keep a convenient number of Machines by me, and content my felt with serving such as shall think fit to apply to me for them.



The prizes of the Machines.

The First Size, l. s.

The Second Size, II 5

The Third Size, II II

The Chimney-Shells,

First Size, ios. 6d

The Second Size, 7s. 6d.


Considering the great Expences I have been at to acquire a compleat Knowledge of of what had been done abroad relating to this New Method, and the Time, Labour, and Charges I have beftow’d to bring it to the degree of Perfection it now is at, the prime cost of the Machines themselves, which is considerably greater than that of Povey’s Counterfeit Watch-Engine, which has lately been hawk’d about the Streets at 15 s. per Piece; besides the Addition of the Chymical Preparation with which the Water is impregnated; No body will have Reason to think the above-mentioned Prizes too high : And the following Chapter will convince even the meanest Capacity, that the Difference in the Workmanship, and Usefulness of my Machines, compared to Povey’s, is vastly greater than the Difference in Prizes. My First and Second Sizes are considerably Larger than his; the Third, which I rate at 18 s. cometh nearest to his, but holds more Gun-powder, and something less Water; which renders the Force of the Explosion stronger, and the Extinction more effectual : And every Buyer at first Sight will judge it by much the Cheapest of the two. I need not here repeat the Advantages of different Sizes, fince the Directions sufficiently difcover’d them.







Examined, and compared with our Machines.


THAT every one may be thoroughly convinced, That my Machines are honestly calculated for the real Advantage and Benefit of my Fellow-Subjects in Time of Need ; and that Povey’s, on the contrary, are only made to deceive the Eye, to draw Buyers, and by that means to procure him a present Harvest at the detriment of others, I shall here compare them together.


To act therefore with the utmost Impartiality, I will here give the Description of Mr. Povey's Engine, in his own Words.


This Engine (fays be) is made in Form of a small Vessel, with Four thin Iron Hoops, an Iron Bale, and. the Top of the Engine goes with a Screw, upon which is pasfed Touch-Paper, and a Fuze, and a Tin Bomb is fixed in the middle of the said Screw, filled with Gun-powder, and the Bomb lies in the Center of the Engine in Water. So that by the opening of the Screw, all the Art of the Engine may be seen, and the Bomb taken out and put in at pleasure. The Outside of the Engine and Bomb is Painted, to preserve and beautify the Work the Hoops are Lacquered; and round the Middle these Words in Gold Letters: The Watch-Engine, and a Seal, Qc.


Not knowing what he meant by In Form of a small Vessel, nor being able to conceive how the Bomb could be fix’d in the middle of the Screw, and at the lame time lye in the Center of the Engine ; to give a right Description, I was obliged to be at the Charge of purchasing one ; and found it as follows :


The Thing in form of a fmall Veflel, is a wooden Barrel, confining of the flightiest Staves, hooped as he mentions. The Bottom of it is very thin, pegg’d together of two or three pieces. I leave the Reader to judge how long this flight Cask, hung up as he directs, will be able to bear the Weight of the Water without losing its Bottom, efpecially at Sea, where theMotion of the Ship will agitate the contained Water to that Degree, that in a very little time the Barrel will be beaten to pieces. The Top of the Engine is very folid, and strong, nay, the strongest part of the whole, provided with a great heavy wooden Screw. A very judicious Contrivance, to make that part the Strongest which has nothing to bear!


The Burliness which he calls a Bomb, is a very flight Tin Box, made of two fmall Funnels fothered together; fo disproportionable Small in respect to the Diameter of the Barrel, that the Gun powder therein contained is not proportion able to the Quantity of Water in the Barrel, and therefore cannot have Force enough to make a sufficient Explosion.


This part of the Engine on which all depends, and which for that reason should be the bed guarded, fecured, and render’d the mod durable, is, if not worse, full as bad as the rest.


