A term given to a flexible tube attached to hydraulic engines, for conveying water or other fluid to any required point Fire-engine hose was originally made of leather sewed up, which being very liable to get out of order, many attempts have been made to discover some cheaper and more durable material. Flax, or hempen hose, woven without a seam, have long been employed on the continent; and the Society of Arts, in London, have for years past been in the habit of offering a reward for its production in this country. According to Beckmann, however, a manufactory for this article existed in the neighbourhood of Bethnal-green, towards the end of the eighteenth century, but the speculation did not succeed. One of the London Insurance Offices a few years since imported a length of the best hempen hose from the continent, but it did not answer, being found not near so convenient in use, nor so durable as leather. Mr. Hancock has manufactured some hose of canvas, with layers of caoutchouc between them, which has been found useful in many cases where leather would have been ineligible.
Leather hose was formerly made by sewing with strong twine, and subsequently with copper wire; neither of these methods, however, was found sufficient to keep the hose constantly water-tight, and all the best hose now made is not sewn at all, but rivetted. The fire-engine establishments of London and Edinburgh make their own hose; the method adopted by them is as follows: the leather, levelled to a proper thickness, and in lengths of about four feet, is gauged to the breadth required; holes are punched, four at a time, all down the sides, by means of a small press. The ends of each piece of leather are cut crosswise, at an angle of about 37°; the different pieces of leather necessary to form a length of hose (forty feet) are then rivetted together at the ends. The length of leather thus farmed is then placed on a bench, and a long flat iron bar laid upon it; the rivets are next put into the holes on one side of the leather, and the holes on the other side brought over them; washers are then placed on the rivets, and struck down with a hollow punch. The points of the rivets are then hammered down over the washers; this done, the bar of iron is shifted along, and the operation continued until the whole length is completed.
A piece of rivetted hose made in this manner has been found capable of resisting a column of water nearly 500 feet high. The following composition has been found most efficacious for the preservation of leather hose, viz. one gallon of neat's-foot oil, two pounds of tallow, and a quarter of a pound of bees'-wax, melted together, and applied warm, the hose being in a moist state.