Thank you for visiting my blog.  As of 2019 the database is approaching 400 posts identifying cast iron drinking fountains located around the world. To search for a specific item use the Search Box by entering a relevant detail e.g. city, memorial name, etc. The blog can also be searched using the Category Box which offers a search by country, foundry, historic registers, etc.

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Lancaster Quay Drinking Fountain

Location: Cork City, Ireland

The city’s first reliable water supply was established in 1858 and by 1860 there were 100 fountains and fonts around the city. In an effort to persuade people to reject alcohol, Father Theobold Mathew, a Temperance advocate and founder of the Total Abstinence Society, was instrumental in the installation of drinking fountains to provide a reliable supply of water. Seven of these drinking fonts and four cattle troughs still exist although none are operational.

A drinking fountain which once refreshed people on the south-side of Washington Street was removed to its current location on Lancaster Quay. Estimated to date from 1850, it was recorded on the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage on 13 July 1995.

Set into the wall, the neglected cast iron fountain has deteriorated leaving little evidence of its original design. At the top is a recessed arch, which likely contained a decorative mascaron or spout. An ogee cornice sits above a panel with bas relief of a dolphin mascaron flanked by water lilies. The manufacturer is unknown.

Glossary:

  • Bas-relief, sculpted material that has been raised from the background to create a slight projection from the surface
  • Cornice, a molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
  • Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
  • Ogee, curve with a concave


Manaus Drinking Fountain

Location: Manaus, Brazil

Historic photographs of the city center at the intersection of Avenue Sete de Setembro and Avenue Eduardo Ribeiro show a trough/drinking fountain.

This location was also the route for tram 53 of the Manaus Railway. Image dated 1909.

A photograph dated 1906 taken from a different vantage point showing the fountain in Praça XV de Novembro (November 15 Square, this date in 1889 commemorates the proclamation of the Republic of Brazil), reveals the fountain with a lamp pillar not evident in the previous images.

The design appears to be a Macfarlane No 27 manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland. It was advertised as well suited for Street Crossings, Squares, Market Places, etc., as it afforded drinking accommodation for a large number of horses and drivers, and effectively lit a wide space, with the least possible obstruction to other traffic.

It provided a drinking trough for horses with small basins for dogs at ground level. The trough was a 6’6” diameter circular cast iron basin supported on legs in the form of horse hooves. Fetlocks transitioned into an acanthus scroll motif at the interface with the trough. The water was regulated by a small patent cistern, which was self-acting, and when the troughs were full the ball rose and shut the water off.

The central stanchion supported a central column with flared bases and pilasters. Four projecting consoles suspended cups on chains that allowed humans to drink from spouting water (the water flow was operated with two bib valves which released water when pressed). Horses drank from the large basin.

A dedication shield located directly above the consoles was adhered to the fluted shaft. The decorative capital, enriched with acanthus and rosette with a dog tooth frieze, supported a central gas lantern (#230) roofed in with scales of opal glass which allowed the lantern to cast the light downward. The terminal was a crown.

Glossary

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration. It is symbolic of a problem that has been solved.
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Dog tooth, pyramid shaped carving
  • Fluted Shaft, a long rounded groove decorating the shaft of a column
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Pilaster, a column form that is only ornamental and not supporting a structure
  • Rosette, a round stylized flower design
  • Stanchion, upright bar, post or frame providing support
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

Temperance Fountain

Location: Skaneateles, NYS

At the end of the 19th century, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union of Skaneateles donated a public drinking fountain to the village in order to supply fresh water to both horses and men. Mrs. Frances Julia Barnes, a Temperance Reformer and the General Secretary of the Young Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, dedicated the fountain in August 1895. Raising a cup she offered a toast, “To the health of our village in the best of all drinks, cold water.”

Located at the intersection of Jordan Street and Genesee Street it became an obstacle to the introduction of trolley cars and was removed in 1901.

The manufacturer of the drinking fountain/horse trough is unverified as designs by M.D. Jones of Boston, Massachusetts and J.L. Mott of New York are very similar.

Seated on a square block the base with fluted pedestal supported a wide basin decorated with foliate frieze and a fluted cornice. A decorative pillar in the centre of the basin delivered water via the mouths of lion mascarons which was retrieved using a metal cup suspended on a chain. A covered water filler protected a float valve which maintained the water level in the basin.

At the extension of the pillar a candelabra console offered two lamp fixtures with a central capped urn finial.

Glossary:

  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Cornice, a molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove decorating the shaft of a column
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue

Italian Small Model Fountains

Location: North West Italy

In northern Italy the area around Milan hosts several drinking fountains manufactured by the Val D’Osne Foundry; the city of Bergamo to the north east of Milan; Stresa, a resort town on Lake Maggiore and Novara, known for its churches and historic buildings, are both north west of Milan.

When the Franco Prussian war damaged many of the aqueducts in Paris there remained little access to clean water for many of the most needy Parisians. A wealthy English art collector and philanthropist living in France, Sir Richard Wallace, felt that the solution to the problem was the erection of public drinking fountains.

This particular design known as the Small Model is often found in parks and public gardens. The fountain is a single pedestal with a square base decorated with bulrushes. Alternating panels displayed bulrushes and the coat of arms of the city. The capital supports a decorative finial. The design at just over 4 feet high is operated with a simple push-button mechanism to dispense water.

Bergamo, Italy. Creative Commons License, Elliott Brown. Source: Upper City – Bergamo – Largo Colle Aperto – drinking fount… | Flickr
Stresa, Italy. Creative Commons License, Elliott Brown. Source: Piazza Guglielmo Marconi, Stresa – Navigazione Lago Maggio… | Flickr
Novara, Italy