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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Caird Drinking Fountain

Location: Dundee, Scotland

In 1861 Edward Caird proposed that the city erect a fountain in the High Street to allow the public access to clean drinking water. This was motivated by deadly outbreaks of cholera which killed thousands in the early 19th century. Although Caird, the father of Sir James Key Caird (jute mill owner) after whom the Caird Hall is named, offered to pay for it the request was refused citing that it would create a traffic obstacle.

Following repeated requests and refusals the foundation for a drinking fountain finally began on 27 May 1879 (18 years after it was first suggested). It was erected on the north side of the High Street on 25th June 1879. Although popular with the general public, a contentious debate continued over the years within the governing authorities. The original objection to the fountain in 1861 finally became true when traffic in the city increased and the area around the fountain which was a stopping place for trams became congested.

Maintenance of the fountain was not upheld and it began to deteriorate in 1901 resulting in the collapse of the statue in 1926. The structure was dismantled in February 1927 during with the intention of relocating it to Caird Park; however, it was stored in Ashton Works for more than a decade where it continued to deteriorate. It was resurrected in the 1980s as a feature adjacent to the dualled western half of the Kingsway City Bypass near Caird Park. The plinth and granite base survived the decades although the cast iron columns and top ring had badly deteriorated. A new domed canopy was installed upon the original structure.

Photography from 2006 shows the cast iron structure was leaning and by 2008 it had been removed. However, the plinth and marble base remains standing at the corner of Mains Loan and the A90. Many thanks to John P. Bolton for this information and attached photo.

Status 2006. Used with permission, John P. Bolton

Manufactured by Andrew Handyside and Co. of Derby, England design number 48 was seated on a granite plinth with the engraved legend: Caird Fountain Erected 1879. The cylindrical structure with attic base was comprised of six fluted Corinthian columns with decorative volutes which support a cupola with Neptune mascaron frieze and a cornice with leaf detail.

A solid dome was surmounted by a sculptured basin and a putto carrying an urn on his shoulder. The font was a capped urn with lion mascarons spouting water.

Identical design restored in London

Several examples of this fountain design have been blogged in previous posts. Use the search button with the tags, Handyside 48, to view them.

Glossary

  • Attic base, A column base with two rings
  • Column Corinthian, a fluted shaft with flowers and leaves at the capital.
  • Cornice, a molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
  • Cupola, A small, domed structure on top of a roof
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • Frieze, The horizontal part of a classical entablature 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
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
  • Putto, A figure in a work of art depicted as a chubby male child, usually nude
  • Volute, a spiral scroll-like ornament found in the capital of a column


Old Elvet Drinking Fountain and Trough

Location: Old Elvet, Durham, England

In the 19th century a cast iron drinking fountain/horse trough was located outside the Royal County Hotel in Old Elvet.

With regards to the history of this structure, I have been able to discover very little. A volume of the Builder Magazine for 1863 reported that a drinking fountain was situated at the foot of Elvet Bridge. Durham Record Office identifies it as being erected in 1864, and there are numerous links (mostly Pinterest) that state it was presented by Coroner of the Chester Ward, John Graham, and his wife in 1896.

Circa 1911

Design #27 was manufactured by Walter Macfarlane & Co. in the Saracen Foundry, Glasgow. The design 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 lamp.

Circa 1914

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

Woodhouse Moor Drinking Fountain

Location: Leeds, West Yorkshire, England

I have researched hundreds of cast iron drinking fountains, and on occasion the research takes months, or is put on the back burner because there is no digital information available (most of my research is done online). This particular fountain has been pulled out of my ‘stumped’ folder – perhaps someone reading can contribute information.

This drinking fountain was located in Woodhouse Moor in front of the rockery. The sculpture of a lion and serpent overlooked the structure.

The fountain is design number 13 by George Smith & Co. manufactured by the Sun Foundry. The base in the form of a compass cross with canted corners contained a small basin for the use of dogs. It had a central pedestal and four columns decorated with diamond frieze and nail head molding which supported the font. The large basin had nail head relief on the rim and was partitioned by four foliate brackets from which cups were suspended on chains. Shell motif spouts on each side released water flow. The structure was surmounted with a chained orb terminal.

Glossary:

  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Compass cross, a cross of equal vertical and horizontal lengths, concentric with and overlaying a circle.
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Foliate, decorated with leaves or leaf like motif
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.

Dundas Lost Fountain

Location: Dundas, Ontario

Near the corner of King Street West and Sydenham Street, there once stood a cast iron work of art terminating with a gas lamp. This fountain supplied drinking water to humans and animals. Horses drank from a trough attached to the east and west sides and dogs drank from basins at ground level.

Fountain visible on the right

The design consisted of a square pedestal base as a foundation to the structure. The capital supported a circular pillar with attic base and four lion head mascarons. On the north and south sides a panel was decorated with bas-relief above which was a demi-lune basin into which the mascarons spouted water. Drinking cups suspended on chains allowed humans to drink from the flowing water. A sculpture of cranes standing amidst water reeds was positioned beneath the lamp post which hosted a circular gas lamp.

During my years of research I have discovered several examples of this design but have been unable to identify the manufacturer. However, the crane sculpture was frequently used by J. L. Mott Iron Works of New York.

The photograph is believed to show members of the Fountain Committee, from left to right: Harry Surerus (owner of Melbourne Hotel in Dundas), Thomas Mountain, and W.A. Davidson (Committee Chairman).

Glossary:

  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Bas-relief, sculpted material that has been raised from the background to create a slight projection from the surface
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal