Willis Lamm's Hydrant Collection

Part 4

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


After World War I, using technology learned from wartime manufacturing, hydrant manufacturers learned how to bore and thread hydrant bodies and actually screw the nozzles and stem guides onto the hydrants. No longer was it necessary to open the tops of the hydrants to service valves and replace ballata valve seals (and accidentally drop tools and hydrant parts down the riser!) The nozzle could be taken off using a "slug wrench" and the valve slid out the nozzle opening for repair or servicing. As a result of this improvement, removable "flange head" bonnets were no longer necessary. Many of the early manufacturers still retained some of the traditional look of the flange head hydrants in order to dress off the appearance of the hydrant, and in doing so created what we often refer to in California as the "mushroom heads."

Click pictures for closeups

It appears that Shand and Jurs originated the "mushroom head" shape. They produced at least 5 models of mushroom head hydrants from the 1920s into the 40s.

Model 100

This version was S&J's shortest hydrant (19" tall). It has a conventional "under the nozzle" chain attachment versus the wing gussets which appeared in the mid 1930s.

We believe this hydrant to date back to 1929.

Model 100

This hydrant came from a residential neighborhood in Oakland where it was installed around 1934 and remained in service until 2000.

The nozzle collar reduces the hydrant from its original 3" size to the current 2" standard.