Category Archives: Cast Iron

Granby’s Wallace Fountain

Location: Granby, Quebec, Canada

The fountain located in Isabelle Park on the corner of Rue Dufferin and Boulevard Leclerc was brought to Granby from Paris by Pierre-Horace Boivin, Mayor of the city from 1939-1964. During his international travels to promote Granby, the fountain was donated it to the city of Granby by Pierre de Gaulle, Mayor of Paris. It was installed in 1956.

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The base of the forest green fountain is a Greek cross plinth with canted corners from which the pedestal arises. An elaborate console decorated with a scallop shell from which a string of pearls flows separates four panels on which the image of a water serpent is coiled around a trident. The trident is associated with the mythological Poseidon who struck the earth and water sprung up. A scallop is symbolic of baptism and fertility, and pearls represent purity and wisdom.

The cornice contains the name of the manufacturer, Val D’Osne, and a dedication plaque; Donated By The City Of Paris To The City Of Granby / 1956 /The First Fifty Fountains Of This Type Were Generously Given To The City Of Paris In 1872 / By The British Philanthropist Sir Richard Wallace 1818 – 1890 / To Be Placed In The Streets Of The French Capital.

Four caratytids each subtly different in posture and dress, stand with raised arms to support a fish scale dome with fleur-de-lys cornice. The four dolphins with entwined tails at the apex is a symbolic protector of all things related to water.

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The statues in feminine form represent kindness, simplicity, charity and sobriety (at a time when the Temperance Movement was very active). They also represent the 4 seasons: Simplicity symbolizes spring, Charity: summer, Sobriety: autumn and Kindness: winter. The statues differ from each other in several other ways: Simplicity and Sobriety have their eyes closed; whereas the eyes of Kindness and Charity are open. They are also different in the position of the knee and feet, or by the manner in which their tunic is knotted at the bodice.

A stream of water descended from the interior of the dome into a basin. Tin cups were originally chained to the fountains until public hygiene became a prevalent social issue.

Glossary

  • Caryatid, a sculpted female figure serving as an architectural support taking the place of a column or a pillar supporting an entablature on her head
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Cornice, a molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
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Hickman Park Drinking Fountain

Location: Bilston, West Midlands, England

Sir Alfred Hickman owned local ironworks, collieries and a steel company. He also held positions in Wolverhampton Chamber of Commerce, the Mining Association of Great Britain, the British Iron Trade Association, the Board of Trade and was a Member of Parliament.

He promoted the creating of open spaces in Wolverhampton to aid the welfare of local people and following his death in 1910, he bequeathed the twelve acre Hickman Park to the people of Bilston. His wife, Lady Hickman who officially opened the park on 17 July 1911 donated a bandstand. A cast-iron drinking fountain to commemorate the Coronation of King George V was erected by public subscription.

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Circa 1910. Creative Commons License, Black Country History. Copyright http://blackcountryhistory.org/

The canopied drinking fountain was design number 20, an elaborate 18 feet by 4 feet fountain, sold by Walter Macfarlane & Co, and manufactured at the Saracen Foundry, Possilpark, Glasgow, Scotland. Seated on a three tiered octagonal plinth, the open filigree canopy was supported by eight columns with griffin terminals which were positioned over capitals with foliage frieze above square bases.

The highly decorated drip cusped arches were trimmed with rope mouldings. Cartouches contained within each lunette displayed alternate images of cranes and swans and offered shields for memorial. On each side arch faceplates provided a flat surface for an inscription using raised metal letters; often the useful monition, Keep the pavement dry. Civic virtues such as temperance were often extolled in inscriptions on drinking fountains.

Doves and flowers offered decorative relief on the circular, ribbed dome. The internal capitals contained flowers and statues of owls on enlarged column heads. The structure was surmounted with an eagle finial (#38, 2ft 10ins).

Under the canopy stood the font (design number 18.) A circular shaft, ornamented with water lilies, rested on a wide base with canted corners. Four lion jambs supported four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. Rising from the centre was a pyramid shaped stanchion decorated with swan and bird decoration. A kylix-shaped lamp terminal with four consoles offered drinking cups suspended by chains.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions; lions are symbolic of guardianship; doves are synonymous with peace, and owls are symbolic of guardians of the afterlife.

Glossary

  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Cartouche, a structure or figure, often in the shape of an oval shield or oblong scroll, used as an architectural or graphic ornament or to bear a design or inscription
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Cusped Arch, the point of intersection of lobed or scalloped forms
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Griffin, winged lion denotes vigilance and strength, guards treasure and priceless possessions
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Kylix, a Grecian style drinking cup
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Quatrefoil, a type of decorative framework consisting of a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially-overlapping circles of the same diameter
  • Stanchion, upright bar or post providing support
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

 


Town House Fountain

Location: Aberdeen, Scotland

In an area of Aberdeen known as Old Machar there is a building on the cobbled High Street which was originally the Town House (Town Hall) in the 19th century. A weekly market and a bi-annual fair were held in this location and likely the reason for the erection of a drinking fountain/trough with a single lamp.