It is next to impoffible, to be fure, that in a thing fo flight, and fothered in fo many places, there should not be a Pin-hole left; which is enough to give Entrance to the Water, and in a small Space of Time to spoil the Gun-powder. But granted, it be every where close ; yet his Box itself is of too little Substance fo that the faline Nature of the Gun powder within, and the circumambient Water without, which in a short Time corrupts, will foon rust, corrode and moulder away this little Tin Bauble ; and the longest Time of its Duration cannot exceed 4 or 5 Months. Is it therefore worth while to any body to purchase an Engine for Fifteen Shillings, which in fo ihort a time will not be worth fo many Pence; besides the danger of the Disappointment ?


His Touch-Paper which he so mightily extolls, and without which, his Watch-Engine would utterly forfeit its Title, is patted upon the Screw, and hangs dangling down on all Sides. It is nothing else but Paper impregnated with a Solution of Saltpeter.


This Touch-Paper, whilst it is fresh, and in a dry Season, and hanging within reach in Rooms, Bed-Chambers, Closets, Qc. according to Povey’s Directions, will be continually liable to be fet on fire by the least Spark of the Snuff of a Candle, or lighted Tobacco Pipe, either through Carelefnefs or foolish Curiosity of Servants that pafs and repafs through the place where it hangs. On the contrary, when once it has flood the Change of Weather, as all Salts attract the Moisture of the Air, fo will the Salt of the Touch Paper; whence, in a little Time, it will become utterly unfit to take fire when it should be useful.


In short, if this Engine fhall do any Effect at all, it must be used juft when it is newly made: But as People are not fure of having 3 or 4 Days warning given them before a Fire is to break out in their Houses, or Neighbourhood ; fo they will be at a very great Lofs to know when to befpeak any.


Furthermore, as he has betray’d his Ignorance in the Disproportion of the Gunpowder with the quantity of Water in his Barrels, which in a small Room might chance to do for a Tryal; fo he has confirmed the fame, in making but one Size of Engines to serve all Turns. Thus in very large Rooms they are ineffectual, and in very small ones they will do Mischief.


His Iron Hoops, like fo many Swords, will cut through whatever they meet. And his heavy wooden Screw, if it hits a Man’s Head, will never fail to knock out his Brains. Nor will the Iron Bale be less mischievous. And yet he has the matchless Impudence to infinuate, That my Machines, which have only fmall wooden Hoops, and no Iron-work at all belonging to them, will kill People.


Besides all these Particulars, Povey's whole Engine being made up after fo flight a manner, if in cafe of Fire it be flung into any place, no other Effect can be expected, but that the very fall will break it to pieces.


Thus this famous Watch-Engine fhews itself in all its parts, a precarious, trifling and insignificant Tool.


But if People should be fo infatuated as to give Credit to what Povey fays concerning the Excellences of this Mock Engine, it would then prove a most dangerous Weapon.


He strenuously endeavors to persuade People into Self-security and Hecdlefnefs ; he bids them go to bed, fleep fafe and found, and leave all the Care of their Houses, Goods and Lives, to his mighty Watch-Engine.


He tells us, if we will but believe him, That it plays of itself, watches of itself, gives an alarm of itself, and extinguishes of itself.


May it never be the Fate of any House keeper to run fuch a Hazard, When the Touch-Paper has lost its virtue, which entirely depends upon the Weather; a House, and all in it, may be reduced to Afhes, before the Alarm will give Notice; and if the Engine has once passed the Age of a few Months Qc the Gun powder, Box, and all contained within the Engine, is degenerated into Mud ; be the Touch-Paper never fo good, it will be in vain to expect a Call when the Watch is dead.


All that I can find in this pretended Watch-Engine, worth taking Notice of, is the Title in Golden Letters; which all those who have bought any, ought carefully to look upon as a proper Caution Which the Seller, againft his Intention, has given them : To wir, an Engine to excite them to Watchful nels, leaft depending on that Ignis Fatuus their Ruin should watch over them.


I MODESTLY CONFESS, That my Machines can neither boaft of painted Coats nor lacquered Hoops, nor have I thought fit to adorn them with an empty Title in Golden Letters ; being very well allured. That if they prove useful to the Publick, in answering the End which they are defign’d for, they will want no better Title to let them of.


