Willis Lamm's Hydrant Collection

Part 6

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

Click pictures for closeups

There were a number of smaller companies that produced "California" hydrants. They will be presented in this section as I obtain specimins to display.

Atlas Elevator Co.
San Francisco, CA

There are no longer any records that we can find but from what we can gather, Atlas Elevator Co. contracted to the military for foundry and machine work during World War II. At the end of the war Atlas contracted to build a small number of fire hydrants for the East Bay Municipal Utility District based in Oakland, CA. These hydrants were prototypes of EBMUD's new "in house" design.
All known Atlas hydrants were cast in October of 1945. They can occasionally be found in various East Bay communities that are served by EBMUD, although most are confused with Greenberg EBMUD spec models that were produced near the same time. So far we have found single 2" and double 2" models although it is conceivable that a few pumper outlet hydrants may exist.

0586b Bonnet View
Jump to Atlas page.

Builders Iron Works
Oakland, CA

Builders Iron Works made "California" hydrants patterened after Morris Greenberg's design around the turn of the century. We have found three models still in service,including their "horse" hydrants and their "street washer" model.

This hydrant has a plug in the bonnet where a "street washer" was originally attached. Being installed in a neighborhood where houses didn't have plumbing, the street washer was a valve where folks could fill buckets for household use and for their livestock.

Bonnet View
Builders Iron Works' most popular hydrant among hydrant enthusiasts was their "horse hydrant." Equipped with iron balls on their bonnets, steamer drivers could unhitch his fire horses and locate a hydrant a safe distance from the fire to tie them to.

This hydrant saw service from 1880 until 1996.


At the turn of the century as fire departments turned to mechanized fire apparatus, horse ball hydrants became symbolic of obsolescence. The Oakland Fire Chief, for example, sent his crews out to ceremoneously cut the balls off of all of Oakland's hydrants to show the world that they were fully mechanizied.
For those communities that now wanted "ball-less" hydrants some of the makers such as Builders Iron Works filled the ball cavities of their molds with sand and produced what we call "bump heads."

This hydrant saw service from about 1912 until 2000.


Jump to Builders Iron Works page.

R. S. Chapman Co.
San Francisco, CA

I don't know anything at this point about R. S. Chapman other than the information found on the hydrants and the fact that at least two have been found in the East Bay.
The Chapmans are similar to the 1880s Greenberg's except that the bonnets are definitely domes and the barrel has a diameter of 5-7/8" while the typical hydrants of that vintage had 6 1/2" ID barrels.

(Bonnet View)

Here is an example of the Chapman double 2" configuration. The caps aren't original as the hydrant was modified to 3" in the early 1900s, then returned to original configuration when restored.

This hydrant saw service in Oakland from around 1890 until 2000.

Jump to R. S. Chapman page.

Shand & Jurs
Berkeley, CA

Shand & Jurs produced unique hydrants in their Berkeley Foundry in the late 20s through the early 40s. They were among the first to produce cast iron that could be threaded so that nozzles and stem guides could be screwed on rather than seated in lead.

Their distinctive "mushroom head" design can still be seen in many locales in California.

To see more Shand and Jurs hydrants, click HERE!

This is Shand and Jurs' mainstay pumper hydrant, model 102.

It has been a very durable and maintenance free design. Some agencies are rebuilding old Shand and Jurs hydrants to return them to service.


More hydrants are being restored

Other "Willis" Collection Pages

"California" Hydrants

More "California" Hydrants

"Mushroom Heads"

Dry Barrel Hydrants

Major Wet Barrel Makers

Modern Wet Barrels

The Frenchman & the Shipwreck

Back to Hydrant Collectors Page

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