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Broadside entitled 'To the Public. Mode of Extinguishing Fire'


This paper, written by Frederick W. Morris, an Edinburgh medical student, was issued on 19th November 1824. It is in response to a series of fires which broke out in Edinburgh earlier that month. These fires caused the worst damage the city had ever seen and the event came to be known as the Great Fire of Edinburgh.

Probably more from entrepreneurial than public-spirited motives, Frederick Morris proposes a system of using carbonic acid gas, more commonly referred to today as carbon dioxide, to extinguish fires. His idea of installing pipes into buildings, and controlling the release of the gas using a stopcock was never taken up, presumably for logistical as well as safety reasons (the gas is highly toxic if inhaled). However, many fire extinguishers today contain carbon dioxide.

Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, to be read unfolded. They carried public information such as proclamations as well as ballads and news of the day. Cheaply available, they were sold on the streets by pedlars and chapmen. Broadsides offer a valuable insight into many aspects of the society they were published in, and the National Library of Scotland holds over 250,000 of them.

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Date published: 1824   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(071)
Broadside entitled 'To the Public. Mode of Extinguishing Fire'
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