Robert Frye's Hydrant Collection


The unique aspect of Robert Frye's collection is that five of his hydrants are operational and are connected to a fire main. His children love it when he connects a 1" hose and they can squirt water with it. Read Robert's text at the bottom of this page.

This is an FM/SH Mueller, made in 1956, with a 5" main valve, "Chattanooga" model hydrant

1956 Mueller "Chattanooga" model
Mueller "Chattanooga" hydrant with independent gate valves
Here is an American Darling B62B model hydrant, made in 1974 in Beaumont, Texas. It has a 5" main valve and bolt-on nozzles.
1974 American Darling
Photo of American Darling hydrant
Here is another Mueller FM/SH hydrant, made in 1971, also with a 5" main valve, made in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Mueller FM/SH
Photo of Mueller FM/SH hydrant with independent gate valves
This is the Mueller model A-411, with one 2" nozzle, manufactured in 1991 at Mueller's Albertville, Alabama plant.
Mueller model A-411
Photo of Mueller A-411 hydrant
Here is a small Kupferle Eclipse #2 hydrant,with two 1" nozzles, and a 2-3/16" main valve opening. The hydrant was made in 1996.
Kupferle Eclipse #2
Photo of Eclipse hydrant
"My 10 inch fire main has a design flow of 1500 GPM so the monitor ought to be quite impressive when it is operating...[The hydrant] has a two foot bury which is a little shallow for these parts...But you know, it will have to be placed in service..."
1976 American Darling B50B
Photo of Darling hydrant with monitor
Photos and text ©2001 Robert Frye

I have been mixed up in the construction and fire services fields most of my life. I grew up in and continue to work in the Chattanooga, TN area. The first half of my life I never knew that anybody other than Mueller made fire hydrants. Our area is almost without exception Mueller. When I was little and the water company would come by and flush the hydrants, it was the most exciting thing that I had ever seen. I didn't know it at the time, but we had a 12" main in front of the house with 200+ PSI on it. The flushing should have been impressive!

When I joined the volunteer fire department, I found that we were in such a low lying area that we had over 200 PSI on every hydrant. Each hydrant was connected to a 6" minimum main. We hardly needed the pump on the fire truck. Water supplies were never a problem, but water hammer sure was.

As for collecting hydrants, it was begun out of necessity. There was no fire protection water where we planned on building our house. After checking the prices for new units, I realized that I couldn't afford them. So, I collected all the "bargains" I could find until I had enough materials to install the fire main and hydrant. Then you start thinking "It sure would be nice to have a fire plug over there etc., etc...", and you wind up with a collection.

Our local water company seems to hang on to their old hydrants, so hydrants are hard to come by. I'm a junk yard fan, and the only hydrants that come through there are Factory Mutual units. All of my FM hydrants came from local industries that were remodeling. The little Mueller came from Clarksville, TN. The Kupferle #2 was purchased new. --- Robert Frye

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