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Record and Guide.
Bt/sitiESS Atb Themes of GEjfeR^l Ij/tzr^t ._,
PRICE, PER YEAR IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS.
Published every Saturday.
ConununloatlonB should he addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street.
J. 1, LINDSEY. Business Manager.
Brooklyn Office, 276-282 Washington Street,
Opp. Post Office,
"Entered al the Post-office at New Torle, JV. T., as second-class mailer."
MARCH 16, 1895.
For addilional Brooklyn matter, see Brooklyn Department immediatelv
foUoiBing New Jersey records (page 437).
i^ONFIDENCE in improving commercial conditions has
v^ received a stininlns in the rise in prices, moderate though
ithasljoeuin most of the great markets. Perhaps the most
important is the advance in wheat, because that means a relief
to a part of tbe coinmnnity that has been most sorely tried, the
agrienltnral. Given a continuance of this advance the railroads
would soon feel the benefits from the increased pui'chasiug
powers of the farming'class and business iu many other direc¬
tions be thereby increased; consequently the rise in tbe Granger
stocks is a perfectly logical accompaniment of the rise iu the
prices of grain. The announcement of the failure ou the Stock
Exchangeof an operator on thebear side this week also brought
out the fact that receut selling has come uot so much from invest¬
ors au d strong people as from weak speculators who wereuuable to
withstand a moderate movement in their disfavor, aud the fact
that the market has at last become .active on rising quotations, a
tiling not seen for a good while now, will teach caution to opera¬
tors for a fall. It is uo longer the case that auy one cau make
money by simply selling tbe market, aud that is a very consider¬
able point gained in the way to better things. The reduction of
the St. Paul aud New York Central dividends coming at a time
of altered sentiment are not likely to chauge tlie general tone.
Had they come thirty daj-s ago their influence on the stocks
directly aft'ected, aud ou other things symp.athetically, would
have beeu very .serious, but with the new tendency to take a
raore cheerful view of the situation, there is no
reason to believe that liolders will throw over their
stocks, especially as the action of the directors in
both these cases has the approval of the conservative elements
in the busiuess world. People who tliink New York Central
should decline, uow that it is on a 4 per cent basis, temporarily
at least, will do well to look tip the record ot tbe stock during
the period from 18,S,o to ] 886 wheu it paid 4 per ceut as now
aud they v,-ill there (ind little .support for their ^ opiuiou.
Another good feature in tbe situation is the .ipparcnt intention
of the managers of the coal roads to get dowu to a sensible aud
businesslike discussion of the position of the properties in their
charge with a view to puttiug tbe trade on which their well-
being depends ou a better ba.sis thau it now is. The, improved
prospects for the reorganization of Atchison must not be left
out of a count of tbe good feattu-es of the .situation. The value
of all these things ia that they only come about because good
.indges believe it is time to prepare for a return of confidence
and business activity.
TF anything were still wauted to dispel tiic hopes raised in tbo
minds of himetallists on this side of tiie Atiautic by recent
proceedings iu the House of Commons it could be found in tbe
more extended repoits of Sir WiUiam Harcotirt's remarks which
the mail has brought to hand. He said, among other things, it
would be almost impossible to fix relative ratios between gold
and silver owing to the conflicting interests of tho countries
concerned; the objection to political alliances applied with teu
times greater force to currency alliaucos; if Fr.auce, Germauy
and the United States chose to combiue Eutcland wonld offer no
objection, but must be allowed to judge for itself what system
of currency it would adopt, and that bis conviction was tbat
no responsible government would come forward .and propose a
change lu the ba.ds of the currency under which England had,
ever since ISIG, reached a point of commercial and finaucial
prosperity which uo other nation iu tho world had ever reached.
