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155 West Broadway ( formerly J. C. French & Sons now New York City Supreme Court)


Jardine, Hill and Murdoch.


155 West Broadway  




Renaissance Revival








J. C. French & Sons business card {1231}


The Manufacturer and Builder. January, 1891

French's Improved Vault and Sidewalk Lights.

    The convenience and utility of vault, sidewalk, floor and roof lights, especially in connection with large business establishments where proper provision for light is of the first importance, have caused the very general introduction of devices to accomplish this object. J. C. French sidewalk door {1232}
    One of the most convenient forms of light for many situations that has thus far been called to our notice, is that illustrated by the accompanying cuts, and which is a patented improvement manufactured by J. C. French & Sons, of 155 West Broadway, New York. The improvement in question relates to vault or sidewalk lights, and consists in an ingenious and secure method of opening and closing the wings of such light when they are to be used as trap-doors for ventilation. J. C. French sidewalk door mechanism {1233}
    The perspective view (Fig. 1) shows the appearance of the doors when opened to their full extent; and Fig. 2 exhibits the mechanism by which the operation of the doors is effected.
    For this purpose, each wing B of the door is provided with a curved arm C. This arm has teeth on one side, forming a rack, which engages with the worm D, securely attached (in the position shown) to the frame of the door. The racks are made of 1½×½-inch wrought iron, and the arms are of cast iron, mounted on a wrought-iron axle. To raise or lower, it is necessary to rotate the worm by using the key F, the extremity of which is provided with the hooks g g, which fit over lugs f f, on the lower and of the worm axle. The key is also of wrought iron.
    It is apparent from this combination, that the doors will be immovably fastened in any position in which they may be left, and that they can neither be opened nor closed without the use of the key, so that they are, therefore, not exposed to the danger of falling or breaking; furthermore, that they may be opened to any extent that may be required for ventilation, and remain as fast in one position as another; and, finally, that they cannot be opened without the key, thus guarding them against the tampering of unauthorized persons. The chain limits the extent of movement of the doors, and at the same time serves as a guard. These doors have such obvious merits that they have come into very general use.

Improved Vault and Sidewalk Lights.

    We exhibit in Figs. 1 and 2 herewith printed, an ingenious novelty in the form of a vault light, with ventilating cover, manufactured by J. C. French & Son, 155 West Broadway, New York. Fig. 1 represents a top view of this cover, and Fig. 2 a vertical section through the center, showing it laid on the walk.  

French's ventilating cover (section) {1234}

Fig. 1
French's ventilating cover (top view) {1235}
The collar which forms the top section of the vault space, upon which the cover rests, is cut away at intervals all about its upper edge, and a series of angle pieces joined to the under side of the cover, and connected with the collar, holds the cover firmly in place. The edge of the cover, projecting beyond these angle pieces, does not come down flush with the sidewalk, but leaves a slight vacant space there all around its circumference, so that there can be at all times a free passage of air from the vault to the sidewalk.
There is thus insured constant ventilation, while the construction of the cover is such as to prevent the access of dirt and water. Furthermore, the cover is not raised sufficiently about the walk to become an obstacle to travel. The invention seems well adapted for its intended service.
    In Fig.3 is shown a view of an improved form of concrete light, which is novel and useful. It is claimed by the manufacturers to be the only form of concrete light that can be relied on to be durable in service, owing to difference in the rate of expansion of glass and other materials, which, if a rigid joint is employed between them, will be sure sooner or later to crack the glass by expansion and contraction from differences in temperature. In this form of tile, an elastic joint is employed, which is claimed very effectually to guard against this cause of trouble. There are twenty-nine glasses to the square foot in this tile, and they are set in taper metallic rings larger than the glass, the space between being fill with an elastic cement. They are then placed in the casting and concreted. The concrete covers both ring and joint, so that they are not visible. Extensive and prolonged use of tiles provided with lights thus cemented, have demonstrated their ability to stand the severest test of changes of temperature--frost and heat-- remarkably well.
French's improved concrete vault light {1236}
Fig. 3