And as Ihave intirely neglected the gaudy Shadow, fo I have amply made it up in the Improvement of the Substance. My Barrels are made of strong Staves, well fet together: they want not a neceffary number of fmall innocent wooden Hoops to bind them well. The Bottom is of one fold piece, in order to hold always tight ; and ftrong enough to bear the weight of all that is contained in the Barrels. The Top is light and thin, turned hollow in the middle for the better Lodgment of the Wild-fire, being a mixture of a certain Proportion of Charcoal, Sulphur and Gun-powder ; which the Air cannot fpoil. Befides, it is guarded against the Weather by a Tin Cover lined, and consequently against Sparks of Candles and Tobacco-Pipes, &c. tho’ the Machines fhould hang within reach. However, as no body can be too cautious, it is advifeable to hang them pretty high, and in fuch places where Leather Buckets are used to be hung; in fo doing, all Aрргеhension which the foolifh Curiosity of peeping, not uncommon amongst Servants, might occafion, will be prevented. The Barrels are very well lined within; fo that none of the Liquid can penetrate through, or in process of time rot the Wood.


The Powder Magazine is not of fothered Tin, but either of Pewter cast, or else of fome other Matter able to refifi the feline Nature of the Gun powder for many Years It is outwardly covered besides, with the fame Substance the Barrels are lined with, to defend it from any Injuries it might receive from the Liquid Compound.


The whole Machine is cafed with Basket- work, with two Handles, the better to be taken hold of at the time they are to be thrown, and that the fall in fome meafure may be broke by the Springinefs of the Basket, and thereby the untimely bursting of the Barrel's prevented.


The Reader, I hope, is now fenfible of the Difference between Povey's painted Butterflies, or Counterfeit Watch-Engines, and my plain original Machines. And as mine will laft more Years than his will Months, I doubt not in the leaft, but after the Publick is convinced of the important Advantages arising from this additional Method of Extinction, every Buyer would for his own Interest be ready to pay more Shillings for mine, than he would offer Pence for his, tho’ no Patent had been granted me.





The foul Measures Mr. Povey has taken to make himself looked upon as the Author of this New Discovery, and to defraud me of the Fruits of my Labour and Expenses.


I should willingly content my self to conclude: But fuch has been the Infolence of that worthless Man, in his clamorous Advertisements, that Persons in the Country, who are neither acquainted with his, nor my Character, would be apt to believe me guilty of all the vile things this wicked Man has from time to time charged me with, should I take no Notice at all of Pove's dishonest and unjustifiable Proceedings. To undeceive therefore the ignorant, I shall subjoin a Short Narrative of his vile Conduct in this Affair, confirmed by the Affidavits, made before the honorable Attorney-General the Abstracts of which, fee at the end of this Account; and then I shall leave to my impartial Readers to decide which is the honest; well-meaning Man, and which the defining Knave.


WANTING a fit Place to try my first publick Experiment in, I had the Misfortune to apply to Mr. Povey for a Corner in Belsize Park ; a Person who at first seemed to me a grave honest countenanced elderly Gentleman. My Request being granted me without any Difficulty, I thought my Obligation the greater, as his Compliance was the readier. I had my House eroded accordingly; Mr. Povey was in the meantime very inquisitive to know what was to be Try’d; and being told at laft, that it was to Extinguish Fire by Explosion, he faid l'uch a thing was impolhble to be done. He was till the end of March, utterly ignorant of any News-Paper wherein an Account had been given of the like Experiment try’d abroad ; nor was he poflefs d of the Daily 'journal of December 7th, 1722, till Mr. Watkins bought it for him ; which was done some Days after my Experiment had been Try’d.


