This section is from the "Architectural Iron And Steel, And Its Application In The Construction Of Buildings" book, by WM. H. Birkmire.. Also see Amazon: Architectural Iron And Steel, And Its Application In The Construction Of Buildings.
Above the proscenium opening there shall be an iron girder covered with fire-proof materials to protect it from the heat. There shall also be constructed a relieving arch over the same, the intervening space being filled in with hollow or other brick of the full thickness of the proscenium wall. Should there be constructed an orchestra over the stage, above the proscenium opening, the said orchestra shall be placed on the auditorium side of the proscenium fire-wall, and shall be entered only from the auditorium side of said wall. The moulded frame around the proscenium opening shall be formed entirely of fire-proof materials. If metal be used, the metal shall be filled in solid with non-combustible material and securely anchored to the wall with iron.
There shall be provided over the stage metal skylights of an area or combined area of at least one eighth the area of said stage, fitted up with sliding sash and glazed with double-thick sheet glass, not exceeding one eighth of an inch thick, and each pane thereof measuring not less than three hundred square inches, and the whole of which skylights shall be so constructed as to open instantly on the cutting or burning of a hempen cord which shall be arranged to hold said skylights closed, or some other equally simple approved device for opening them may be provided.
All doorways or openings through the proscenium wall, in every tier, shall have doors of iron or wood on each face of the wall; if of wood, the doors shall be constructed as hereinbefore described, and the doors hung so as to be opened from either side at all times. There shall be no openings in the proscenium fire-wall above the level of the auditorium ceiling. Direct access to these doors shall be provided on both sides, and the same shall always be kept free from any incumbrance. Iron ladders or stairs securely fixed to the wall on the stage side shall be provided to overcome any difference of level existing between the floor or galleries on the stage side of the fire-wall and those on the side of the auditorium.
The roof over the auditorium and the entire main floor of the auditorium and vestibule, also the entire floor of the second story of the front superstructure over the entrance, lobby and corridors, and all galleries in the auditorium shall be constructed of iron and fire-proof materials, not excluding the use of wooden floor boards and necessary sleepers to fasten the same to, but such sleepers shall not mean timbers of support.
The fronts and ceilings of each gallery shall be formed of fireproof material excepting the capping, which may be made of wood. The ceiling of auditorium shall be formed of fire-proof materials. All lathing wherever used must be of metal. The partitions in that portion of the building which contains the auditorium, the entrance vestibule and every room and passage devoted to the use of the audience, shall be constructed of fireproof materials, including the furring of outside or other walls, and none of the walls or ceilings shall be covered with wood sheathing, canvas, or any combustible material, but this shall not exclude the use of wood wainscoting to a height not to exceed six feet, which shall be filled in solid between the wainscoting and the wall with fire-proof materials. The walls separating the actors' dressing-rooms from the stage, and the partitions dividing the dressing-rooms, together with the partitions of any passage from the same to the stage, and all other partitions on or about the stage shall be constructed of fireproof material approved by the superintendent of buildings. All doors in any of said partitions shall be of iron or of wood, constructed as hereinbefore described. All the shelving and cupboards in each and every dressing-room, property-room or other storage rooms shall be constructed of metal, slate or some fire-proof material.
Dressing-rooms may be placed in the fly galleries, provided that proper exits are secured therefrom to the fire-escapes in the open court, and the partitions and other matters pertaining to dressing-rooms to conform to the requirements herein contained, but the stairs leading to the same must be fire-proof.
All that portion of the stage not comprised in the working of scenery, traps and other mechanical apparatus for the presentation of a scene, usually equal to the width of the proscenium opening, shall be built of iron beams filled in between with fire-proof material, and all girders for the support of said beams shall be of wrought iron. The fly galleries entire, including pin rails, shall be constructed of iron, and the floor of said galleries shall be composed of iron beams, filled in with fire-proof materials, and no wood boards or sleepers shall be used as a covering over beams, but the said floor shall be entirely fire-proof. The rigging loft shall be fire-proof, except the floor covering of same.
The proscenium opening shall be provided with a fire-proof metal curtain or a curtain of asbestos or similar fire-proof material approved by the superintendent of buildings, sliding at each end into iron grooves, securely fastened to the brick wall, and extending into such grooves not less than six inches on each side.
The proscenium curtains shall be placed at least three feet distant from the footlights at the nearest point.