The annoyance and pernicious effects experienced by the public from a sooty atmosphere, drew the attention of the legislature to the subject, and a Select Committee of the House of Commons was appointed, in 1819, "to inquire how far it might be practicable to compel persons using steam engines and furnaces in their different works, to erect them in a manner less prejudicial to public health and comfort; and to report their observations thereon to the House." The committee having ascertained and reported to the House that the reduction of smoke from furnaces might be practically accomplished, a bill to embrace that object was brought into the House and passed; it was entitled - " An Act for giving greater facility in the prosecution and abatement of nuisances arising from furnaces used in the working of steam-engines:" to commence Sept. 1, 1821. Among its enactions are the following; - "That it shall and may be lawful for the court before whom any such indictment shall be tried, in addition to the judgment pronounced by the said court, in case of conviction, to award such costs as may be deemed proper and reasonable to the prosecutor or prosecutors, to be paid by the party or parties so convicted." It was also enacted - " That if it shall appear to the court before which any such indictment shall be tried, that the grievance may be remedied by altering the construction of the furnace, or any other part of the premises of the party or parties so indicted, it shall be lawful to the court, without the consent of the prosecutor, to make such order touching the premises as shall be, by the said court, thought expedient for preventing the nuisance in future, before passing final sentence upon the defendant, or defendants, so convicted." Gregson's Patent. - Mr. Joseph Gregson, who was one of the gentlemen examined before the Committee of the House, gave it as his opinion, that the principal causes of the nuisance were, the putting on the fire too much crude fuel at a time, and the chimney being in general too low. Mr. Gregson had a patent for a plan of a furnace for consuming the smoke, the principle of which, he stated, consisted, " first, in causing all the smoke, after it has arisen from the fire, to return into the heat of the fire before it enters the flue or chimney, and so be consumed; secondly, in putting on no more fuel at any one time, than the smoke of which can be consumed, and that without opening the door for the purpose; thirdly, in supplying the fire with a current of air to counteract the effect of those winds that operate against the draft. The engraving in the next page represents a vertical section of the apparatus. The fire-place G and the feeding-door F are made as usual; the smoke passes over the bridge D, under which is an aperture, where an intense heat is produced, which inflames the smoke in the descending flue by means of a supply of air through the aperture C; it then passes into the flue and the chimney, A, formed in the usual manner.

Z Z is an air shaft and drain to supply the fire with air through a valve situated under the fire-place. It may be deserving of remark, that the objects aimed at by Mr. Gregson in this arrangement would be considerably promoted, by making the partition between the ascending and descending flues, A and Z, of iron or copper, instead of brick; and that an economy of fuel would result from the partial exchange of temperatures between the opposite currents. But in thus abstracting the waste heat through the medium of good conducting substances, a sufficient temperature must be left in the ascending column to maintain the draft.

Legislative Enactment 507