JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 834
There’s not much that I can say at this point about C.J.
Leroux, the author of the work in which
this magnificent engraving was published, Decouverte
contre les incendies...1 Without a pretty good library to hike to Leroux’s
efforts remain a mystery to me, except for what I can deduce from the
image. The shack in the image is burning,
and the man inside is fine, evidently protected from the fire by a special suit
made of fire-resistant materials. It is
an interesting idea in protecting people from fire—sidestepping the issue of
making the house more fire resistant by making the people in the house
resistant to fire. I suspect that the
inventor/designer/theorist of such a gown had in mind the sale of millions of
such things—that way if a fire struck a house in a dense section of
Be that as it may, it really didn’t matter, as the materials
for creating such a suit as the test man is wearing didn’t yet exist. Certainly
nothing existed at the time that would allow someone to read, write and work through
smoke and flames in a fiery furnace (“fournaise ardente”) all the while
with no inconvenience (“en etre incommode”)2. The large mushroom-shaped cap would be a supply of oxygen, I guess; the smile on the face of the suit must betray a secret knowledge as to why the paper and pen are not on fire.
It seems to be a nice piece of different thinking.
1. Full title: Découverte contre les incendies, les dangers des eaux, de l'air méphytique ou contagieux et de plusieurs autres maux qui affligent l'humanité, avec un supplément contre les dangers des voyages et des chutes. Par C. J. Leroux Published and printed by the author in 36 pages in Paris, 1788.
2. The legend reads: “ Experience d’une personne qui lit, ecrit, travaille, &c. dans une fournaise ardente, au milieu des flames et de la fume, ans en etre incommode.”