The fountain no longer exists and a mercat cross stands in its stead.

The cast iron drinking fountain was design number 174 manufactured by the Sun Foundry in Glasgow. It consisted of a central pedestal flanked by two horse troughs with a lamp centerpiece.

The pedestal with chamfered edge hosted four panels. On three sides a compass cross contained a lion mascaron with self-closing tap from which water spouted into small basins. Drinking water was captured in metal cups suspended on chains. Overflow water which drained into troughs for horses also fed small troughs at ground level for dogs.

A frieze of acanthus leaves was situated beneath the capital upon which there was a lamp standard seated on four decorative consoles. A bulbous base with bas-relief extended into a fluted column with bands. An acroter supported a single glass lantern.

Glossary:

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Acroter, flat base
  • 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
  • Chamfer, a beveled edge
  • Compass cross, a cross of equal vertical and horizontal lengths, concentric with and overlaying a circle.
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • 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

Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Fountain

Location: Auchencairn, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland

A drinking fountain, lamp & trough located in the Square has been a fixture since the late 19th century. It was funded with public subscriptions and erected in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The fountain which was only one of a few water sources in the very early 1900s also offered water to horses.

The project to restore the fountain was undertaken in 2009 by Roy Wilson who was an active member of the Auchencairn Initiative (a community fundraising organization). The structure was cleaned, repaired and repainted by Ray Innes of Innes Design Centre, a local British Industrial Design Engineer.

The structure was manufactured by Coalbrookdale Company of Shropshire, England and was originally seated on an octagonal stone plinth. A thick circular pedestal supported a large round trough from which overflow water fed a shallow trough at ground level for the use of smaller animals. During the late 20th century (post 1996) the plinth was extended using cobblestones creating a circular shape, and the short pedestal and shallow drain forming a trough for dogs was removed.

Beneath the capital of a short column rising from the centre of the trough are two decorative consoles from which drinking cups were originally suspended on chains. The decorative fluted lamp pillar with yoke maintenance arms was surmounted with a gas globe (Bray’s Flat Flame Lantern System.)

The manufacturer’s name is located on the trough basin, and on the fluted pedestal is a decorative shield inscribed with a dedication; Jubilee Lamp / Erected By / Public / Subscription / 1897.

Glossary:

  • Bray’s Flat Flame Lantern System, a cluster of wide flat burners within a glass lantern in which the upper portion was white opaque glass to reflect the light downward
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
  • Yoke maintenance arms, the bars near the top of a street light which supported the lamplighter’s ladder

Tait Drinking Fountain

Location: Limerick, Eire

In 1866, Sir Peter Tait, founder and owner of the Tait Clothing Factory on Lord Edward Street (later renamed the Limerick Clothing Factory), erected an elaborate cast iron drinking fountain inside the factory as a source of drinking water for his employees. Tait was a benevolent citizen and Mayor for three terms, 1866-1868.

The subsequent history of the fountain is unknown, but at some point it was removed, retained as an historical artifact and erected in the Terence Albert O’Brien Park which opened in the 1940’s. O’Brien was the Bishop of Emly who was executed in 1651 after the city fell to Cromwell’s army. The public park is also known as Clare Street Park.

Drinking fountain number 8 from Walter Macfarlane & Co.’s catalogue was manufactured at the Saracen Foundry at Possilpark in Glasgow. The structure is 9 feet 6 inches high and consists of four columns, from the capitals of which consoles with griffin terminals unite with arches formed of decorated mouldings. It is seated on a two tiered square plinth.

The standard design of the rope moulded cartouches within each lunette contained the image of a crane, and an open bible displaying a verse from St. John’s Gospel chapter 4 verse 14, ‘Whosoever Drinketh Of This Water Shall Thirst Again But Whosoever Drinketh Of The Water That I Shall Give Him Shall Never Thirst.

An optional memorial shield contains the heraldic emblem of the Tait family crest; a gauntlet with embowed arm in riveted plate armour and a bare hand grasping stems of red roses and leaves. Above the lunette is the Tait crest motto, Gratiam dat Deus (God Give Grace).

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On two of the sides provision was made for receiving an inscription using raised metal letters; whilst on the other two sides was the useful monition, Keep The Pavement Dry. Civic virtues such as temperance were often extolled in inscriptions on drinking fountains. The structure is surmounted by an open filigree dome, the finial being a crown with a pattée cross.

Under the canopy the original font was design number 7 and stood 5 foot 8 inches high. The terminal which is now missing was a crane. The basin (2 feet 6 inches in diameter) which has a scalloped edge and decorative relief is supported by a single decorative pedestal with four pilasters and four descending salamanders, a symbol of courage and bravery. A central urn with four consoles offered drinking cups suspended by chains. The fountain was operated by pressing a button.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions, salamanders display bravery and courage that cannot be extinguished by fire, and cranes are recognized as a symbol of vigilance.

