Willis Lamm's Hydrant Collection

Part 3

All hydrants restored by and pictures Copyright © 2000, Willis Lamm.

Click pictures for closeups

Marysville Foundry

The Marysville Foundry was a gold rush foundry that was started in 1852. It's main business was the buiding of steam engines and casting of monitors and other fittings for hydraulic gold miners. They weren't particularly known for their hydrants, only producing them to order for a couple of western communities.

The City of Marysville was the third largest City in early Califoria and had the second oldest fire department. The city contracted for the Marysville Foundry to build fire hydrants that could be attached to the city's redwood water main system. The Fire Chief, observing the technologies used by the hydraulic miners, specified that the new hydrants be equipped with 4 inch outlets to which the city's steam fire engine could directly connect with its drafting hose. Since there were no existing specifications for steamer ports, the foundry designed its own thread pitch that became known as "Marysville thread."

This circa 1866 hydrant was one of the first produced in Marysville. It has a yoke type packing for the operating nut. The flood valve seats at the bottom of the hydrant head. The riser tapers from 6" to 4" at the bury,

This model is believed to be the oldest steamer port hydrant in the western US.

The early redwood mains didn't produce much water so there was no need for the valves to open very far. This view shows the extent of the rise in the valve, barely halfway up the nozzle!

Later productions such as this 1870s model used a nut type stem packing that was more stable and the internal stem guide and valve carrier were more refined, allowing the hydrant to fully open.

The hydrants still came with "Marysville thread" on the 4" steamer port and iron pipe taper on the hose port. Adapters were later used on the hose outlets converting them to national hose thread.

A court order banned hydraulic mining in 1884 and the foundry moved to San Francisco. The City of Marysville had Rensselaer Valve of Troy, New York, build hydrants to the its specifications which produced a hydrant that was a bit different from Rensselaer's normal configuration. Hydrant #0589 is an example of this "special order." Later the nearby cities of Sacramento and Yuba City also purchased hydrants from Rensselaer so Marysville eventually ordered Rensselaer hydrants of conventional configuration, still equipped of course with 4" Marysville thread steamer ports.

For the full story on Marysville's hydrants, click HERE!

Rennselaer Valve Co.

This Rensselaer List-90 from Berkeley, CA has a very old casting and does not show the 1895 patent date. The lack of the patent mark and location where it was installed suggests that it is an 1893 or 1894 model.

Rensselaers were very popular in California through the 1950s, even in more temperate areas where freezing was not a problem.

For jurisdictions that wanted independent control of each outlet, the multi-valve hydrant was developed. The main valve stem flooded the hydrant and independent gate valves sat behind each outlet.

This hydrant from Berkeley was installed in 1926 and was in service until 2000. The outlet gate valves were cast so precisely that even today they can be opened without need of a spanner.

Click Here For a top view.

More Rennselaer Hydrants

1896 "Marysville" L-90

View of adapter to national hose added in the 1990s (click HERE.)
1934 List 90
1930's List 90
1943 List 90A

Other "Willis" Collection Pages

"California" Hydrants

More "California" Hydrants

"Mushroom Heads"

Major Wet Barrel Makers

Smaller Wet Barrel Makers

Modern Wet Barrels

The Frenchman & the Shipwreck

Back to Hydrant Collectors Page

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