Monday, March 06, 2017
September 25, 1877, The Daily Chicago Tribune, page 5, Scorched and Soaked; The National Capital a Scene of Great Excitement Yesterday, A Fire Discovered In the Roof of the Patent-Office Building
September 25, 1877, The Daily Chicago Tribune, page 5, Scorched and Soaked; The National Capital a Scene of Great Excitement Yesterday, A Fire Discovered In the Roof of the Patent-Office Building; It Increases In Magnitude Until the Top Story Is Enveloped; Making Serious Havoc Among the Models deposited There; Several Thousand Of Which Are Licked Up By the Flames; The Other Floors of the Edifice Badly Drenched By Water; Land-Office Documents Suffer Simeon From the Latter Element; In Washington, The Patent-Office Burned,
....and before those who lived within a square or two could reach the place the tongues of fire were breaking the glass in the windows of the two upper stories, and the flames were bursting from the roof.
The roof of the west wing fell in before the Fire Department was fairly at work. The windows were long gone before, and inside of this fiery furnace could be seen the models, cases of records, and tons of paper struggling with the flames.
Before these precautions were taken it is said that there were a few people mean enough to steal some valuable papers.
The act of that year appropriated $108,000 to begin the building, which, in the language of the act, was to be fire-proof
The long recess has enabled the Department to get its routine work well in hand, and the absence of Congress for three weeks to come will make it possible to recover from most of the derangement of the fire before the rush arr ending the assembling of Congress begins.
In addition to the models mentioned as destroyed, the following classes of models are lost: All agriculture implements, metal-working and wood-working; all models in every department of mechanics; all engines and mills; all carriages and wagons; all hydro license and pneumatic, and many other minority classes. Among them was The Original COTTON COTTON-GIN INVENTION, which has made the cordon product of the South valuable as an industry. The models of sewing machines and lamps were much damaged by water, and the very valuable model of the original Howe sewing-machine was saved just as it was being carried off by some parties who entered to steal it as a relic.