Ihe French agriculturists who secured the issue of a decree
prohibiting the importation of American cattle iuto France were
alarmed at the rate at which the trade of importing cattle from
1 a Vnr^^- ^'^^"^^ ^"^ gvown, uamely, from 201 head iu 1893 to
ia,40G in 1S94. Several sugar mauufacturers iu Moravia,
have stopped payment, and it looks as if there was
a crisis at hand for .the sugar trade of Austria, which
may extend to that of Germany as well, in spite of the prospects
for au increase iu the export bounty in both countries. This
fact has already had some iuilueuce iu dcin-essing prices onthe
Berliu and Vienna Bourses and may bave more. In other direc¬
tions prices hold good aud mouey continues as cheap as ever,
1.30 per cent in Loudon and 1.00 iu Paris. The only new fiaau-
cial enterprise uow on tbe carpet is the conversion of a Russian
railway loan from 4 to 31-2 percent, wbich will be eflected in
Paris atthe eud of this mouth. If there is any truth inthe news
that Japan and China have reached a basis for the settlement of
their differences, it will mean a new Chinese loan very soou and
some very large expenditures ou tbe part of both powers. A
valuable record of prices, kept iu London, shows that (here was
a drop of a little under one per cent, from January 1st to Marcli
1st, extending geuerally over a long list of typical articles; this
is a slackening iu the rate of decline and thereby affords a cmmb
of comfort to the business commuuity.
Tbe Orchard Street Disaster.
IT is possible now to sum up the chief facts attending the
fatal collapse of tho Orchard street buildings, which has
beeu the subject of a judicial investigation just terminated
before a Coroner's iury.
It appears tbat i^laus were filed iu the Buildiug Department
in November last, for four five-.story aud basement tenemeuts
of the class common ou the lower East Side. The plans showed
that the basements were arranged for stores, tbe ceilings of
whieh were to be some three or four feet below the sidewalk
level, lu plau, construction, equipment, there was uo departure
from tbe ordinary practice, and apparently there was uo reason
whatsoever why tbe plans should not have received the official
sanction which they did, as a matter of fact, receive. A few
weeks later, however, an amendment was filed to the plans and
speciflcations in the departmeut, aud with these began the sad
obliquity wbich ended so disastrously.
In order to obtain an unbroken area of the greatest possible
widthiu thebasemeut.s, the scheme of construction was varied
so that the walls of the ceutral ligbt-sbafts instead of beiu"-
carried down to a foundation ou the grouud were borue ou
irou gii'ders placed at the level of the basement ceiljng__tbe.se
girders being supported at their ends ou longitudinal walls one
story high, running through the centre of the space that would
have beeu occupied by the light-shafts bad they beeu carried
down through the basement ficoiy as originally intended. This
airangement in itself is quite permissible; but clearly it is oue
that ueeds to be adopted with proper calculation aud adequate
constructiou. Unfortunately, neither iu the plaus, as drawn by
the architects, nor iu tbe criticism they received, or failed to
receive, at the Building Department by the sub-oflicials there,
were these calculations rigidly made. EiTors, oversight or
worse were committed.
Thus the buildings in their inception were positively unstable.
But however dangerous the buildings were in design, they were
(according to the evidence giveu before the Coroner's jtuy)
made immensely more so by bad workmanship. Then, to make
matters worse, the buildings were radically and dangerously
altered in the course of erection from what the plaus called for.
It was bad enough that old bricks were used aud that work was
carried on uuder unfavorable climatic conditions which usually
make responsible masons halt, but these shortcomings were as
nothing compared witb the recklessness which prompted the un¬
authorized addition of a cellar beneath the basement and the
lifting of the basement floor to the level of the sidewalk. This
converted the buildings iuto six-story and cellar tenemeuts, aud
it is required, as our readers kuow, by the Building Law that
edifices with tbis uumber of stories shall have the halls aud stairs
inclosed with brick walls and made entirely fire-proof. It is
scarcely necessary to add that iu increasing the height of the
buildings, as specified above, without a permit, neither the
architects, builders nor owners troubled themselves about the
legal requirements concerning the balls and stairways.
Tbus we have three sets of errors : (1) Structional miscalcula¬
tion as to the capacity of tbe longitudinal walls to cany the ends
of the irou girders placed upou them with the superiueumbeufc
weight of light-shaft wall; (2) the use of poor material, with
hasty and slipshod construction ; (3) unwarranted departure on
the part of the architects, builders aud owners from the plans
filed at the Building Departmeut.
In all this, it seems, persons iu the Building Departmeut are
involved, as well as the buildiug inspector whose particular duty
it was to see that the offieially-certified plans were carried out
and the architects aud owuers for proceeding to alter thoir
buildiug without due aud proper warrant.
It is uot our intention here to fix or apportion blame. Clearly
in this case there was a diffused wrong-doiog aud carelessness
whieh should be placed upou the shoulders of those entitled to
bear it. It is the business of the authorities to make this aonor-