On the Second of April 1723, when I made the first Publick Tryal of my New Method of Extinction, I was provided with fome Machines of a flight make; the Magazine was Tin, and the Top of the Barrel had a small wooden Screw ; but the Parts of the Machines were perfectly proportion able one to the other, fо as to be fit to answer the Experiment, tho’ very unfit for Duration ; and wanting Water to fill my Barrels with, the Gardener well intruded by Povey, came to my Affiance ; when I, not mistrusting any thing, open'd a Machine, took out the Magazine filled with Gun-powder, put it in again, and filled the Barrel with Water in the prelence of this Gardener ; who after all was over, and the Company gone, gathered up the lhatter’d pieces, to try whether he could fet them together fo as to serve for a Direction to a Workman ; hereupon acquainting his Principal with what he had obferv’d, Povey with an Expreffion of Joy, faid : We will nick the old Fellow, meaning me; and if he will not give us a good Sum of Money, we will devulge his Secret. After this he came to my House, admired the Invention, offered me a considerable Sum of Money for the Secret; and finding I had no Inclination to fell it, he begg’d of me to let him have the Refusal, if ever I should be inclinable to dispose of it. But meeting with no incouragement from me, he took the Gardener to London, and made him give Directions to a Turner and a Cooper, who between them imitated my flight Machine (meerly defign’d for present Destruction) in every part, even to the wooden Screw; only with this Difference, That the Screw is three times as thick and heavy, and that there is no proportion, as I have already mention’d, between the Bigness of the Bomb (as he calls it) and the Barrel, on which the force of the Explosion entirely depends.


This done, he built a House of the fame Dimension with mine, and for above a Week had it well foaked with Water, both within and without, Mornings and Nights. Then Adverted his Experiment, and fet Fire only to the lower Room of his wet Houle ; which he accordingly, with great Difficulty, extinguished.


I would fain know, whether this Experiment, fo candidly managed, was made witha Design to serve or to cheat the Publick, particularly fince no body was admitted to come into the Park without paying half a Crown. This Sham Experiment having succeeded, by the officious Affiftance of the Gardener, he ordered one Mr. Watkins to draw up the following Affidavit; the Original of which, is in my Attorney’s Hands.


Michael Bagnley maketh Oath, That he did not give Mr. Charles Povey of Hampstead, the first Thought of Gun-powder and Water to extinguish Fire nor that he the said Michael Bagnley never prepared one Bomb that was used to extinguish any of the Fires in the faid Charles Povey's Project in the Park at Belsize.


This he endeavored first by Promises and fair Words, to persuade the Gardener to fwear to, that he might with the better Face call himself the Inventor; but finding that the Man, tho’ he had been instrumental in doing an unjust Action, yet was not quite fo much hardened as to draw upon himself the Guilt of Perjury, he proceeded to Threatnings; which like wife not prevailing, he turned the poor Fellow, who was not his Servant, but his Tenant, out of the Garden, and made him loose his whole Summer’s Product.


And altho’ (to use his own Words) the dark Scene was drawn, and a Series of secret and open Iniquities were evidently proved upon him to his Face, before the Honorable Attorney-General, yet this no ways discouraged Povey from his unjustz Proceedings; but he went on as bold as ever. And after he had changed the wooden Hoops of his pirated Engine into Iron ones, made an Addition of an Iron Bale to it, and Painted and Lacquered, and fet it off with gold Letters, he publifhed his Letter of the Fire-Projects, and back’d the fame with a considerable Number of scurrilous Advertisements. In all which, he endeavors to blacken my Character; abuses the whole Honorable Affembly, that was prefent at the Trying of my Experiment, by calling them perjured Witneffes, and even arraigneth in fome meafure the Regency for procuring me a Patent, in saying that it was obtained by indirect Means.


However, I have the Pleasure of feeing that at the fame time that he takes a great deal of Pains to injure me, he only labours to prove himself a most notorious Lyar, and wicked Man, as appears by what follows.


In the 8th Paragraph of his Letter he fays, he has been upon the Invention of his Watch-Engine ever fince December, 1722.


And in his Advertisement of May 22. he fays, The Sight of that Accident (meaning my firft Experiment, April 2d) gave Mr. Povey the first Thought of making use of Gun-powder and Water to extinguish, Qc.


