Historically Important Manuscript about early Firefighting alarm technology
by FARMER, Moses G. (1820 - 1893)
Boston, 1852. unbound. Partial unsigned manuscript consisting of four pages, 9.75 x 7.75 inches, labeled "2" through "5," of a more extensive document, all in the hand of Moses G. Farmer from 1852-1853, discussing the earliest trial-runs of the first ever Electric Fire Alarm System implemented in Boston. Though placed into service on April 28th 1852, Farmer's notes (in diary form) start on June 21st, assessing the system while constantly citing ways to improve his new invention, in very small part: "...Wednesday June 23 an alarm at 2:15...could not be easily read and caused a delay of 8 or 10 minutes...Saturday July 9th the circuit wheel of the key board needed repairs - the connector melted off by strong battery. July 10th Great Fire in Fort Hill. Alarm first came from Lower Boston plain. They tried to give it from Fort Hill & Persshar St. but both turned together turned too fast, while ringing for So. Boston alarm came from Broad St. a delay in the time alarm of about 7 minutes...Friday Aug 6th Wanted! A Battery! Easy of manipulation. Constant & enduring in its operation. Powerful & certain in its effects & of small...cost! Sunday Aug 8th An alarm from D-7 at 12M. The operator did not understand it, being the first one from that box & did not strike till the alarm came from I-4 at 12:15 P.M...Says he will recognize it next time. Oct 17th tried to raise an alarm from D-3 - S-3, 4, & 5 but could not, the lightning assertors were the cause of the difficulty...Friday Oct. 29th Put my newly invented battery on the South Boston signal circuit first time. Nov. 22nd Proceeded to try experiments on the velocity of sound for Captain C Wilkes...put my new battery on all signal circuit. Monday Dec. 20th Bad luck within two days at Three alarms. At one alarm the operator forgot to connect the South circuit. At Another the South end bells struck all sorts of ways on account of the key board running too fast. Atmospheric electricity probably had something to do with raising a false alarm at South End yesterday. [Note: this is possibly the earliest recorded false alarm!) Jan 11th  Patent for my battery granted today. Sat. Jan. 15th 1853 Key board out of order. Made a substitute & had I repaired. Monday Jan. 17th Found wire broken at So. Williams St. did not intercept the circuit." This item has natural folds, but is still in near fine condition. American electrical engineer and inventor of the Electric Fire Alarm System and several forms of the Incandescent Electric Light. He also patented an early light bulb (which was later bought by Thomas Edison). Though a true pioneer of many aspects of 19th century electrical invention, he and his wife were Spiritualists and felt that their talents were God-given, and that they shouldn't take credit for any of his inventions. As a result, he failed to carry his ideas to commercial success.
(Inventory #: 266899)
Americana, Art, Autographs, First Editions, Modern First Editions, Maps & Prints, Medicine & Science, Out-of-Print
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