IMPROVED DISINFECTING APPARATUS.
We represent herewith a sanitary train that was very successfully used during the prevalence of an epidemic of sudor Anglicus in Poitou this year. It consisted of a movable stove and a boiler. In reality, to save time, such agricultural locomotives as could be found were utilized; but hereafter, apparatus like those shown in the engraving, and which are specially constructed to accompany the stoves, will be employed. We shall quote from a communication made by Prof. Brouardel to the Academy of Medicine on this subject, at its session of September 13:
In the country we can never think of disinfecting houses with sulphurous acid, as the peasants often have but a single room, in which the beds of the entire family are congregated. Every one knows that the agglomerations that compose the same department are often distant from each other and the chief town by from two to three miles or more. This is usually the case in the departments of Vienne, Haute Vienne, Indre, etc. To find a disinfecting place in the chief town of the department is still difficult, and to find one in each of the hamlets is absolutely impossible. Families in which there are invalids are obliged to carry clothing and bedding to the chief town to be disinfected, and to go after them after the expiration of twenty-four hours. This is not an easy thing to do.
It is easy to understand what difficulties must be met with in many cases, and so one has to be content to prescribe merely washing, and bleaching with lime - something that is simple and everywhere accepted, but insufficient. So, then, disinfection with sulphurous acid, which is easy in large cities, as was taught by the cholera epidemics of last year, is often difficult in the country. The objection has always be made to it, too, that it is of doubtful efficacy. It is not for us to examine this question here, but there is no doubt that damp steam alone, under pressure, effects a perfect disinfection, and that if this mode of disinfection could be applied in the rural districts (as it can be easily done in cities), the public health would be better protected in case of an epidemic.
In cities one or more stationary steam stoves can always be arranged; but in the country movable ones are necessary. From instructions given by Prof. Brouardel, Messrs. Geneste & Herscher have solved the problem of constructing such stoves in a few days, and four have been put at the disposal of the mission.
Dr. Thoinot, who directed this mission, in order to make an experiment with these apparatus, selected two points in which cases of sudor were still numerous, and in which the conditions were entirely different, and permitted of studying the working of the service and apparatus under various phases. One of these points was Dorat, chief town of Haute Vienne, a locality with a crowded population and presenting every desirable resource; and the other was the commune of Mauvieres, in Indre, where the population was scattered through several hamlets.
The first stove was operated at Dorat, on the 29th of June, and the second at Mauvieres, on the 1st of July. A gendarme accompanied the stove in all its movements and remained with it during the disinfecting experiments. The Dorat stove was operated on the 29th of June and the 1st, 2d, and 3d of July. On the 30th of June it proceeded to disinfect the commune of Darnac. The Mauvieres stove, in the first place, disinfected the chief town of this commune on the 1st of July, and on the next day it was taken to Poulets, a small hamlet, and a dependent of the commune of Mauvieres. All the linen and all the clothing of the sick of this locality, which had been the seat of sudor, especially infantile, was disinfected. On the 4th of July, the stove went to Concremiers, a commune about three miles distant, and there finished up the disinfection that until then had been performed in the ordinary way.
The epidemic was almost everywhere on the wane at this epoch; but we judge that the test of the stoves was sufficient.
We are able to advance the following statement boldly: For the application of disinfection in the rural districts, the movable stove is the most practical thing that we know of. It is easily used, can be taken to the smallest hamlets, and can be transported over the roughest roads. It inspires peasants with no distrust. The first repugnance is easily overcome, and every one, upon seeing that objects come from the stove unharmed, soon hastens to bring to it all the contaminated linen, etc., that he has in the house.
Further, we may add that the disinfection is accomplished in a quarter of an hour, and that it therefore keeps the peasant but a very short time from his work - an advantage that is greatly appreciated. Finally, a day well employed suffices to disinfect a small settlement completely. Upon the whole, disinfection by the stove under consideration is the only method that can always and everywhere be carried out.
We believe that it is called upon to render the greatest services in the future.
The movable stove, regarding which Prof. Brouardel expresses himself in the above terms, consists of a cylindrical chamber, 3½ feet in internal diameter and 5 feet in length, closed in front by a hermetically jointed door. This cylinder, which constitutes the disinfection chamber, is mounted upon wheels and is provided with shafts, so that it can easily be hauled by a horse or mule. The cylinder is of riveted iron plate, and is covered with a wooden jacket. The door is provided with a flange that enters a rubber lined groove in the cylinder, and to it are riveted wrought iron forks that receive the nuts of hinged bolts fixed upon the cylinder. The nuts are screwed up tight, and the flange of the door, compressing the rubber lining, renders the joint hermetical. The door, which is hinged, is provided with a handle, which, when the stove is closed, slides over an inclined plane fixed to the cylinder.
The steam enters a cast iron box in the stove through a rubber tube provided with a threaded coupling. The entrance of the steam is regulated by a cock. The box is provided with a safety and pressure gauge and a small pinge cock. In the interior of the stove the entrance of the steam is masked by a large tinned copper screen, which is situated at the upper part and preserves the objects under treatment from drops of water of condensation. These latter fall here and there from the screen, follow the sides of the cylinder, and collect at the bottom, from whence they are drawn off through a cock placed in the rear.
The sides are lined internally with wood, which prevents the objects to be infected from coming into contact with the metal. The objects to be treated are placed upon wire cloth shelves. The pinge cock likewise serves for drawing off the air or steam contained in the apparatus.
The stove is supported upon an axle through the intermedium of two angle irons riveted longitudinally upon the cylinder. The axle is cranked, and its wheels, which are of wood, are 4½ feet in diameter. The shafts are fixed to the angle irons. The apparatus is, in addition, provided with a seat, a brake, and prop rods before and behind to keep it horizontal when in operation.
The boiler that supplies this stove is vertical and is mounted upon four wheels. It is jacketed with wood, and is provided with a water level, two gauge cocks, a pressure gauge, two spring safety valves, a steam cock provided with a rubber tube that connects with that of the stove, an ash pan, and a smoke stack. In the rear there are two cylindrical water reservoirs that communicate with each other, and are designed to feed the boiler through an injector. Beneath these reservoirs there is a fuel box. In front there is a seat whose box serves to hold tools and various other objects. - La Nature.