In the 11th Paragraph, he difcovereth a mighty Secrer, to wit, that I ftole my Project out of a Paper off of his File: whereas Mr. Banian’s Affidavit proveth, that Povey knew of no fuch Paper the 3 ift of March, 1723 : How then could he have it on his File ? Or if he had it actually, and had Thoughts about an Experiment of this Nature, why did he not try it before I did mine ? Or why did he suffer me to try my Experiment upon his Premises ? Or if his Engine was the Product of his own thought, how comes it that it is in all its parts of the fame Shape, Figure, and Materials with those which I used at the first of my Experiments ?


In his Letter, Column 3. Paragraph 1. he tranferibes the Article from Paris of the Daily Journal, wherein is mentioned, that Water and a Bomb (which implies Gunpowder) was used in the German's Experiment. And yet Povey has the Confidence to publich the following Lines in the Daily Post, June 19.


No Person has produced any Foreign or Domestic News-Paper of any Projector, except Mr. Povey, either in France, Spain, Germany, Great Britain, or in any other part of the World, that did declare they made use of Gun-powder and Water to extinguish Fires.


He lays in the first Column of his Letter a great Stress upon my faying that my Materials were Chymical and Physical. It is plain, that Gunpowder owes its Original to Chemistry, and that all natural Bodies are Physical Bodies.


He farther charges me, in one of the Advertisements, That I never declared I used Water and Gun powder; whilst he gives himself the Lye in his Letter, Column the third, where he quotes a Paffage out of my Petition to

the Regency, wherein I mention both.


His chief Evidences arc his Cooper and Turner, manifeft Parties concerned, who in hopes of future large Gains, have thought fit to be his Vouchers.


April the 6th, he makes my Machines chargeable, and pretends to be mighty publick spirited, faying, He defires no Patent to ingress the Undertaking to himself.


And May 22. he fays, It is not to be quetfioned but that the Legiflature will make an to invest the fole Property of Preparing and Selling the Bombs to the Inventor thereof (meaning himself ).


At lafk (notwithftanding he had proved himself by his own Writings what I never offered to call him) he appeared in Print with this Bravado; to wit, offering me an Hundred Guineas, if within Six Days time I would own my self to be the Author of certain Paragraphs, and disprove the Articles charged upon me and my Evidences : But my Attorney not being in Town, I thought it beneath me to take any Notice of his Bluftring which however did fo far incourage him in his wonted Affurance, as to dare me a Second time in the fame manner, on the 7th of December, when, to filence him, I found my self obliged on the 10th of the fame Month to advertise, that if he would lodge the 100 Guineas in Alderman Child's Hands, and deliver the Note to me, I then would take upon me the faid Paragraphs, and give lawful Security for the Performance thereof. Upon which my Gentleman, too well knowing the irrecoverable Lоfs of that Sum, should he lodge ir, has thought fit to sneak of, and has never barked fince.


I could quote a great many more of his fhameful Lyes and Contradiction, but I am tired with looking over his scandalous Papers. He that has a mind to fee his indirect Practices of the deepest dye, and his Picture drawn by himself in the blackest Colours, needs only to read his Letter and Advertisements.


My Time is too precious to be Mifpent in taking any farther Notice of his snarling: I therefore conclude with this Warning to Mr. Povey, That he take care not to come within the reach of my Patent, nor to vent his Spleen against me, by defiling the News-Papers with foul reflecting Language ; elfe he shall find me to take the shortest and most effectual Method the Law will allow, to bring him to Repentance.


N. B. Povey’s meddling, rifles, and turbulent Spirit, having already forced me to swell the Bulk of my Account considerably beyond what I at first intended, I chuse to omit annexing the Abstracts of the Affidavits, least I should trespass too much upon my Reader’s Patience. In the meantime, whosoever wants to be further satisfied of the Truth of what is lay’d to my Adversary’s Charge, may see and peruse the Affidavits at length, at Mr. William Brigges, Joyner, over against Salisbury-Street in the Strand; where all the different Sizes of my Machines are sold; as also at Mr. R. Williams, at the Hand and Eye over-against Somerfec-house in the Strand.