R. D. Wood Co - Philadelphia, PA - Philadelphia, PA
R.D. Wood Company was founded by Richard Davis Wood in 1803, and manufactured valves and pipe fittings out of a plant in Florence, NJ. Washburn Race & Samuel R.C. Mathews formed a company in partnership with Birdsill Holly, and starting around 1858 had their Race & Mathews patented hydrant manufactured by Niagara Mfg. Co. in Lockport, NY. Around 1871 Samuel R.C. Mathews took this hydrant business to the R.D. Wood Co., now located in Philadelphia, PA, producing the first hydrants seen here. Much later, R.D. Wood itself was bought out by Kennedy Valve in about 1963.

In the words of Christopher Wright -- "The R.D. Wood Company survives today in a vastly different form, as the Wawa Convenience Store Chain (familiar to those of you in PA, NJ, MD and recently VA). You can read the full story at the Wawa website. Although it does not mention the foundry, the R.D. Wood Co. was originally both a textile mill and foundry that also owned a dairy as a small side business. In order to sell their milk the dairy opened a convenience store in 1964 and the rest is history."


  Mathews Patent model
The 1877 R.D. Wood Catalog provides a background about the development of this hydrant.

Indentifying Characteristics:

  • 1-tier bonnet, 1 pc. straight barrel. All of these have wording (company name, location, and patent info) cast onto the top of the rim between the bolt heads. The company must have been very proud of their patents; an extreme example is the hydrant in image 0878 which has no less than 5 patent dates cast onto the bonnet rim.
  • Any of the following patent dates may be found on the bonnet of these hydrants: JAN 26 1858, NOV 16 1869, REIS'D JULY 18 1871, APRIL 30 1872, EXTENDED JAN 26 1872, REIS'D FEB 26 84.
  • Year of manufacture, if present, may be found just above the O.D. rib on the front side of the barrel. It appears from the hydrants shown below that they were not dated until the 1880's.
  • V.O. size is NOT cast onto these early hydrants. The ~3", ~4", and ~5" hydrants have 3 bonnet bolts; whereas the ~6" size has 4 bonnet bolts.
  • Most, if not all, of these hydrants were manufactured with a frost jacket encasing the lower barrel.

    These have a SHORT bonnet dome:
  • 0924
    Nozzles: 1x 2"
    Size: ~3" VO, 4" ID
    Dated: none
    Pat. Dates: 1858, 69, 71
    Location: Jeff K. collection
    Photo: © 2002, J. Kaminski
    0923
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Size: ~3" V.O.
    Dated: ??
    Pat. Dates: 1858, 69, 71
    Location: Massachusetts
    Photo: © 2001, J. Kaminski
    2269
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Size: ~4" V.O.
    Dated: ??
    Pat. Dates: 1858, 69, 71
    Location: Massachusetts
    Photo: © 2004, J. Kaminski
    1299
    Nozzles: 1x 4"
    Size: ~5" V.O.
    Dated: ??
    Pat. Dates: ??
    Location: Milwaukee, WI
    Photo: © MWW archives


      1-tier bonnet, 1 pc. hourglass-shaped barrel
    We know very little about this model other than it's existence documented in these photos. It was apparently produced concurrently with the Mathews patent model, but its scarcity suggests that far fewer were made.
    0394
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Size: ~5" V.O.
    Location: ??
    Photo: © ??
    1298
    Nozzles: 2x 4"
    Size: ~5" V.O.
    Location: Milwaukee, WI
    Photo: © MWW archives
    1692
    Nozzles: 3 x 2"
    Notes: Similar to preceeding models, but with water crane extending from bonnet; operating nut is at 90 degrees to the mainvalve rod, and is connected via a bevel gear drive. The drawing is from an R.D. Wood advertisement of 1888. A shop drawing from 1901 shows the details of the ornamental bird's head at the end of the water crane.

      Mathews Patent model with tall bonnet
    These Mathews Patent hydrants have a TALL bonnet dome:
    2174
    Nozzle: 1x 2"
    Size: ~4" V.O.
    Dated: (none)
    Pat. Dates: 1858, 69, 71
    Location: Jeff K. collection
    Photo: © 2004, J. Kaminski
    0226
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Size: ~4" V.O.
    Dated: ??
    Pat. Dates: ??
    Location: Pulaski, VA
    Photo: © Ethan Kennedy
    1700
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Size: ~4" V.O.
    Dated: (none)
    Pat. Dates: 1858, 69, 71
    Location: Jeff K. collection
    Photo: © 2001, J. Kaminski
    0984
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Size: ~4" V.O.
    Dated: 87
    Pat. Dates: 1869, 84
    Note: OD rib differs from #1700
    Location: John A. collection
    Photo: © 2001, J. Anderson
    1399
    Nozzles: 1x ~4" internally gated
    Size: ~5" V.O.
    Dated: ??
    Pat. Dates: 1858, 69, 71
    Location: Steve P. collection
    Photo: © 2001, J. Anderson
    1414
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Size: ~5" V.O.
    Dated: (none)
    Pat. Dates: 1858, 69, 71
    Location: Massachusetts
    Photo: © 2001, J. Kaminski
    0983
    Nozzles: 2x 2"
    Size: ~5" V.O.
    Dated: 91
    Pat. Dates: 1869, 84
    Location: John A. collection
    Photo: © 2001, J. Anderson
    1327
    Nozzles: 2x 4"
    Size: ~5" V.O.
    Dated: ??
    Pat. Dates: ??
    Location: Milwaukee, WI
    Photo: © MWW archives
    1713
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x 4"
    Size: ~5" V.O.
    Dated: ?
    Pat. Dates: ??
    Location: Bob D. collection
    Photo: © 2001, B. Dunn
    0878
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x 5"
    Size: ~5" V.O.
    Dated: 84
    Pat. Dates: 1858, 69, 71, Jan72, Apr72
    Location: Jeff K. collection
    Photo: © 2001, J. Kaminski
    0966
    Nozzles: 3x 2"
    Size: ~6" V.O.
    Dated: ??
    Pat. Dates: ??
    Location: Massachusetts
    Photo: © 2001, J. Kaminski
    1715
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x 4"
    Size: ~6" V.O.
    Dated: ?
    Pat. Dates: ??
    Location: Minnesota
    Photo: © 2002, B. Dunn
    0253
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x ~4"
    Size: ~6" V.O.
    Dated: ??
    Pat. Dates: ??
    Location: Toledo, OH
    Photo: © E. Kennedy
    These single tier bonnet internally gated hydrants are of later manufacture, and can be found on the High Pressure and Special models page of this feature.
    1495
    Nozzles: 2x 2" internally gated, 1x 5"
    Size: 6" V.O.
    Dated: 1898
    Location: Massachusetts
    Photo: © 2001 J. Kaminski
    1413
    Nozzles: 4x 2" internally gated
    Size: 6" V.O.
    Dated: ??, Pat. Dates: ??
    Location: Massachusetts
    Photo: © 2001 J. Kaminski

      1-tier bonnet, 2 pc. barrel
    The following hydrants were actually made by Kennedy Valve (after they bought out R.D.Wood) and have 2 piece barrels; but are included here to display their obvious heritage.
    0018
    Model: M-62
    Nozzles: 2x 2", 1x ~5"
    Size: ~6" V.O.
    Dated: 1983
    Location: Washington D.C.
    Photo: © E. Kennedy


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