Bourbon Copper & Brass Co. - Cincinnati, OH
The Bourbon Copper and Brass Works Co was established in 1830. The company produced fire hydrants and other water works products into the mid 1900's. As can be seen below, Bourbon produced a number of interesting nozzle configurations and fire hydrant styles. They were not a major nationwide player in the hydrant manufacturing business but they enjoyed strong regional sales in the Ohio area; with known sales into Mississippi, Missouri, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

All photos 2000-01, Ed Masminster and a part of his collection unless otherwise credited.  

Bourbon hydrants have the following characteristics:
  • All have a fluted bonnet (with one known exception) attached to the barrel by 4 bolts. Cast onto the rim of the bonnet between the bolts is "BOURBON COPPER & BRASS WKS. CIN. O.". On a few models patent dates of NOV 9 86 and JUL 5 87 can also be found; and are so noted below. Two basic styles of bonnets can be found: the earliest is a tall 1-piece design and the later design is 2-piece with a separate round "bonnet top" that is fastened to the top of the bonnet by either 2 or 4 nuts. This "bonnet top" acts as a retainer for the operating rod. The later design bonnets can be found in only 2 sizes (8" & 9" O.D) for all hydrants except for the "box" hydrants which are found in only 2 larger sizes (11" & 12" O.D.).
  • Nozzles are leaded-in unless otherwise indicated.
  • No known hydrants have any indication of model name or number; nor valve opening size cast onto the barrel or bonnet. A few have a year of manufacture date cast above the O.D. rib; and are so noted.
  • Frost jackets were available with most styles.
  • All* are of a 1 piece barrel construction with a ground line O.D. rib and have a constant diameter portion (6"-8" in length) below this before necking down to a smaller barrel diameter below the ground line. There are several shapes of ground line O.D. ribs as described below. All* models have vertically fluted barrels. except for the miscellaneous models shown in Part 3.

    * - See the bottom of Part 3 for the exceptions to the "All" rule: hydrants with smooth barrels, a hydrant with an hourglass shaped barrel, and a hydrant with a 2 pc. barrel!

    Because of these characteristics Bourbon hydrants defy being grouped by model or valve opening size. So, until we learn more, they are organized below and on the next 2 pages by the barrel ground line O.D. rib shape. These different shapes have been assigned arbitrary Style Letters and are not intended to indicate sequence of manufacture because we simply don't know that.
  • Rib Style "A"
    (shown below)
    Rib Style "B"
    (shown below)
    Rib Style "C"
    (shown below)
    Rib Style "D"
    see Part 2
    Rib Style "E"
    see Part 3

      O.D. Rib Style "A"
    This style of O.D. rib is rounded with a rounded groove below. Only the small 1-way hydrants shown below have this style of rib. These very similar hydrants differ from each other in three ways:
  • the cast boss for the nozzle varies in shape detail
  • 2 or 4 bonnet top nuts
  • the bonnet to barrel bolt pattern ... either a square or diamond orientation relative to the nozzle.
  • 1042
    Nozzle: 3", boss w/o lip
    Bonnet top: 2 nuts
    Bonnet: 8" O.D., square orientation
    1043
    Nozzle: 3", boss w/lip
    Bonnet top: 4 nuts
    Bonnet: 8" O.D., diamond orientation
    1041
    Nozzle: 3", boss w/lip
    Bonnet top: 2 nuts
    Bonnet: 8" O.D., diamond orientation
    0080
    Nozzle: 3", extended boss w/lip
    Bonnet top: 4 nuts
    Bonnet: 8" O.D., square orientation

      O.D. Rib Style "B"
    This style O.D. rib is teardrop shaped and has a distinctive step between the barrel and the upper part of the rib. Note that both the old style, in two different versions (links to close-ups below), and the newer style bonnets can be found on this style of O.D. rib barrel.
    0077
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Bonnet: 9" OD close-up
    Location: Ed M. collection
    Photo: 1999, E. Kennedy
    1857
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Bonnet: 9" OD close-up
    Location: Eugene N. collection
    Photo: 2003, E. Newbry
    1731
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Bonnet top: 2 nuts
    Bonnet: 8" O.D.
    Location: Iowa
    Photo: 2002, J. Anderson
    1730
    Nozzle: 2x 2" + monitor flange
    Bonnet top: 2 nuts
    Bonnet: 8" O.D.
    Source: 1925 literature
    0546
    Nozzles: 1x 2", 1x 4"
    Bonnet top: 2 nuts
    Bonnet: 8" O.D.

      O.D. Rib Style "C"
    This style of O.D. rib is rather unusual in that it is flat in shape.
  • The first two hydrants differ from each other only in the orientation of the bonnet to barrel bolt pattern ... either a square or diamond orientation.
  • The hydrant, #0722, has a shorter O.D. rib than the others but nevertheless it is of the flat style.
  • 0075
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Bonnet top: 2 nuts
    Bonnet: 8" O.D., diamond orientation
    1039
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Bonnet top: 2 nuts
    Bonnet: 8" O.D., square orientation
    0547
    Nozzles: 2x 2" swing gated
    Bonnet top: 2 nuts
    Bonnet: 8" O.D.
    0722
    Nozzles: 2x 2" swing gated, 1x 4"
    Bonnet top: 2 nuts, recessed
    Bonnet: 8" O.D.
    Note: barrel necked down below bonnet
    Location: Dayton, OH
    Photo: 2000, E. Kennedy


    Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3

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