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Fire Hydrants

The cast iron fire hydrant used today was patented in 1858. Major cities began to adopt the cast iron fire hydrant during the 1860s. Vermont, being a very rural state, may have lagged behind. A large number of images from the late 19th to early 20th centuries have been found that indicate fire hydrants were widespread in the state at that time. Only a handful of pre-1890s images, predominantly from the large Vermont cities, appear to have fire hydrants. The fire hydrant seen below was found in an image that appears to date from the 1870s-1880s.

1870s-1880s Fire Hydrant

1870s-1880s Fire Hydrant: Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and the University of Vermont Special Collections

Unfortunately, the fire hydrant design has changed very little over the past 150 years. Many early designs, such as that in the image below, are very similar to those used today. As well, there were no universal standards for their design, and towns and cities could institute their own design regulations.

Late 19<sup>th</sup> Century Fire Hydrant

Late 19th Century Fire Hydrant: Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and the University of Vermont Archives

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a number of tall, slender fire hydrants were installed in cities around Vermont. They were likely all manufactured by the same company, as they all have similar characteristics.

Fire Hydrants, Circa 1900 Fire Hydrants, Circa 1900

Fire Hydrants, Circa 1900: Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and the Vermont Historical Society

Fire Hydrants, Circa 1900 Fire Hydrants, Circa 1900

Fire Hydrants, Circa 1900: Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and the Vermont Historical Society. Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and the Vermont State Archives

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