Brookline Village Fountains

Location: Brookline, Massachusetts, USA

New Englander Henry F. Jenks, a descendant of Rhode Island Governor Joseph Jenks, was an inventor who worked in numerous foundries, eventually opening his own manufacturing facility, the Jenks Iron Works Foundry where he started manufacturing fountains in 1871.

Two examples of the same pattern which furnished water for man and beast were installed in the village of Brookline.

The fountain was located outside Rhodes Bros. Co. store in the area known as Harvard Square at the junction of Washington and Harvard Streets.

A second example of this design was located at Harvard and Beacon Streets in a kerb cut-out opposite the street car shelter. It was still in situ in 1915.

Henry F. Jenks’ 24 feet high drinking fountain for man and beast was identified as #3 in his foundry catalog. The fountain manufactured in cast iron consisted of a solid base with an annular channel for use as a dog trough.

The 4ft high fluted pedestal with attic base hosted arched panels for dedication or bas-relief enrichment. A movable panel in one side offered access to plumbing.

A horse trough, 56 inches in diameter, in the form of a basin (at 4 feet 3 inches above ground level it was a comfortable height for horses to drink with ease) had the capacity to hold a barrel of water.

The centre of the basin contained a jamb from which dolphin mascarons spouted water and drinking cups were attached. Waste water was directed to the dog trough at street level. This design prevented contagious distemper.

The fountain was provided with self closing faucets and the pipes within were constructed to resist freezing in cold temperatures. Fountains were supplied both with and without an ice box attachment as desired. An ice box was placed near the sidewalk underground, which was provided with coils of tin lined pipe on which ice was placed to cool the water flowing through the coils to the outlet of the fountain.

The highly decorated finial with floral relief and a studded band terminated in an orb. The structure was also offered with a gas lantern extension.

A patent was applied for this design in 1880 by H. F. Jenks with the following description;

The design contemplates supplying water for man and beast; and to this end, as a feature of utility, I provide a capacious basin for animals to drink from, and a trickling stream, from which, in a cup, a portion may be caught for human use. An annular channel in the base permits dogs and birds to drink from.

The characteristic feature in the appearance of this design is a cylindrical pedestal mounted upon a suitable base, and supporting a circular bowl, nearly hemispherical in configuration, from the center of which springs a vertical tapering stem, bearing near its base two or more dolphins or mythical aquatic creatures, represented with streams of water issuing from their mouths and falling into the bowl. This bowl is so formed and located upon the pedestal that when approached by a team the pole will pass beneath the bottom of the said bowl, so as to allow the horses on both sides of the pole to drink at the same time without any loss of time or necessity for unhitching or driving up one side at a time, as usual, to water.

The stem may be continued upwardly, ornamented, as shown, with leaves, flutes, etc., and may support a lamp or lantern, if desired, in any suitable form, or basket for plants.

In the base and surrounding the pedestal is an upturned flange, enclosing a depressed annular for water; but this feature, though ornamental and useful, is not essential to my design.

The stem and pedestal may be plain or ornamented with vines and panels, without materially affecting the general aspect of the design.

Having thus described my drinking-fountain, I claim the design for a drinking-fountain herein described and shown, consisting of the cylindrical pedestal a bowl, tapering stem and aquatic figures formed thereon, all having the form of a configuration substantially as herein set forth.


  • Annular; circular, ring shaped
  • 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
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fluted Shaft, a long rounded groove decorating the shaft of a column
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • 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


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