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His Career is a Practical Demonstration of the Value of a Technical Education,

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RGANIZED EFFORT for the the New Jersey coast between Little Egg
rescue of life from the perils of Harbor and Cape Vay.
the sea is decidedly modern. In Among the appliances furnished was a

England, the foremost maritime life-car, which was destined to be tested nation of the world, it developed no soon and successfully. During a savage earlier than here.

storm on the night of January 12, 1850,

the emigrant ship Ayrshire stranded at Origin and Early Growth

Squan Beach, having on board many peoAlthough the Humane Society of Mas- ple for those days of small things. They sachusetts established houses of refuge were more than 200; and, since the surf on the coast of that Commonwealth as ran so high that no boat could be early as 1789, and began placing lifeboat launched, a line was shot out from a morstations there in 1807, the Government tar, and the life-car, with a rope attached of the United States, strange to say, took to each end, was then drawn forth to the no hand in life-saving affairs until 1847, ship and back to the land many times, when an appropriation of $5,000 was finally rescuing the entire ship's company. made for furnishing lighthouses on the Instantly the invention of the car came Atlantic coast with means for assisting into hot dispute between Mr. Joseph shipwrecked mariners. The next year, Francis and Capt. Douglas Ottinger, it Congress appropriated $10,000, to be ex having been constructed under the superpended on the coast of New Jersey, be- vision of VIr. Francis, a practical matween Sandy Hook and Little Egg Har- chinist, with the coöperation of Captain bor. The importance-or unimportance Ottinger, of the Revenue Cutter Service,

-of the stations established with the who had charge of the life-saving stahelp of this paltry sum, may be estimated tions. Francis lived to be 92 and Otfrom the fact that eight stations were tinger to be 94 years old, but neither erected and put in working order. They could prove his claim. In 1859 Congress were little more than rough board shan recognized that of Ottinger, and voted ties 16 by 28 feet, scantily equipped. An him $10,000 in consideration of his appropriation of $20,000, made in March, services to humanity. Twenty-eight 1849, proved sufficient to build and equip years afterwards, another Congress eight stations on Long Island, and six on awarded a huge gold medal to Mr. Fran

Copyright, 1901, by The Technical World.


Sus 1560 359 .

JUN 27 1917


from cis for the same invention. The car partially awoke to the necessities of the which bred the famous quarrel has been situation, and immediately provided for seen by millions of persons at our various two superintendents (one for Long national and international expositions, Island and one for New Jersey) at a and, with the shot fired on the occasion compensation of $1,500 each per annum, above mentioned, is now on exhibition at and a keeper for each station at a salary the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis.

From 1848 to 1853 the Life-Saving Service drifted along very much like a rudderless craft, and in 1853 Congress failed to adopt a pending measure to pro



of $200. Crews were left to be picked up as best they might whenever the awful necessity should arise. In this fashion things continued until 1869, when Mr. Haight, Representative from New Jersey, tried to secure a provision of law allowing the employment of permanent surfmen. He was defeated ; but fortunately, through the vigorous and skilful efforts of Hon. S. S. Cox, a substitute was adopted, authorizing crews at alternate stations. That was something, and it "broke the ice” for the passage of subsequent legislation.

Even with these improvements, the Service still remained deplorably inadequate. It lacked thorough organization and zealous guardianship. The Revenue Cutter Service, of which the Life-Saving establislument was only an adjunct, was itself sadly in need of reformation; and to that end, in February, 1871, Mr. Sumner I. Kimball was appointed Chief. Politics had honeycombed the whole fabric; and, with regard to the Life-Saving branch, there was an especially sorry state of affairs. An inspection along the coast showed the stations too remote from one another; the houses often filthy, some in ruins ; the outfits frequently lacking such prime requisites as powder, rockets, and shot-lines; the apparatus

LIFE-Car and Old-Time Mortar.

mote its efficiency. Many heartrending disasters had recently occurred; but in May, 1854, the ship Powhatan, carrying between 300 and 400 persons, was lost on the Jersey coast, and, although she lay only about 200 feet off shore, everyone aboard perished. This appalling calamity so aroused the country that Congress

rusted out or incomplete ; and a general ing establishment was thoroughly vindiunfitness among the keepers. The new cated, and, by Act of June 18, 1878, orChief promptly resolved that professional ganized into a separate bureau. Mr. fitness and not politics should henceforth Kimball was nominated, and on the same dictate appointments, and that the day unanimously confirmed, to be Genbeaches should be patrolled by night, as eral Superintendent, to which position he well as by day, in thick weather. The was at once transferred from the Reverefreshing result was that during the nue Cutter Service. next season not a single life was lost within the scope of station operations.

Districts, Stations, and Personnel

The coasts of the United States are Made a Separate Bureau

now divided into thirteen Life-Saving The Service remained a part of the Districts, comprising 273 stations, nine Revenue Cutter Division until 1878, of which are simply houses of refuge

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when the wreck of the Metropolis oc- where only a keeper is employed. The curred on the coast of North Carolina, Keepers (Captains) of the stations havinvolving the loss of 85 lives, and, soon ing crews receive $900 per annum; and thereafter, the wreck on the same coast the members of the crews (surfmen), of the U. S. war vessel Huron, in which $65 per month. Keepers must not be 98 men perished. These overwhelming less than 21 years old when enlisted, surfshocks at first provoked wrathful censure men not less than 18, and neither class of the Life-Saving Service; but, as to more than 45. Keepers are promoted the Huron, it was speedily disclosed that from the surfmen, and superintendents she was lost while the Life-Saving sta- from the keepers. Outsiders are eligible tions were closed according to law. With only to the grade of surfmen, and the regard to the Metropolis, it appeared prospect of promotion therefore furthat Congress had failed to place stations nishes strong incentive to faithfui conin that vicinity, as had been urged by the duct. The crews are drilled every day Chief of the Service.' The outcome of except Saturdays, in some of their duties, the whole matter was that the Life-Sav- among which are resuscitation of the apparently drowned, and the use of the In- breeches buoy, and the life-car. The ternational Code of Flag Signals, and of boats may be divided into two classesthe “wigwag” system, in which the men surfboats and lifeboats. The surfboat, are extremely proficient. The crews also although practically a lifeboat, is less


LIFEBOAT ON LAUNCHING CARRIAGE. constitute a permanent part of the Naval than one-fourth the weight of the latter, Coast Guard for war purposes. A mu- and therefore is especially adapted to flat tual benefit association, which they have beaches. As regards safety, a compariorganized, promotes contentment, and son with other boats, made some years affords an inducement for them to con- ago, showed that during the eighteen tinue in the Service. They are a superb preceding years the surfboats had landed set of men morally, physically, and pro- 6,735 persons from wrecked vessels ; and fessionally, that cannot be surpassed that during that time only 14 capsizes either by the Army or the Navy, here took place, in which 41 persons perished


A WRECK ON THE LAKES. or elsewhere. This is the testimony vol- —27 of the Service, and 14 shipwrecked. untarily given over and over again by the The splendid achievements of the Enhighest officers of the naval and military glish lifeboats are known world-wide; establishments.

and yet, during the period named, those Lifeboats and Surfboats

boats capsized 21 times, with a loss of 68 Many devices are used in life-saving; boatmen and 7 shipwrecked persons. The but the ultimate means are the boat, the number of surfmen lost from our boats

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