Keeping the body clean is indispensable for the preservation of good health, through obtaining an operation of the skin and expelling matter whose presence aids in the development of diseases. It is unfortunately necessary to say that, considering the population as a whole, the proportion of those who take baths is very small. This is due to the fact that the habit of cleanliness, which should become a necessity, has not been early inculcated in every individual; and the reason that this complement to education is not realized is because the means of satisfying its exigencies are usually wanting.
We shall not speak of the improved processes that are used solely by the rich or well-to-do, as these become impracticable where it is a question of the working classes or of large masses of individuals. It is, in fact, the last named category that interests us, and we are convinced that if we get young soldiers and children to hold dirtiness in horror, we shall be sure that they will later on take care of their bodies themselves.
The most tempting solution of this question of washing seems to be found in the use of large pools of running tepid water; but such a process is too costly for general use, and the most economical one, without doubt, consists in giving tepid douches.
TEPID WATER DOUCHE
To our knowledge, the only apparatus in this line that has been devised was exhibited last year at the exhibition of hygiene in the Loban barracks. It has been used daily for six years in several garrisons, and therefore has the sanction of practice.
This apparatus, which is due to Mr. Herbet, consists of a steam boiler and of an ejector fixed to a reservoir of water and provided with a rubber tube to which a nozzle is attached. The steam generated in the boiler passes into the ejector, sucks up the water and forces it out in a tepid state.
The apparatus thus established did not sufficiently fulfill the purpose for which it was designed. It was necessary to have a means of varying the temperature of the water projected, according to the season and temperature of the air, to have an instantaneous and simple method of regulating the apparatus, that could be understood by any operator, and to have the apparatus under the control of the person holding the nozzle. These difficulties have been solved very simply by causing the orifice of the nozzle to vary. This nozzle, from whence the jet escapes, is formed of rings that screw together. When the nozzle is entire, the jet escapes at a temperature of say 40°. When the first ring is unscrewed, the water will make its exit at a temperature of 38°. In order to lower the temperature still further, it is only necessary to unscrew the other rings in succession, until the desired temperature has been obtained.
As it is, the apparatus is rendering great services where it has been introduced; for example, at Besancon and Belfort. It serves, in fact, for an entire garrison, while that before, the washing was done in each regiment, thus requiring the use of much space and causing much loss of time.
Eight men are washed at once for five minutes, say 96 men per hour. Every minute the men turn right about face, and when they are in file each rubs the other's back.
Twenty-two pounds of coal and 260 gallons of water are consumed per hour, and the boiler produces 130 lb. of steam.--Le Genie Civil.