The Kingston WaterWorks Hydrant Page

 

Stevens, Turner And Burns Foundry And General Manufacturing Co. Ltd, London, Ontario

And The Kingston Foundry Company, Kingston, Ontario

 

We know very little about the Kingston WaterWorks or the Kingston Hydrants. We do know that Kingston has had water in mains since 1849. The water service was provided by a private company called the Kingston WaterWorks Company. By 1886, it was evident that the Company was struggling to provide an acceptable level of service to Kingston. They could not provide enough water for the existing system and hydrants. It was at this time that Kingston had 20 new hydrants and 20 old hydrants. On October 1, 1887, the City of Kingston took over control of the waterworks and created a public water system. We do not know who made the old Kingston hydrants, but we believe they are a Mathews Patent Hydrant model. Many of these old hydrants still remain installed in Kingston. We do know that some hydrants were provided to the city of Kingston by Stevens, Turner and Burns of London and also by Davidson & Doran of Kingston Foundry of Kingston.

 

We know this from an excerpt from the Canadian Architect and Builder, May 1888

'The following were the successful tenders for materials to be used in extending the waterworks system of Kingston Ont:- Cast iron pipe and special castings from A. Garthshore, Hamilton; pig-lead from Jas. Robertson, Montreal; hydrants and valves from Stevens & Burns, London. The cost of labour will be about $40,000'

Stevens, Turner And Burns Foundry And General Manufacturing Co. Ltd, London, Ontario
Stevens Manufacturing Coy., London, Ontario
Stevens And Burns Co., London, Ontario
Stevens, Turner And Burns Co., London, Ontario

Stevens, Turner and Burns were partners in a London, Ontario plumbing shop in the 1870s. Stevens was a skilled maker of brass valves, gauges and fittings. By the early 1880s, the company was in the steam engine business. Their Western Empire portable steam engines were widely advertised in The Farmer's Advocate as early as 1880. Success however, was relatively short-lived, as operations ceased in 1894.

 

We know this from an excerpt from the Canadian Architect and Builder, March 1890

'Kingston, Ont.-Contracts have been awarded for water works supplies as follows: Lead pipe from W.C. White, Montreal; stop cocks and fifteen valves at $16.50 each from Stevens and Burns, London; fifteen hydrants from Kingston foundry at $31.00 each.'

 

Click on any thumbnail to view larger picture

 

 

 
The Kingston Hydrant

 

There are two known variations of the Kingston hydrant. One model has a tab cast on the barrel to attach chains, as well as a logo on the back. The other model does not have the chain tab nor any other markings on the barrel. We are not sure which is older and which is newer. Since most hydrant models started out very decorative and ornate, and then later became more simple and plain, we can assume that the model with chains and logo is the older model.

The logo model has a more triangle shaped bonnet, and a deeper bonnet fluting. It has the four bonnet bolts aligned so that there is one in front, one in back, and one on either side. Looking at the hydrant front, three nuts are visible.

The plain model has a more rounded looking bonnet, and less deep bonnet fluting. It has the four bonnet bolts aligned so that there are two in the front and two in the back. Looking at the hydrant front, only two nuts are visible, the two in back are hidden by the two in front. We prefer this arangement.

 

Fire hydrants and information provided courtesy of Lincoln Osborne and Utilities Kingston.
Front view
Nozzles: 2x 2.5", 1x 3.5"
Model#: Unknown
Date: Unknown
V.O.: Unknown
Back view
Nozzles: 2x 2.5", 1x 3.5"
On barrel back: KW logo
The hydrant logo is the letter K superimposed onto the letter W. This could represent "Kingston Water", "Kingston Waterworks", or "Kingston Works".

 

 
Front view
Nozzles: 2x 2.5", 1x 3.5"
Model#: Unknown
Date: Unknown
V.O.: Unknown
Back view
 

 

These photos show a cut away view of the boot, valve, and threaded barrel bottom. Photos provided courtesy of Lincoln Osborne and Utilities Kingston.

 

The Kingston hydrant came with an operating nut weather cap. The bell part of the cap was machined off to allow access to the top of the bonnet. This was done to allow anti-freeze to be poured into the bonnet. We are not sure what the original cap looked like but we imagine it was similar to the hydrant cap on the left. This is the bonnet from a very similar looking London Ontario hydrant model.

 

 



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