HC Deb 17 July 1905 vol 149 cc852-3

To ask the Secretary to the Board of Trade whether any of the syrens on the coast are worked by means of steam; and, if not, will he furnish a statement showing the relative cost of the machinery necessary for producing sound from a syren by means of steam or compressed air.

(Answered by Mr. Bonar Law.) The sirens round the coast of the United Kingdom are sounded by compressed air. At the electric light stations, where steam power is available, it is utilised for compressing the air for the fog signals, and steam is also used for the same purpose on board eight of the Trinity House light vessels. At all other fog signal stations caloric or oil engines are the motive power. In a Report by a special Committee of the Trinity House, which carried out certain experiments with sound-producing instruments in 1901, it is stated that "although many large steam whistles are in operation on the American coasts, there are none in use in the British lighthouse service, they having been regarded as wasteful and inefficient instruments, requiring a high pressure of steam, and radiating the sound equally in all directions vertically as well as horizontally." I am unable to furnish the comparison of cost referred to in the latter part of the Question.