Category Archives: Drinking Fountains

The Luxury of a Drinking Fountain

MDF park style fountain

Fountain in a park

One of the most wonderful, yet overlooked, things in plumbing is the public drinking fountain. To think, a drink of clean water just because you’re thirsty while running your errands without having to break out a cup. Such a luxury!

The amazing thing about this is that stores and businesses that have drinking fountains don’t charge a usage fee and don’t make you buy something to use them. Isn’t this amazing? Children can refill their water bottles at parks or at the downtown plaza. Sometimes seemingly random places like a street corner or the side of a building will have a public fountain.

Drinking fountain manufacturers work great feats of engineering to create fountains that work efficiently and need very little maintenance, all while being used many, many times daily. And like many common items, the poor things are taken for granted.

Well, everyone needs water, right? Back in the day, we pulled buckets, or pots, or even just handfuls of water from the local river to drink. After a while we got tired of trudging to the river and figured out how to bring water closer. We created large fountains so people could fill their jugs or buckets closer to home. We even created a way for water to be piped into individual buildings. Sounds great, right?

For the most part, it worked well. But, as far as public fountains went, we still had a ways to go. Around the early 1900s, it was still common to see a cup attached to a spigot to help children get a drink of water. From a spigot that was rarely cleaned, and was certainly not dedicated to potable drinking water only.

Somewhere right around that time period, an epiphany seemed to permeate the plumbing world and a number of people seemed to generate the idea of a better way to get a drink of water, all right around the same time. The result? Little mini-fountains that bubbled water up and away from the outlet, and the beginning of the evolution to the modern drinking fountain. No more sharing cups with who-knows-who from spigots that were spattered with who-knows what!

Bottle filling station by MDF

Freestanding bottle filling station

These days, drinking fountains are available to produce room temperature water or chilled water, they come in different sizes, shapes and styles and are manufactured by several different companies, including Oasis, Acorn, Halsey Taylor, Haws, and more. We even have fountains designed to make refilling water bottles easier. This once-amazing piece of engineering has become commonplace, and really, we’re all the better for it.

Take a look at your favorite local drinking fountain the next time you’re thirsty. What do you think of it now?