Glossary

  • Capital: The top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Cartouche, a structure or figure, often in the shape of an oval shield or oblong scroll, used as an architectural or graphic ornament or to bear a design or inscription
  • Console: a decorative bracket support element
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Griffin, winged lion denotes vigilance and strength, guards treasure and priceless possessions
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Pattée cross, a cross with arms that narrow at the centre and flare out at the perimeter
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Pilaster, a column form that is only ornamental and not supporting a structure
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Relief, a sculptural technique to give the impression that the sculpted material has been raised above the background
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

Edward VII Coronation Fountain

Location: Fintry, Stirlingshire, Scotland

In the early 20th century a drinking fountain was erected at the junction of Main Street and Kippen Road (known as the Cross) to commemorate the coronation of Edward VII in 1902. The benefactor was Walter Menzies of Culcreuch who also funded the Menzies Village Hall and Stewart’s School.

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In 1986/7 the fountain was struck by a vehicle causing severe damage which initiated its removal to a residential garden while its future was decided. The offer to restore the fountain at a nominal cost by Broomside Foundry in Bonnybridge was eagerly accepted.

The fountain now located on a small traffic island is a customized design by Walter Macfarlane’s Saracen Foundry in Glasgow. It is seated on an octagonal plinth. The fountain is constructed with font number 18, a wide base in the form of a Greek cross with canted corners, on which is set a circular shaft ornamented with water lilies. Four lion jambs support four elaborately decorated quatrefoil basins. Symbolism was popular in Victorian times and lions are symbolic of guardianship.

An obelisk decorated with acanthus and floral relief rises from the center of the basins with four panels containing a swan engraving, and a shield identifying that the fountain was erected by Walter Menzies to celebrate the coronation of King Edward VII.

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The capital hosts four consoles which offered drinking cups suspended by chains. A short pillar is terminated with decorative yoke maintenance arms beneath a lantern originally lit by gas.

Glossary

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Greek cross, a cross with arms of equal length
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Obelisk, a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Quatrefoil, a type of decorative framework consisting of a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially-overlapping circles of the same diameter
  • Relief, a sculptural technique to give the impression that the sculpted material has been raised above the background
  • Yoke maintenance arms, the bars near the top of a street light which supported the lamplighter’s ladder

 


Newbridge Park Drinking Fountain

Location: Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England

A drinking fountain erected in Newbridge Park in 1927 was donated by Wolverhampton Solicitor Robert Rhodes. It was demolished during the Second World War when a dead tree fell on it.

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Robert Rhodes is fourth from the left in the picture. Source: http://lostwolverhampton.co.uk/when-spring-water-was-on-tap/

The canopied drinking fountain was design number 21 (18 feet by 4 feet) from Walter Macfarlane &Co.’s catalog manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland. Seated on an octagonal plinth, the canopy was supported by eight columns with griffin terminals which were positioned over capitals with foliage frieze above square bases.

The highly decorated cusped arches were trimmed with rope mouldings which displayed lunettes with alternate images of cranes and swans, or optional memorial shields. On each side arch faceplates provided a flat surface for inscription using raised metal letters; often the useful monition, Keep The Pavement Dry. Civic virtues such as temperance were often extolled in inscriptions on drinking fountains.

Doves and flowers offered decorative relief on the circular, open filigree, ribbed dome. The internal capitals were floral ornament, and statues of owls on enlarged column heads. The openwork iron canopy was surmounted with a vase and spiked obelisk finial.

Under the canopy stood font casting number 7. The 5ft. 8ins. high font is a single decorative pedestal with four pilasters and descending salamander relief supporting a basin 2ft. 6ins. in diameter. The interior surface of the scalloped edge basin was engraved with decorative relief, and a sculptured vase was terminated by the figure of a crane. Four elaborate consoles supported drinking cups on chains. Water flowed from a spout into the drinking cup by pressing its edge against a projecting stud below the spout. The self-closing valve allowed for operation with only one hand.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions; doves are synonymous with peace, and owls are symbolic of guardians of the afterlife. Cranes are recognized as a symbol of vigilance and are often depicted standing on one leg while holding a stone in the claws of the other foot. Legend states that if the watchful crane fell asleep the stone would fall and waken the bird.

Glossary

  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Cartouche, a structure or figure, often in the shape of an oval shield or oblong scroll, used as an architectural or graphic ornament or to bear a design or inscription.
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Cusped Arch, the point of intersection of lobed or scalloped forms
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fret, running or repeated ornament
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Griffin, winged lion denotes vigilance and strength, guards treasure and priceless possessions
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Obelisk, a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Pilaster, a column form that is only ornamental and not supporting a structure
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal