Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/851

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THE best practical application of the principle of warm walls and cold air is undoubtedly the house which M. Somesco, civil engineer, has built for himself at Creil. We were fortunate in visiting M. Somesco on a day when a strong northeasterly gale was blowing. Wind creates greater difficulties than cold; but on this occasion we had both wind and cold. It is important to note that M. Somesco's house is built on marsh land. On both sides of the house there is a river, and but for the construction of embankments flood would constantly occur in this spot. It was necessary to dig six feet below the level of the cellar floor to find a foundation. As much masonry had to be placed under the house to form a foundation as would have sufficed to build it. The garden, in the midst of which the house stands, was also artificial. Nor is there any shelter from the winds. The house stands alone in the midst of what is now a garden, but which used to be a dismal swamp. The system of warming and of ventilation has therefore been tested under the most trying circumstances. In shape M. Somesco's house is square, measuring twelve metres. It has cellars, two floors, and above these under the roof a large sort of hall which serves as a billiard-room. The hollowed walls are fifty-five centimetres thick. The external wall is twenty-two centimetres and the inner wall eleven centimetres, so that there is an intervening space between the walls of twenty to twenty-two centimetres. These walls are made with porous bricks, but in the basement the walls are massive. The house is like one box inside another box, with a space of four to five inches between the two boxes.

Outside, at the back of the house, there is an ordinary coal-furnace. The smoke and heat from this furnace pass into a chamber built in the cellar of the house, measuring about six feet in length and not quite two feet square. From this heat-chamber and going all round the outer walls of the cellar there is an inclosed passage. Suspended in the center of this passage and also going the whole way round the house is a metallic flue of more than a foot in diameter (thirty-five centimetres internal and thirty-seven centimetres external diameter). This serves as a chimney and draws off the smoke and the heat from the furnace and heat-chamber, traveling horizontally round the four sides of the house; and then, when it is nearly back to the furnace, the flue opens into a chimney; the smoke and what heat remains go up vertically to the roof. In other words, the basement of the house is surrounded by a narrow closed passage, in the center of which is suspended the flue or chimney from the furnace, and